Online Marketing – Getting Started

Going forward, all marketing and sales activities will have an online component. This is the “new normal”.

But what is online marketing?

Simply put, online marketing is the use of appropriate, available tools (web sites, blogs, social networks, marketing automation, analytics) to offer relevant content in order to engage in value based conversations with communities of interest (prospects, customers, influencers, evangalists, etc.).

For online marketing to be effective, there are basic tenets you must consider:

The starting point is your growth objectives; how will online marketing support those objectives?

Your online marketing activities must optimize your “end to end” business development process; generating inbound leads, nurturing those leads, maximizing conversion rates, and engaging customers after the sale.

It’s all about content. Prospects will not consume your emails or blogs, view your videos, or spend time on your web site if you don’t offer relevant, compelling and up to date content.

You have three audiences; your target prospects, their communities of interest, and search engines. Your online efforts must balance the needs of each.

Sustainable results come when you do multiple things that work together – your online activities must complement each other to have maximum impact. It’s about one plus one equaling three.

To become and remain relevant online, you must constantly analyze, evaluate and fine-tune. The market doesn’t stand still. Neither do your competitors.
Once you decide to make a commitment to your online presence, you must proceed in a planned and pragmatic way. You can’t do everything at once – it’s too overwhelming.

The first step is to assess how well your current online marketing activities support your end to end business development process. To self-assess your capabilities, download Core’s Online Marketing Audit Checklist.

Next, build an online road map that guides your development efforts. You may start by restructuring your web site, committing to a blog, initiating a paid advertising campaign or implementing marketing automation technology.

A road map helps you execute your strategy in a practical way, and forces you to think about how all the mechanisms will work together.

Once the road map is developed, create a corresponding execution budget. Items may include paying someone to revamp your web site, the cost of a marketing automation system, launching a social advertising campaign or hiring someone to do on-going content development.

One of the biggest mistakes we see is that companies invest in a web site, but don’t budget for on-going online marketing activities. Just because you build a web site, it doesn’t mean they will come.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, identify who will be responsible for on-going management and execution of online marketing activities. You must work on it day in and day out if you want it to produce meaningful business results; inbound leads, higher conversion rates, increased revenue.

Online marketing offers a path to consistent revenue growth. However, like anything in business, it requires sound planning and hard work. It may seem daunting, but the results are worth it.

Just don’t ignore it – the risk of doing nothing is too high!