September 23, 2014

Writing Internet Marketing Plans

Increase your return on investment with well thought out internet marketing campaigns.

Internet Marketing
Research such as the Webmarketing123 State of Digital Marketing Survey 2011 and the seventh Merchant Confidence Index Survey show the shift in budgets from offline marketing towards internet marketing strategies. But like traditional campaigns, online tactics must have a planned approach from setting your initial budget to implementation to six-monthly or annual reviews. Here is a basic eight-step plan for companies to follow.

Step 1: Setting your internet marketing budget

Your first step is to determine what your marketing budget will be and what percentage you will allocate to online campaigns. This should be reviewed during the year. It can be tempting for small businesses in particular to cut the marketing budget when times are tough. The business adage ‘you have to spend money to make money’ is very relevant to internet marketing campaigns to drive traffic and increase conversion rates.

Step 2: Defining your target audience

Before you start implementing your internet marketing strategy, it’s imperative that you define your target audience. For some businesses such as hotels, they may have several different segments such as business travellers and families. The more you can drill down your target audience in terms of demographics such as age, gender, location, income, interests and hobbies, the better targeted your campaigns will be.

Step 3: Determining your objectives

Work out what you want to achieve through your online marketing strategies. The objectives may be different according to your business category. Some companies may want to educate and inform such as a health website, others may want sell goods and services such a hotel or build brand awareness such as a fashion designer’s website. Be clear about what you want to achieve in order to communicate this message to customers.

Step 4: Deciding on a strategy

There are a lot of ways to drive traffic to your website such as Search Engine Optimisation  (SEO) as well as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, social media and countless other ways. You need to decide on what internet marketing tools will work best for your business and your budget. This is not set in stone – by analysing your results (see below), you can discover what is the most cost effective and wide-reaching strategy.

Step 5: Implementing the strategy

Once you have decided on all the above, you can implement your strategy. This may be done in several different stages (which may be more manageable for a smaller marketing team) or you may want to start an integrated campaign which may create a greater synergy. To ensure that your product, service(s) and business get in front of the right people at the right times, you must implement and stick to a well thought out internet marketing plan.

Step 6: Testing the strategy

The tale of the $300 million dollar button shows how a simple change on a form increased a site’s annual revenues by $300 million. Website Optimizer is an online tool introduced by Google to test and optimise site content and design to increase revenue and return on investment. You want to test content on landing pages such as the position of the call to action buttons, the body copy, the headlines, the offer, images used and so forth.

Step 7: Analysing the results

Monitoring internet marketing is an important part of the process but it is sometimes neglected by busy online teams. This is where you can see whether you have reached the objectives, benchmarks or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you set in step two. You want to analyse what is working and more importantly what is not working. Tracking and reacting to implemented strategies is critical in maintaining an effective campaign.

Step 8: Reviewing strategies

Internet marketing is not a ‘set it and forget’ strategy. Unfortunately there is no way to automate campaigns. Due to the dynamic nature of the internet, plans need to be monitored and adjusted if necessary. Six monthly or annual reviews are the norm but if your company is operating in a very competitive market, you may want to schedule quarterly reviews. Remember that certain strategies such as SEO need a few months to show results.

With proper planning, successful internet marketing campaigns are within reach of any business, large or small. SEO Works have a proven record in helping high-profile clients  put together strategies that that increase brand exposure, drive traffic to your website and result in an improved conversion rate. Contact them to find out more about the internet marketing services they offer and how they can help your business.