Every business, no matter how unusual, can take advantage of the vast reach offered by the internet – it’s simply a case of identifying where to put your time and energy.
When businesses fail to see results online, it’s usually because they’ve tried a bunch of different tactics without having a proper strategy in place. Not every online channel suits every business, so it’s crucial to analyse your business first and develop a cohesive strategy from there, rather than wasting time and money doing things ‘ad hoc’.
With a proper strategy in place, you’ll:
- Know which online marketing channels to focus on, so you can stop wasting money on things that don’t work, and focus on the things that actually produce a good return on investment
- Free up your valuable time – by only doing the things that will actually make a difference, and reduce ‘busy work’
- Be able to take advantage of synergies – so your efforts in one marketing channel can piggy-back off those in another
- Get peace of mind knowing that you’re on the right track, and that everything has been properly thought through and mapped out in advance.
So what does an effective online marketing strategy actually look like?
Here’s A Step-By-Step Guide For Creating Your Strategy:
1. Create Online Goals
The first step in any effective plan is to set measurable goals. It’s important to know what you want to achieve so that you can measure your progress. Thankfully it’s easy to track and measure these goals online – more on this in Step 5. Your online marketing goals should directly support your overall business goals.
2. Understand Your Target Market
Think carefully about your target market – what drives their behaviour? What are their demographic traits and their pain points? Once you have an understanding of what makes your customers tick, you’ll be able to choose which online channels you’re going to use to reach them, and how to communicate with them persuasively on those channels.
3. Identify Your Key Messages
The next step is to lock down the key messages to include in your online marketing content, including your website and other marketing communications. Consistent communication of your competitive advantage and strongest selling points – why your customers should choose you over your competitors – will be crucial for converting website visitors into actual sales and leads.
4. Assess Your Website
Achieving success in online marketing requires a solid foundation upon which to conduct your promotional activity. Before doing anything further on the promotional front, have experts review your website from technical, usability and marketing points-of-view to identify any room for further improvement. Fixing these will likely be the first steps in your Action Plan (below).
5. Create a Robust Analytics Setup
If you want to optimise the return on investment from your online marketing, you need to know who’s visiting your website, where they came from, and what they did once they got there. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed properly, and that you’re tracking all of the important actions visitors might take on your site – e.g. bookings, contact form enquiries, newsletter signups. You’ll also want to filter out your own internal traffic and spam traffic, so you’re only seeing the real data.
6. Use Google’s Tools to Ensure Search Visibility
- A Google Search Console account will show you whether Google is having any problems with your website, and allows you to customise certain aspects of how your site appears in their search results.
- A Google My Business account will determine how you appear as an official entity on Google’s Maps results.
Get both of these tools up and running, filled out with all the required information (including photos and reviews for My Business) and keep them up to date.
7. Analyse Potential Channels & Which to Focus On
It’s time to analyse each of your current and potential new online marketing channels and pick ones based on your target market assessment, suitability to your business niche, and how effective they have been to date. This should include an assessment of paid media (e.g. Google Adwords), earned media (e.g. partnerships with other websites, SEO) and owned media (e.g. blogs and social media accounts).
8. Create an Action Plan
Finally, write down all the action steps you’ll need to take based on the completed sections above, put them in order of priority, and give each one a timeframe. This will now be the primary guide for the actions you take moving forward.
By carefully working through these phases and putting together a proper action plan before taking any major promotional actions, you’ll save time and money, keep yourself and your team on track, and get you more bang for your marketing buck.
If you’d like to find out more about online marketing plans and how it could help your business, or if you need help with any other aspect of your online marketing, please feel free to get in touch – we’d love to help!