Your prospects are using online research to educate themselves about their buying options. An important part of their evaluation is your online presence. If prospects can’t find you online, or if the information you provide online does not clearly distinguish you from competitors, you will likely lose the sale.
So, what do you need to do to make sure you’re not missing out on opportunities? The critical first step is to develop a strategic online marketing plan so your online efforts lead directly to desired business – increased leads, close rates and revenues.
Why Do You Need An Online Marketing Plan?
The saying goes, “if you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there,” rings true with online marketing. Without a strategic approach, you’re simply just “doing things” online.
Without planning, you face the risk of not being aligned with prospect buying behaviour, not concentrating efforts on the most important tactics, not having discernable goals or a way to measure success, and ultimately not generating tangible business results.
You cannot ignore foundational “Marketing 101” principles when you market your business online. Understanding your business goals, your prospects, your positioning strategy, and your competitors still applies.
The only thing that has changed is that online technologies are now available to all businesses – big and small. The power lies in taking a strategic approach when using these powerful communication tools.
What Should Your Online Marketing Plan Include?
A strategic online marketing plan helps to ensure your online activities support your business objectives, and should include these base elements.
1. Situational Analysis
- Define your revenue growth targets and where this growth will come from
- Research and understand your prospects and their online buying behaviour
- Identify online influencers and how to effectively engage them
- Analyze what your competitors are doing online to make sure you are not being left behind
- Review your current website and online activities and determine whether they are consistent, aligned with buyer behaviour and producing results
2. Online Strategies and Tactics
- Develop a positioning strategy that differentiates you from competitors
- Create a content strategy to educate and nurture your prospects throughout the entire buying cycle
- Optimize your website for search and conversion
- Develop an “SEO” (search engine optimization) strategy
- Determine which social networks are best suited to your target prospects and how you can best leverage each network for business development purposes
- Determine whether you to engage in online advertising to create visibility and drive website traffic and leads
- Develop a database/email marketing strategy to maintain value-based relationships with existing customers and to lead nurture prospective buyers
- Identify specific key performance indicators to measure success, and use analytics data to measure results and make the necessary adjustments to improve results
3. Online Marketing Execution Plan
- Determine the human resources required to relentlessly execute the online marketing plan
- Develop a line-item budget to execute the plan
- Create a twelve-month execution calendar
- Constantly measure your results and refine your strategy based on this insight
Online Marketing Never Stands Still
Success in today’s hyper-competitive world requires sound strategy, the ability to execute, taking advantage of innovative technologies and making course corrections based on readily available, real-time data. This is precisely the approach required for online marketing success.
- It all starts with a sound strategy based on your business goals and the market realities.
- You must relentlessly execute if you want to produce tangible business results. Dabbling won’t cut it.
- Pay close attention to the data and adjust your tactics accordingly to achieve better and better results over time.
- It’s about the long-game, not quick hits.
For online activities to be a significant contributor to your revenue growth, a well thought-out, strategic online marketing plan is the right place to start.
Core Online Marketing is an outsourced online marketing agency for small and mid-sized businesses. Contact us to accelerate your online marketing activities!