Do You Have an Online Marketing Plan?
If you own your own business, you probably have a marketing plan, right? Well, maybe not. I come across business owners all the time who don’t. But, let’s assume you do. You’ve thought about who your target market is, what message you want to get across to them, and what media you’ll use to do it, right? Maybe the internet component consists simply of ‘building a website’. These days, that’s just not enough! A 2010 BIA/Kelsey study shows nearly all consumers now use online media to research local products and services (97 percent!). The internet has opened up a vast new world of possibilities in marketing, and we suggest the you create a comprehensive Online Marketing Plan.
The process of creating a marketing plan for the web isn’t much different than creating one for the offline world. And it’s just as important for brick-and-mortar or local service businesses as it is for anyone else. You’ll want to think about who your target market is and how you’ll reach them. Some components may include:
- Driving traffic to your website
- Converting traffic to qualified leads
- Connecting through social networking
- Using affiliate programs or joint ventures
Drive Traffic to Your Website
This is often the biggest question business owners face after they’ve launched a beautiful new website. How do I get people to find me? Some common methods include sponsored search ads, such as Google Adwords, banner ads on other sites, and Search Engine Optimization. These are all great methods, as long as you do your research. You can easily throw away hundreds of dollars with Adwords if you don’t narrow your focus and test your ads. If you’re going to place ads on other sites, you’ll want to be clear on your target market and find out what sites your ideal customer frequents most. The first step in a successful SEO campaign is solid keyword research – again, knowing your customer by finding out what search terms they type when they’re looking for the products or services you offer.
Convert Traffic to Qualified Leads
This step can’t happen until you drive traffic to your site, but you need to think about it before that – while you’re still building your site! Another argument for creating a solid plan from the beginning, right? So, you’ve worked hard on your SEO and have some ads on Facebook. People are finding you, but are you converting them into buyers or leads? Can they purchase right away on your site? Do they download some information for free, or sign up for your list? Are they calling you or filling out your inquiry form? You should have a clear idea of what step you’d like visitors to take, and make sure the call to action is clear. Then, track to see how it’s working!
Connect Through Social Networking
So, everybody’s talking about Facebook and Twitter. But should you be using Instagram? LinkedIn? Pinterest? It depends. Who is your target customer and where are they online? What type of business do you have? LinkedIn, for example is great for professional networking. Pinterest makes more sense if you sell physical or highly visual products. The large percentage of Instagram users are under the age of 20. Most of us can benefit from using the most common social networking sites, but there are lots more out there, and you might just be missing out on a goldmine in your niche! There are hundreds of smaller niche communities on the web – moms of special needs children, Yorkie owners, baby boomers, wine lovers, etc. If you venture into Social Media Marketing without a plan, you could spend endless hours (or dollars) without much in return.
Affiliate Programs and Joint Ventures
Partnering with other business is a great way to get noticed, and it can be fun, too! The web makes it even easier to take advantage of affiliate programs and joint ventures. Setting up affiliate programs is easy – you give a commission or referral fee to other businesses who send people your way, and the whole process can be automated. You can also become an affiliate for other business and generate a little residual income. Again, this goes back to your marketing plan because you’ll want to think about who your target market is and what complementary products they might be buying. You want these partnerships to make sense – it wouldn’t look right if I started promoting a cute t-shirt my friend just designed, right? A big rule of thumb for me is I never recommend a product I don’t use myself or truly believe in, and I’ll let you know if it’s an affiliate link. In the end, you want to serve your customers, right? You wouldn’t want to send them astray just because the company offers you a big kick-back.
Joint ventures can mean a lot of things, but go far beyond affiliate relationships. A joint venture could be any kind of partnership that benefits both parties involved, usually for a limited time, such as an event or a product launch. (A true Joint Venture is a legal entity, much like a Partnership, except for a finite time.) Joint ventures can be online or offline, or a combination of the two. For instance, maybe you want more people to sign up for your list, but you don’t have your own give-away to entice them. You could give away somebody else’s product sample or report (giving them some publicity as well), and you get the people on your list. This works great for contest prizes as well, and contests can generate LOTS of traffic online! A simple brick-and-mortar joint venture is to supply free gift cards for another business to hand out to their best customers (you’d pick businesses targeting the same market as you, but with a non-competitive product, of course!). You get the chance to ‘wow’ new potential clients, and they get a way to show their best customers how much they’re appreciated – for free! For more ideas on joint ventures that might work for you, here’s a list of Nine Joint Venture Examples to Help You Get Started.
So, what’s your plan?
The internet is the most important media today for marketing your business. And, compared to traditional marketing media, it’s very inexpensive. Not only that, but the technology lends itself to precisely tracking your results, so you know your ROI. Do you know how you’re going to market your business online? Do you need help getting started?
We don’t just build websites. We market your business online.
At Satin Web Solutions, our priority is your bottom line. Contact us today to get started.