Table of contents

    The marketing plan is one of the most important elements of a business plan. It is created by the owner, co-owners, online marketing agencies, managers, or marketing specialists, often with the support of members of other departments. It defines the marketing objectives, the ways to achieve them, the impact on the project’s business goals, the tools used, and the competitive environment, all within a certain time frame and market conditions. A marketing plan is a narrower term than a marketing strategy.

    A well-written marketing plan allows you to lay out a schedule of activities, relate to the goal, track relevant metrics, and respond over time in a specific market environment. Activities without a marketing plan are often chaotic and the decisions made lack hard data. However, this does not mean that once written, a marketing strategy is always valid. On the contrary, in today’s marketing world, agile response, testing, and exploration of new channels are key skills.

    marketing plan

    Market and competition analysis

    Every business operates in a certain market environment. Even if you are selling an innovative new product, your competitor will be an e-commerce business offering similar products, or even products for the same audience. So start by identifying your target audience. Who do you want to reach with your products? What are their needs and preferences? Take a closer look at your potential customers. Are they 18-25-year-olds who are interested in fashion and the latest trends? Or are they 35-45-year-olds who are looking for practical solutions for the home? Understanding your target audience is crucial to e-commerce success. The better you know your customers, the easier it will be to tailor your products and marketing strategies to their needs. 

    The next step is competitor analysis Find out who the e-commerce market leaders are in your industry, what marketing strategies they use, and what strengths and weaknesses they have. You can use tools such as SEMrush, Senuto, or Brand24 for this. They will help you identify the best rivals in the market and discover the tactics they use. Conduct an in-depth study of them to learn about products, prices, promotions, and ways to reach customers. Remember that competitor analysis is not just about examining their online activities. It’s also worth, for example, visiting stationary stores, and perhaps stepping into the role of a mystery shopper to better investigate the strategies used. Observe how they are organized, what kind of equipment they have, and what kind of impression they make on customers. All of this can provide valuable information about their sales strategies and how they attract customers. Competitor analysis will help you understand how to stand out and focus on the unique features of your business. You can discover a niche that your competitors haven’t yet noticed, or find ways to improve your existing products and services. You must have clear and readable differentiators to succeed in e-commerce.

    Marketing goals

    Another very important element of a good e-commerce marketing plan is defining marketing goals. What goals should your marketing plan have? First of all, they must be concretely formulated measurable, and embedded in time. It is not enough to say “I want to increase sales”. You need to know concretely by how many percent you want to increase it, to what level, when, how to measure it, and what investment it will require. It is also important that the goals are realistic and achievable. Everyone loves ambitious goals, but they can blur the picture of reality. Remember, too, that the goals should be in line with the mission and values of your business that you defined earlier in your strategy document (or at least be neutral in that context). 

    One of your marketing goals may also be to increase brand awareness among potential customers. You can achieve this through advertising activities such as social media campaigns, display advertising, and video formats, but also through participation in trade shows and industry conferences. Perhaps content marketing, i.e. creating valuable content that will attract the attention of your audience and make them aware of your brand, will work in your industry. 

    Remember, too, that satisfied customers often recommend your brand to others, which can contribute to further customer growth. Retention, or customer retention, is an important part of marketing. You can increase it, for example, by interacting with them on various platforms, such as social media, a company blog or livechat. Marketing automation systems like salesmanago or edrone are often used for this. Respond to customer comments and questions, hold contests and promotional activities that engage them emotionally. The more engaged customers are, the greater the chance of loyalty and long-term cooperation.

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    When you have clarified your marketing goals, know the market environment, and understand your position, it’s time to choose the media, or acquisition channels. Depending on your goal, you may choose search advertising, which generally provides the highest return on investment, especially with product ads, or Performance Max It’s worth supplementing your marketing plan with content marketing, which involves providing valuable content to your customers, and an email marketing strategy, which involves building relationships through regular newsletters. The key is to choose the strategy that best fits your business and the preferences of your target audience.

    An important part of increasing e-commerce sales is influencer marketing, which is based on working with popular people to promote your brand. For smaller brands, it is worth considering so-called micro-influencers, i.e. people with a smaller reach, but with a great thematic fit for the project. A smaller budget and a more qualitative audience, without overcrowding with ads, will be a plus here. Another channel you might consider is affiliate marketing. It involves rewarding affiliates for attracting new customers to your online store or simply paying commissions for sales generated. 

    Don’t forget remarketing, too, which involves reaching out to people who previously visited your website, but didn’t make a purchase, for example. With remarketing, you can remind them of your brand and encourage them to return and make a transaction. It’s worth taking advantage of personalization elements that tailor content and offers to individual customer preferences. In this way, you can increase customer engagement and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

    The final choice of marketing strategy depends on many factors, such as your industry, competition, budget, and target audience. It is important to think through all the available options and choose a strategy that will help you achieve your marketing goals and bring the best results for your e-commerce.

    The following is a good way to make sure that you have the right strategy in place.

    What budget do you need to execute your marketing plan?

    The marketing budget is another essential element of a good e-commerce marketing plan. How do you determine your marketing budget? First of all, you need to consider your available financial resources (including the possibility of additional financing, financing terms, and the length of your line of credit). Additional tools like a keyword planner or a Google Ads campaign planner will allow you to determine initial assumptions for traffic acquisition and conversions. Meta Ads will tell you what budget you need to reach a certain audience.

    How to effectively manage marketing budget? It is important to monitor performance and adjust spending according to the effectiveness of activities. In a marketing plan, each media channel will have a budget and an expected return on investment. The metrics will tell you how effective the channel is, which will allow for favorable budget shifts at a later stage.

    In the case of e-commerce, the marketing budget should always be in response to set goals. Assuming a given level of budget, you should be confident that it will be sufficient to meet the goals contained therein. In addition, it is a good idea to have a reserve budget of about 20% set aside for unforeseen expenses such as materials for an additional campaign, the need for additional discounts (less margin earned), or the commissioning of analytical work.

    Monitoring the implementation of the marketing plan

    Writing a marketing plan is one thing, but even more important is implementing it and monitoring its effectiveness. How to monitor the implementation of a marketing plan? First of all, analyze data and metrics, such as website traffic, conversion rate, cost of new customer acquisition, value of sales, or return on advertising expenses. For this, you can use data visualization tools like Google Looker to create marketing reports there. This will allow you to assess whether your efforts are effective and how to improve them, if necessary, to achieve your goals. 

    In order to write a good e-commerce marketing plan, you need to understand the e-commerce market, conduct a competitive analysis, define your marketing goals, choose an appropriate strategy, set a budget, and implement and monitor the planned activities. Remember that a marketing plan is a document that should be updated and adapted to changing market conditions. Keep track of the competition by using social media monitoring tools like Brand24, SEO visibility like Senuto, or traffic analysis like SEMrush.

    It is also worth exploring new areas of marketing like AI Marketing automation has many benefits that will save you time for more creative and strategic elements of your business. Think about the fact that you could use a virtual assistant to serve your customers, and use data to suggest additional, related assortments to regular customers. Explore new marketing areas, test multiple options, and be open to solutions that have the potential to open the business to new customers.

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    Tomasz Starzyński
    Tomasz Starzyński

    CEO and managing partner at Up&More. He is responsible for the development of the agency and coordinates the work of the SEM/SEO and paid social departments. He oversees the introduction of new products and advertising tools in the company and the automation of processes.