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					Your 2006 Web Marketing Plan

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966

Summary:
With the New Year right around the corner, we often resolve to improve
our behavior, health, or personal relationships. Let me tell you, you're
wasting your time. I'm OK, you're OK. It's our Web marketing that's a
mess.

We've got out-of-shape Web sites, directionless Web marketing, and we're
lost at the search engines. It's time to stop worrying about self-
improvement and start worrying about Web marketing-improvement!

While every business has different goals and need...


Keywords:
web marketing, small business, email newsletters, search engine
optimization, podcast, blogs


Article Body:
With the New Year right around the corner, we often resolve to improve
our behavior, health, or personal relationships. Let me tell you, you're
wasting your time. I'm OK, you're OK. It's our Web marketing that's a
mess.

We've got out-of-shape Web sites, directionless Web marketing, and we're
lost at the search engines. It's time to stop worrying about self-
improvement and start worrying about Web marketing-improvement!

While every business has different goals and needs, please consider these
twelve items in creating your own Web marketing plan for next year.
Rearrange the order to fit your own schedule in 2006.

January: Set up a Web marketing budget. I know, this is your favorite
part: the budget. However, once you've decided how much money you plan on
spending quarterly or monthly, deciding what to spend your marketing
dollar on becomes much easier. You'll also want to carve out some time
for your Web marketing endeavors. After all, a lot of the following to-
do's are more about time than money.

February: Audit your Web site (beginner.) Often we're surprised or
dismayed at the material that's on our Web site: bios of ex-employees,
links to sites that no longer exist, a 2001 pricelist. Spend some time
reviewing the content on your Web site and get rid of anything that's
out-of-date or no longer expresses who you are. Nothing turns off
prospects faster than a neglected Web site.

March: Audit your Web site (advanced.) Review your traffic reports and
decide if your navigation needs to be updated. Maybe certain parts of
your site are getting a lot of traffic and should be further promoted on
the home page. If other sections or pages are being ignored they may need
to be removed...or promoted. Fill out all the Web forms (contact, search,
etc.,) and read the "hidden text" that appears on landing pages. Rewrite
the copy that seems dated or incorrect.

April: Start reading blogs in your industry. Download a newsreader (I
recommend NetNewsWire for Mac users) or set up a free account at
Bloglines. To find blogs in your industry you can do searches at
Technorati or check out BlogCatalog among others. Make sure you're
reading the blogs of your competition and your clients.

May: Start your own blog. You knew that was coming, right? Blogs are
becoming an important, perhaps essential, part of business
communications. No matter the size of your organization, a blog can be a
great way to connect with your clients...and your clients-to-be.

June: Subscribe to your competitors' email newsletters. This is a
fantastic (usually) free resource of advice that is targeted towards your
clients. Shouldn't you know what your competition is recommending? Maybe
they know something you don't!

You probably know many of your competitors already and can visit their
Web site to see if they offer an email newsletter. However, you can
Google "your industry + email newsletter" to find some ezines that are
new to you. (You should also be reading your clients' newsletters as
well; you can't know too much about their business.)

July: Start your own email newsletter or jumpstart your subscriber rate.
If you're not publishing an email newsletter you're missing out on one of
the most cost-effective Web marketing tools at your disposal. Use an
Email Service Provider (ESP) to manage your subscriber list and publish
an ezine regularly.

If you're already publishing an email newsletter try some new ideas to
increase your subscriber base . Offer a free article for new subscribers,
raffle off a prize to one subscriber each month, or advertise on a
complementary newsletter.

August: Troll discussion boards in your industry. There are discussion
boards on every topic under the sun, and certainly a few in your industry
(or your target audience's industry.) By reading posts at these
discussion boards you can get an understanding of what prospects are
looking for and create products or services that meet their needs.

By posting responses you can quickly establish yourself as an expert and
create links that drive traffic to your Web site while improving your
site's ranking at the search engines!

September: Start listening to podcasts. The New Oxford American
Dictionary named "podcast" its 2005 word of the year, so maybe you
shouldn't wait until September before you tune in.
Whether podcasting ever becomes a part of your Web marketing, it's
important to understand how podcasting works and how other companies
(including your competition) use it. Visit the iTunes Music Store or a
podcast directory like Podcast Alley and start sampling some podcasts.
Not sure where to start? Adam Curry's PodFinder show (available at the
iTunes Music Store) highlights new podcasts each episode.

October: Consider starting your own podcast. I can't recommend podcasting
for every business, or even most businesses. I still believe there are
more effective ways to communicate with prospects and clients. However,
some businesses will benefit from offering a podcast. Keep in mind your
target audience, and whether they will be downloading audio to their
computer or mp3 player.

November: Submit some of your articles to article directories. A great
way to increase your "findability" at the search engines is to have a lot
of quality incoming links. One proven method to do this is to have
articles you've written appear on other Web sites that link to yours. To
get your articles posted at other Web sites check out article directories
such as The Phantom Writers and iSnare.

December: Add share this page functionality to some or all of your Web
site. As people suffer from information overload, they rely more heavily
on the recommendations of friends and family. Make this word-of-mouth
advertising easier by allowing site visitors to quickly "share this page"
with a friend or colleague. You can even include your own marketing
message embedded in the email that arrives at the friends' mailbox.

				
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