If you’re a growing business, you’ve probably considered creating an in-depth Internet marketing strategy. By now, you’ve likely worked to build a memorable website your customers love. There’s a good chance you’re running pay-per-click ads, promoting yourself on social media, and driving traffic to your website in your company’s newsletters. Heck, you might even have a long-term blogging plan to get your site found on Google.
But, have you sat down and put thought into creating an actual strategy?
An Internet marketing strategy can help you visualize your company’s goals. It can force you to think about your efforts and explore avenues that you may not have considered. Most importantly, it ensures that all of your digital marketing efforts are coordinated. When all of your marketing efforts are working together, you can reduce your costs, achieve better results, and get a better return on your investment.
So, then, what’s the best way to create an effective strategy?
1. Define the goals of your Internet marketing strategy
Ask any expert and they’ll tell you: the main reason digital marketing efforts fail is a lack of planning. Before you do anything, choose a specific, measurable goal for all of your online marketing efforts to work toward.
Here’s a collection of, well, really bad goals…
- Bring more people to my website. How many people? Without defining specific numbers, you’ll never know when you’ve achieved your goal.
- Get people to tell their friends about my company. How will you monitor real-world conversations? You can’t achieve a goal that you can’t measure.
- Increase my sales by ten thousand percent. Could you strive for a more realistic amount? Unrealistic goals are a great way to set yourself up for failure.
- Be the best online seller within ten years. What about this year? Setting timely goals prevents procrastination and creates a sense of urgency.
And here’s a better collection of good goals…
- Increase my site’s traffic by ten percent. With the ability to measure site traffic, you can track your progress as you strive to generate a specific amount of visits.
- Get people to share my site on social media. Since you can receive notifications when you are tagged on social media, you can measure this online word-of-mouth.
- Increase my sales by twenty percent. A twenty percent increase is a reasonable, attainable goal that can be achieved with concerted effort.
- Surpass my competitor in search rankings. Instead of ‘becoming the best,’ you can focus on overtaking your nearest competitor in one specific metric.
2. Take stock of the marketing tools available to you
After you’ve defined your goal, you’re going to need to take a look at all of the digital marketing platforms that your company uses. Do you have thousands of followers on Facebook? Are you running pay-per-click ads with an impressive clickthrough rate? Do you send out monthly email blasts to re-engage your customers?
To be successful, your Internet marketing strategy will need to leverage every tool available. Once you’ve identified everything you’re using, try to rank them in order of effectiveness. Which channels are driving the most traffic to your website? Which are responsible for the most leads? A clear understanding of what’s working is an important step, as it allows you to build your strategy around known winners.
3. Create a map of your digital sales track
If you’ve already established a large online presence, you may have defined your sales funnel in your CRM or lead generation software. But, if not, now is the time to do it. Creating a visual map of your sales track helps you plot routes. It helps you identify where customers enter, how they move through various stages, and how they can be guided toward making a purchase.
When creating your map, take note of…
- Where customers begin their journey. Knowing where most customers begin their journey can help you craft more effective entry points. If you know that your most likely customers enter through a specific page or product, you can direct traffic to those pages with PPC ads, search engine optimization, or email marketing.
- Where customers abandon most often. By identifying common problem points, you can tighten up your sales process. If customers are leaving your website when asked to fill out a particular form or when faced with shipping charges, you should consider reworking these stages to avoid abandonment and increase sales.
- Where customers resolve to purchase. If you’re able to pinpoint where your customers make the decision to buy, you can reframe other stages in your track to mimic that stage. Or, better yet, you can direct all of your digital marketing efforts to a customized sales track that leads to that stage.
4. Assemble a content marketing plan that advances your goals
It’s been shown that content marketing generates substantially more leads and produces conversion rates that are dramatically higher than outbound marketing. In the simplest terms, digital marketing is content marketing. If you want to be successful, you need a plan that involves the regular creation, scheduling, and distribution of written content.
We’ve written before about how to put a content marketing plan together. But, the long and short of it is this: you’re going to need to devote time to creating content that promotes your company’s online presence. You’ll want to create a calendar – or a spreadsheet – that outlines when this content will be distributed. And, above all else, you’re going to want to decide where – and how – you promote your content.
If you followed along through step two, you’ve already identified which marketing channels are the most successful for your company. Using this information, plot out how you’ll release your content. Will it be posted to your blog and then shared on social media? Will you add it to your LinkedIn and send out an email blast? You’ll want to take advantage of the most effective channels that are available to you. But, don’t ignore less popular channels, as they can help you grow your reach to new demographics.
5. Assess and adjust your Internet marketing strategy
Now that your strategy is in place, the real work begins. By regularly analyzing your Internet marketing strategy, you can work to refine it. As you watch your plan in action, ask yourself:
- Am I seeing an increase in visitors? If not, explore ways to boost traffic to your website, such as blogging for SEO, running PPC ads, or sending promotional emails.
- Are visitors being converted into leads? If not, work out how you can create a more engaging experience. Write instructional blog articles, add videos, or create infographics.
- What seems to be working? Don’t just focus on the negative, look at what’s working and feel good about it! Even better, extend working elements to other, less effective channels.
It’s important to understand that, just like your physical location, you’re never finished promoting your online location. Even if you reach a point where everything seems to be working flawlessly, you should be searching for ways to improve. Trust us, your biggest competitors are never sleeping!
So, when you feel like it’s time to take a breather, look at other channels, channels you might have ignored. Do you need to streamline your listings on local directories? Can you target newer, longer keywords? Should you consider expanding your website with new pages, articles, and resources?
Need help assembling a strategy to get found on the Internet?
For over twenty years, the team at Creative Marketing Group has worked with businesses of all sizes to grow their presences online. With the skills necessary to get you found, we can work with you to increase your reach, grow your audience, and boost your sales. We’ve worked with both local businesses and national companies to craft intelligent, workable marketing strategies that produce results. Don’t let your competition slip ahead of you, contact us today to start expanding your Internet presence.