A strong online presence is essential to your long-term success.
Predictable and sustainable revenue growth requires an online marketing infrastructure that works relentlessly to; increase your brand awareness, generate qualified leads, engage your prospects, increase close rates and maintain a valuable-based relationship post-sale.
But you can’t simply “jump in” to online marketing without a well thought-out plan.
A strategic online marketing plan increases your probability of success, and “Marketing 101” principles are central to an online marketing strategy.
- Situation Analysis
An in-depth understanding of your current online marketing situation is the first step. Research, and the corresponding insights, allow you to make informed decisions in terms of your online marketing priorities and activities. Knowing versus guessing will increase your probability of success and deliver desired results sooner.
- Specific online marketing objectives
- Target segments/personas
- Typical prospect’s buying cycle and behaviour
- Current online activities and performance
- Competitor online marketing activities
Understand how your prospects are behaving online, and objectively evaluate your online presence versus competitors. With this in mind, develop an approach that will enable your online objectives and support your growth targets.
- Strategic Approach
Your online marketing strategies and tactics should be directed by the information from the Situation Analysis; what areas of the business do you want to grow, how are prospects searching/researching online, which competitors do you need to “reel-in”, what are the right online activities in which to engage.
Your strategy is the blueprint to market your business online and should include:
- Your online positioning strategy that differentiates you from competitors
- A content strategy (including blogs, emails, e-books, videos, etc.) that builds credibility and authority, earns the trust of, and nurtures, your prospects, and provides them with the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision
- A social media plan for each of the appropriate social networks
- A database/email marketing strategy
- A search engine optimization and online advertising strategy
- Metrics you will use to measure your success, and the tools to gather data to assess performance
Doing research and having a well-thought out strategy are critical to online success. But none of this matters if you are not able to execute. Relentless execution, and concentrated effort, are keys to driving desired results. The right activities, at the right frequency, must be consistently executed.
Your execution plan should include:
- A content calendar that details on-going communications activities; content formats, topics, frequency, distribution channels
- A roadmap that identifies all activities that must be executed – in priority sequence
- A line-item budget for on-going execution of online marketing activities
- Identifying who is responsible for executing which online activities
4.Measure, refine and optimize
Once you are effectively executing on your online marketing strategy, you must then let the data guide you. Are you meeting your goals? Are you making progress? Are your tactics delivering the desired results? Based on this information, make the necessary adjustments to improve return on investment.
Although “jumping in with both feet” is commendable, a sound online marketing strategy, based on business objectives, the target market(s), the competitive landscape and your current situation, is required for success over the long-term. You must put in the time and effort to strategize if you want online marketing to be central to your business development efforts and revenue growth.
Ben Molfetta is the co-founder of Core Online Marketing. He helps small and mid-sized businesses grow by planning, implementing, and executing winning online marketing strategies. Visit coreonlinemarketing.com or email Ben at [email protected].