You Must Plan Your Online Marketing Strategy Before Jumping In!

You know how important a strong Internet presence is for your company – there’s no doubt that most businesses must do a good job of marketing themselves online!
So is it time to jump in with both feet? Go full speed ahead?
No!
It is absolutely critical when entering the online marketing world to make planning and strategy the foundation of everything you do.
Without planning and strategy, you’re just “doing things”. You have no concerted effort, no discernable goals, no way to measure your success, and – ultimately – no tangible results.

Why Do You Need an Online Marketing Plan?

You can’t ignore good old “Marketing 101” principles when you begin marketing your business online; the only thing that has changed in an online marketing realm is the tools and technologies at your disposal.
You must still understand your prospects, industry influencers and competitors to achieve success. Then, you must:

  1. Align everything you do with these insights
  2. Set growth objectives and associated marketing metrics
  3. Monitor if what you’re doing is working
  4. Adjust based on new insights

Online marketing strategyThis is why you need a strategic marketing plan to ensure your online marketing activities support your business objectives.
So, what should your online marketing plan include?

1.     Analysis of Market

  • Define your growth targets and marketing objectives
  • Research and understand your prospects and their online tactics
  • Analyze your competitors (check out their online marketing activities and see what’s working for them!)
  • Research the keywords searchers are using to find businesses like yours
  • If you are already engaged in online marketing, do an effectiveness analysis of current activities

2.     Online Marketing Strategy

  • Develop a positioning strategy that differentiates you from competitors
  • Create a content strategy to educate and nurture your prospects throughout the entire buying cycle (this includes emails, blogging, eBooks, infographics, video, landing pages, etc.)
  • Determine which social media networks you want to have a presence on and create a strategy for each network
  • Develop a search engine optimization (SEO) approach
  • Decide whether you want to engage in online advertising or not, and if so, develop strategies for those places in which you want to advertise (e.g. PPC, banner advertising, social media advertising, etc.)

Your online marketing strategy will be the essential handbook as you move forward with online marketing. It will unify all your online efforts and (if done well) create a 1 + 1 = 3 effect.

3.     Online Marketing Execution Plan

  • Determine budgets for the different elements of the strategy
  • Lay out how consistent, relentless execution of the strategies will be achieved
  • Determine when specific activities will be done and how often
  • Choose which individuals in your organization will be responsible and accountable for which parts of the online marketing plan
  • Create a content calendar and stick to it
  • Constantly measure your results and refine your strategy based on your findings. Repeat ad infinitum.

Online Marketing Never Stands Still

Online marketing is always changing and evolving, as are your target markets and competitors. If you want to compete in today’s marketplace, and realize a return on your investment in online marketing, you must plan and strategize; it’s that simple.
A well thought out, integrated online marketing plan is the right way to begin if you want long-term success.

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Ben Molfetta