Are you planning for explosive sales this year through an effective, organized marketing campaign or are you maintaining your status quo and hoping for the best?
A planned, organized Internet marketing campaign with rotation through a variety of targeted sites, is not hard to coordinate, does not need to cost a great deal of money and can generate traffic and sales faster than Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and/or social media marketing efforts. It takes a bit of research and a solid knowledge of your target customer, but you can plan and implement a simple online marketing campaign in the space of a dedicated day.
A Five Step Internet Marketing Plan follows, created by in the trenches experience with online marketing for small business. By doing each of the actions, you will quickly create an online marketing plan that can be implemented immediately and begin reaping sales successes.
Step 1 - Define Your Customer
Defining your customer is as important as defining your products or naming your business. If you have not yet done a marketing plan within your business plan, then you need to do this exercise. (Here's how to create a complete marketing plan, from your Unique Selling Proposition through advertising and promotions planning. And if you are starting from square one and need to write a business plan, this Business Plan Outline will lead you through the process step by step.)
If you already have this in your business plan, you can skip ahead to Step 2.
Answer these questions as honestly as you can. In other words, don't project your expectations or hopes on them. What is your perfect, solid customer really like?
- Is my perfect customer male or female?
- Does my perfect customer work out of the home or in the home?
- What is the job profile of my perfect customer - an executive, manager, worker, entrepreneur, stay-at-home parent, etc.
- What is the net household income of my perfect customer?
- What level of education does my perfect customer have?
- Does my perfect customer have room in her spending budget for my product/service on a one time, occasional or constant basis?
- How do my perfect customers use my product/service - do they buy it for themselves or as a gift?
- Does my perfect customer spend a lot, some or minimal time on the Internet?
- Where does my perfect customer look for my product/service? Both online and in physical locations?
Once you have this written out, you should have a good picture of where to start looking to place your message and how to write your message copy.
Step 2 - Choose Your Targets
Now, where are you going to post your ads? A coordinated effort across several sites and venues commonly frequented by your customers is the most effective marketing campaign. If you are seen in several places your visibility and retained message is much stronger.
Complementary sites that you can help cross-promote to your visitors, who will then see you there too, will provide excellent reinforcement of your message. Holiday specific sites that are well promoted are excellent areas to consider.
When considering a website, social media network or newsletter for your ad, look at factors such as traffic, search engine placement, external linking (how many places link to it), quality of current ads and types of messages being presented in current ads.
- Are there many competitors of yours already?
- Is the advertising of a complementary nature to your business?
- Are the ads completely unrelated to your business and to the intended traffic of the site?
These are all clues to measure a best fit of your message to the traffic of the site.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is another consideration for your marketing campaign. If you're new to PPC, stick to places that allow you to set limits on daily expenditures. Google AdWords is a good example. This will also help you to experiment and determine the most effective keywords by paying close attention to the statistics of the PPC campaign.
Conversion rates are an important measuring tool. What you need to do is determine what exactly you want to measure for your marketing campaign. Is it sales orders? Newsletter subscribers? Downloads of your free e-book? A conversion rate is the number of click-throughs it takes to achieve your target measurement. So if your page has 1000 hits, 14 clicks and 1 sale in a day, your conversion rate is 1:14 or 7.1%. In other words, 7.1% of the clicks are generating a sale during this period.
Close monitoring of your conversion rates will quickly tell you what is working and what is not. Don't hesitate to tweak or modify your ads if needed. This is a process in constant motion until you find the best fit. Remember too, an ad may work superbly in one place but not in another.
Create a spreadsheet or document that you will enter in all the sites and venues that are a consideration in your Internet marketing campaign.
Paula Polman's five step Internet marketing plan continues on the next page...