2011 is being touted as the year of the website, so the start of the New Year is the time to get your online marketing campaign started.
The key is to plan your strategy so you don’t become overwhelmed or fork out too much money.
I have outlined below some areas to consider when creating your plan:
1. Know Your Customer
Its no use starting an online marketing campaign without knowing who your ultimate customers is. They are the ones you want to target your advertising at, after all. Some questions to ask yourself in order to define your ultimate customer are:
- What is the net household income of my customer? Can they afford my products/services?
- Where does my customer look for my product/service? Both online and in physical locations?
- Does my customer work out of the home or in the home?
- What is the job profile of my customer – an executive, manager, worker, entrepreneur, stay-at-home parent, etc.
Defining your ultimate customer will give you a good idea on where to advertise/market your business and how to write and what to include in your message copy.
2. Know Your Marketing Options
Step 1 will have given you an idea on which areas to target your marketing. A coordinated effort across several sites and avenues used by your customers will be the most effective. Don’t underestimate the value of repetition – If your business is seen across sites numerous times, your message will be remembered by the site visitors (your potential customers).
When considering how to market your business there are a number of options – PPC advertising, Local business listing in websites and directories, newsletter advertising, display advertising on other website or social media – the possibilities are endless.
Set a budget level that you are not willing to exceed. By doing so, you will limit the areas that you can concentrate your marketing efforts on. For example, PPC advertising can be expensive if you are targeting a popular keyword, whereas a local business listing can be very cheap or cost nothing at all (expect for your time).
Another consideration when setting your budget is whether you are going to outsource your marketing efforts to an expert or do-it-yourself. There are pro’s and con’s to each. Obviously by outsourcing you will pay more than doing the work yourself. However the time it takes y
ou to setup a PPC campaign (for example), write ad copy and maintain the campaign could be better spent concentrating on other aspects of your business, so the cost to let someone else take care of all that could actually save you. Also, by leaving the work to experts you have the peace of mind that your campaign is in safe hands.
4. Measure what matters
Develop key metrics for the marketing plan – gross sales revenue, (marketing) cost per sale, and ROI by each marketing campaign. Also, don’t under estimate the value of customer feedback, even if it’s informally via forums or blogs.
Online marketing campaigns are within the reach of any business, no matter what your budget. The key is to commit to a marketing plan and see it through to the end. Good luck!