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6 Tips To Create A Marketing Plan For Online Success

Whether you run an e-commerce store, have recently launched an online startup or you run a local service business that targets people who use the web to search for your services, you need an online marketing plan that sets out your activities.

First, you need to carry out an audit and analysis of your business and the marketing environment. That means you need to research your target markets and identify segments that are interested in your products or services and assess if you have the resources.

Your audit will also include analysing your competitive forces to see how well resourced they are and if you can take them head on or use a flanking or guerrilla marketing strategy. Finally, you will look at the macro forces like technology, politics and social factors that are outside your control and that could impact your business.

So, here are 6 tips to help you create your marketing plan:

1. Create Marketing Objectives

From your audit, you will discover what is most important to your business and that will form the basis of your objectives. Your objectives are unique to your business and are statements of what you want to achieve.

They are short-term goals usually covering a period between 6-12 months and they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-related (SMART). An example of a SMART Objective is:

“Increase organic traffic by 20% with Millennials by 31 December 2015″

Now that you’ve created your objectives, you will move on to the next stages of your online marketing plan and focus only on activities that help you achieve your objectives.

2. Know Your Customers

Your audit will help you identify potential segments that you can target with your products or services. Very few businesses have the financial and people resources to target all segments in the market, so you should pick the segments that you have identified as having the most potential.

A potential market is one that has the money to afford your products and is large enough for you to make sales to cover your operational costs and also make profits. So, to maximise your revenue or sales, you could opt for a multi-segment strategy that you target multiple groups with your products or services.

There are many online tools you can use to identify your target demographics and where they are based and some of these you can find in Google AdWords, such as the keyword and display planner tools. Also, you can use survey tools like Survey Monkey to understand the needs of your target markets.

3. Monitor Your Competitors

Having identified your competitors from the audit, now you need to pick three or four that you will monitor and benchmark against your business metrics. This is where your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) become more relevant because you are comparing your progress against business rivals.

The web provides many tools to monitor competitors and one of the popular ones is Alexa. Another one is Compete and these tools and others provide you with details about your competitors’ visitor demographic and geographic data and how they are performing on metrics such as traffic volumes, time on site and popular keywords.

For social media, a tool like Social Bakers is handy to assess and monitor your competitors’ performance in the social sphere, which is now more important than ever.

4. Decide On Your Promotional Strategy

The strategy section of your marketing plan is an in-depth section on how you reach your target markets with your offers. It covers your positioning in the market and marketing mix tactics like product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence.

With promotion for example, you will identify all the online channels and tools that are relevant in your industry and some popular ones include PPC advertising, SEO, affiliate marketing, blogging, email marketing, social media and so on.

The tactics you choose as part of your strategy will depend on what financial and people resources you have and this will feed into your budget.

5. Create An Effective Budget

Your marketing budget should be large enough to allow you to implement your strategy. If it’s not, then you should prioritise your tactics and activities and focus first on those that will help you achieve your objectives, while meeting customers’ needs.

Budget setting is a specialised skill and you should get assistance from a financial expert if you struggle developing this part of your marketing plan.

6. Control Your Activities

Finally, your marketing plan should include details of how you monitor your progress towards achieving your mission and goals and what you will do if things go wrong. This is an interesting part of the plan because it lists all the activities and who will be assigned to what activity and what the cost will be.

Remember to get senior-level buy-in and ensure that everyone in your team understands what their roles and duties are. So, you should have a calendar or timeline that lists all these activities and continue to change it as things progress.

Take Time to Draft Your Small Business Marketing Plan

Make time to draft your marketing plan. We live in a busy world and finding enough time for everything, if you are running your own business, becomes a real challenge. If it is a small or home based business, where you don’t have much back up in the way of competent staff, then running and marketing your business becomes a blur of confusion.

When the days become busy is when you really need a well researched plan to follow. This relieves any unnecessary ‘spur of the moment’ trial and errors that you will regret later.

There is a return on your investment for making time to draft a marketing plan. Here are five reasons that will get you started.

1. Compels you to think about your business.

The biggest advantage is that it forces you to sit down and think about your business. What is your current situation in regards to customers, marketing activities, and ROI? Who is your competition and is there anything going on in the environment that can change how you do business? What are your goals for the next week, month, and year? Without a plan you will not know how to get from now to then. Begin to understand what resources your small business will need to meet those goals etc.

2. Creates Organization.

The second advantage is that a small business marketing plan organizes all your marketing activities you plan on using. This will eliminate those costly and ineffective last minute decisions. You know what you are going to do to market your business over a set time frame.

3. Decide how and where to spend your marketing dollars.

By developing a marketing plan you will have to decide on how and where you are going to undertake marketing activities. Think about money, time, and any other resources you will need to carry out your marketing objectives before you take action. This ensures that you do not over spend your budget.

4. Plan when and where to begin your marketing tactics.

A marketing plan will outline details about when you initiate your marketing objectives and tactics. Most businesses have cycles when there are busy cycles and slow down periods. While drafting your plan you will decide if you want to increase your marketing activities to generate sales in quiet periods? You will also have thought about if you would be able to handle the increased demand if you marketed aggressively during busy periods?

5. You’ll know what you want to achieve.

The marketing research you did for your small business marketing plan will ensure that you know the return on investment you expect your marketing activities to achieve. To analyze the actual campaigns you will put mechanisms in place to measure the results against expectations.

The return on investment you will receive by drafting a marketing plan is peace of mind about, and organization of, marketing activities. You will have information that helps you make better decisions, you will know your competition, business environment, your customers and potential customers, and you will increase your bottom line. Take the time to draft your small business plan to save you time to run your business and ensure that your business prospers.

Internet Marketing Plan Is Necessary To Achieve Your Online Business Goals

You have an online business you need to make an internet marketing plan for it. For this you make sure that you analyze all your marketing goals and objectives and make an effort to implement it. Many business owners feel that online business plan is not a necessity but it is not the case.

Key for successful internet marketing plan includes these tasks. Make sure that you put all ideas and plans on paper. This will make it easier for you to stay on pace without any trouble at all. This proves to be a key of staying on course without getting lost along the way. You should make diverse online marketing plan. Don’t use repetitive tasks or typical marketing strategy all the time. A diverse plan gives you the options to apply all techniques and procedures. Try to use those strategies which have proved to be successful in the recent past and have high future prospects. It doesn’t mean that you do not implement new ideas and techniques in your plan.

Keep on experimenting but learn form the past mistakes and do not try to implement those in the future plans. This way drafting an online business plan proves to be a mental gymnastic to make your online marketing strategies but it makes the planning process easier and interesting for you.

Give a thought to about the purpose of being online. Make sure that you create your online marketing plan to increase awareness in groups and community at large or to increase your business sales. Define the various strategies that you can use on the internet. It can be in the form of forums, contests, free reports, newsletter, and pay per click advertising, banners, article marketing, and viral marketing. How much time you can spend on the internet and in which way online marketing can be done by you. Other strategies can include affiliate marketing and placing ads, banners in search engines. What is the budget of your marketing plan and how many $ you need to spend on each plan? How will you track the success of your plan and what is the rate of return? Try to find the answers of these.

An online business plan is very necessary for the success of any online business. This should be a comprehensive plan which is guaranteed to give you profit. It should include search engine optimization tasks which are effective to do your online business.

An internet marketing plan for a website should include the through study of a website. Define neat and clean coding for website, increase the inbound links and attain high search engine rankings. The aim is to design a website with the proper navigation structure. Define the keywords and use the entire on page and off page optimization techniques.

Thus having a top class marketing plan you will be increasing your chances of being successful online. You can earn more profits every month by putting a right internet marketing plan in your work place.