MWCreating Online Marketing Strategies in Plain English
As the European economic crisis continues to affect small to medium sized businesses, the marketing focus has turned to cost effective strategies that provide ROI (Return on Investment) to meet specific organisational objectives/goals or KPI's (Key Performance Indicators). Each organisation has its own specific and unique objectives ranging from lead generation to revenue growth, improvements to market share or simply higher online/offline visibility (top-of-mind awareness).
Undoubtedly, the most visible and cost effective marketing tool that you possess is your business website. The main URL address, the links, content, functionality all have a specific 24/7 objectives to match your organizational goals.
A well constructed website with high ranking key terms in the natural search engine (Google, Yahoo, MSN), appropriate content, linkages and suitable levels of online advertising can and will provide you with quality leads and higher levels of customer acquisition and conversions (sales, downloads, e-commerce).
Creating an online Marketing Strategy
- The first thing you need to do is develop a strategic plan specific to YOUR business. This means you need to define your goals and tailor a strategy specific to each of your target markets.
- Each target audience will also require a dedicated communication strategy to ensure online conversion. This may require you to test the usability of your website in various versions and continuing to make changes to your online presence based on these results. Google offer a wonderful array of 'lab' tools to assist you. It's worth register your business with Google Adwords and Yahoo just to gain access to the tool!
- Ensuring that your website is found requires a combination of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), integrated online & offline marketing (such as advertising, Pay Per Click, Adwords etc), effective use of your customer database or purchase of appropriate databases, online newsletters, email campaigns and sms's to your customer databases, affiliate marketing opportunities (including shared links with suitable partners), knowing who your competitors are, what they do differently, how they transact online and benchmarking various aspects of your online business against theirs. There is a complete myriad of cost-effective online marketing strategies that are available to you, all of which aim to achieve goal objectives and communicate the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that makes your business the primary customer target. YOU NEED TO BECOME ENTHUSASTIC ABOUT SEO AND SEM!
- Reducing the bounce rate of your website will increase the chances that customers will visit each of your online pages and result in a higher probability that conversion will take place. It's all very well having a great looking website, but if takes too long to download or it's uninteresting, doesn't answer the question or solve a customer need, it's all to no avail. So, you need to ensure that the content of your website offers a benefit. It may be as simple as testing a variety of online banners that each show a various offer or a link to anther page that will convince the customer to click through and ultimately convert to a sale or download or whatever your specific goal may be.
- When you visit your local department store, you walk through the isles. Here you will notice that products are placed at specific heights, in specific locations at specific price points. It's all about the 'EXPERIENCE'. Similarly, people who visit online websites are a fairly savvy crowd. Stop thinking they're not! They want an experience. They want to learn. They want a great deal. They want to EXPLORE. Your website can have the greatest offers, but if it's not believable, if it's just full of 'hot air' or it doesn't deliver (the fulfillment factor), has too much fine print or it doesn't deliver a result in a suitable timeframe, then everything you do and the money you spend is just wasted! So take your time, think about the placement and value of your content, the architecture of your website and its primary purpose. Have empathy with the customer and watch our sales and leads grow exponentially!
- Do something different. Don't just do what your competitors are doing. Stop doing the same old tried and tested marketing campaigns. People get bored with that! Create a point of difference for your business or a compelling offer. Use your online market to create organic growth for your business and reap the rewards of an effective online marketing campaign.