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10 Steps to Creating Your Internet Marketing Plan

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					10 Steps to Creating Your Internet Marketing Plan
Copyright 2006 Donna Gunter
If you're the owner of a small service business, having a
solid Internet marketing plan in place can both increase
your name and brand recognition locally in your
geographic area, as well as expose you to a whole new
set of potential clients throughout the world.


If you have a business plan or vision that is written, you
only need to integrate this Internet marketing piece into
that existing plan. However, if you are like many of my
clients, you carry your business and marketing plans in
your head without bothering to commit anything to
paper.


Here are ten considerations you need to make as you
complete your Internet marketing plan:


1. Objective of Internet Marketing Plan:
What do you want to accomplish by using Internet
marketing? To find new clients? Provide services and info
to existing clients? Sell services or products? Educate
your target market or your staff about your product or
service? Create an online community for your target
market? How much money to have to spend each month
on this Internet marketing plan? Having a goal and
budget in mind will make your marketing more effective.


2. Marketing Funnel:


The most successful online business owners have a
marketing funnel (think of it as an upside down triangle)
through which they "funnel" clients. The process begins
from the wide top of the funnel, representing low-cost
products or free give-aways, and moving clients down
through the funnel to the narrower portions which
represent gradually increasing investments from the
clients from your higher-priced products and services.
What products and services do you currently offer? Are
they at varied price points that would create a funnel
effect? What plans do you have to increase your product
or service line? Will those new offerings plug gaps in your
marketing funnel?


3. Your Competition:


Knowing and understanding where you stand among
your competitors can you help you strengthen your
marketing message. Do a keyword search for the terms
someone might use to find your business online. Write
down the URL's of your top 5 competitors. How popular
and relevant are their sites? You can check their traffic
ranking with Alexa, http://www.alexa.com/#traffic, as
well as see what other sites link to them. Does your
competition offer something unique? Where are the
gaps in the service or product offerings?


4. Target Market:
Instead of trying to marketing to everyone (the shotgun
marketing approach), find a clearly definable target
market that you can easily describe and locate. Are they
male or female? What age group? What industry? What
socio-economic group? Where do they hang out on- and
off-line? What do they read? To what groups and
associations (real and virtual, personal and professional)
do they belong? How much money do they make? Can
they easily afford your product or service? What
keywords are they using to search for businesses like
yours online? (Note--you can do keyword research with
free downloadable software,
http://www.GoodKeywords.com).


5. Solution to a Problem:


The reason that someone will buy your product or hire to
you to provide a service is to solve a particular problem
that they have. What problems and issues plague your
target market? How does your product or service solve
that problem? How does your solution differ from that of
your competitors? What makes you uniquely qualified to
provide the solution to their problem?


6. Branding Your Business:


Your domain name can either help you be memorable or
cast you into a sea of "brandless" solutions. At a
minimum, you'll want to buy both your personal name as
well as the name of your business in the .com version, if
it's available. Then buy the .com versions of your product
names and program names. If you use a full-featured
domain registrar, you'll be able to point and mask these
domains to internal pages of your web site, or use them
as stand-alone sales letter pages.


You may also think of problems faced by your target
market or solutions that you provide and buy domain
names in the .com version of those as well. Internet
marketer Dean Jackson brands his ebook on how to stop
a divorce by owning the domain name,
StopYourDivorce.com, This is a compelling solution to his
target market -- men who have been ignoring their wives'
complaints of marital dissatisfaction and come home one
day to an empty house and a note telling him that she's
filing for divorce.


7. Assess your website.


Your web site should be visually appealing, with one
primary font for the text and a simple primary color
scheme, along with an easy-to-navigate layout, and
readily identifiable buttons to link to other pages in the
site. Your content should focus on and address the
problems of your visitors and how your product or
service can help solve their problems. Rather than listing
the features of your product or service, detail the
benefits they'll gain from purchasing your product or
service. People rarely buy features -- they buy benefits.
Don't depend on your web site designer to write your
content -- that is best done by you, as you know your
business and your target market better than anyone.
Present a clear call to action that is clearly shown on
every page of your site. In an online business, your
primary call to action should be getting the visitor's name
and primary email address by asking him subscribe to
your ezine or by giving him access to a free ecourse,
special report, audio recording, or ebook. Lastly, provide
an abundace of readily available information to
demonstrate your expertise (articles, blog posts, free
downloads, giveaways, contests). Your visitor is always
asking WIIFM (What's In It For Me) -- make your web site
about your visitor, not about you.


8. Online Business Management Technology:


Do you have access to the appropriate services and
technology that will help you sell your product or service
online? At a minimum you'll need a merchant account
(permits you to take credit card payments) that includes
a virtual gateway (enables you to process transactions
online) and a full-featured shopping cart that will permit
you to sell both physical and electronic products and
create a series of autoresponders to follow up with
buyers and non-buyers alike. Depending on your
marketing plan, you may also want to investigate email
newsletter distribution services, online appointment
setting services, stand-alone autoresponders, blogging
software, article submission sites, online press release
distribution services, website content management
services, and links exchange management services and
software.


9. Internet Marketing Strategies:


How will you create traffic to your website? There are
countless ways to do this, including: pay-per-click
purchases (in which you buy a keyword at a search
engine and pay for placement on that search engine for
that keyword and pay for each visitor who clicks on that
link and is sent to your site); organic search engine listing
ranking (in which your site comes up at the top of the
non-sponsored listings on a search engine by having
keyword rich descriptions in the page title and page
desciption meta tags and then optimizing each page for
no more than 3 keywords in the first 250 words on a
page); well-written email newsletter that is published on
a regular basis; submission of articles on topics related to
your target market to article submission directories;
regularly post entries to a blog aimed at your target
market, full of content discussing issues related to that
target market; series of podcasts containing interview
with experts of interest to your target market; ongoing
series of teleconferences containing value-added content
for your target market; submission of online press
releases with new tips information for your target
market; exchange relevant links with others in different
industries with the same target market;


10. Building a Team:


You'll never be able to do this all alone. The most
successful business owners don't even try. You need to
add experts to your team who are great at what they do
so that you've got the time and energy to go out and do
what you do best -- selling your products and services to
your target market. Some great experts to add to your
team include a virtual assistant or online business
manager, an online business coach, a web site designer,
a graphic designer, a writing expert (editor, ghost writer,
proof reader or copy writer), a bookkeeper, and
intellectual property attorney, to name a few.


To conduct a successful Internet marketing campaign,
you need to integrate your plan into the overall
marketing plan/business vision that you have for your
service business. Some businesses will thrive off Internet
marketing alone; however, for most, Internet marketing
simply complements and enhances your offline
marketing strategies

				
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