Create a winning online marketing strategy
As people spend more and more time on the Internet, online marketing is essential, regardless of industry. Investing in it can attract new customers, retain current ones, increase your revenue, and drive meaningful results for your business.
To succeed with online marketing, however, you need a strategy. You can think of an online marketing strategy as a blueprint for how you’ll market your business online and what you want to accomplish by doing so.
How an online marketing strategy will help your business
The reality is it’s difficult to target your audience through traditional marketing methods like print ads, billboards, radio spots, and commercials. Oftentimes, you target everyone with your message and hope that those who are interested in your products or services will take notice.
Online marketing allows you to specifically target those who are interested in your business and offerings. It’s also more cost-effective than traditional marketing because you can track the results and understand what’s working and what’s not. It’s the ideal way to reduce or eliminate wasted spend and make the most out of your marketing budget.
Understand your audience
Before you create a marketing strategy, dig deep and truly get to know your audience. Uncover their motivations, needs, behaviors, challenges, pain points, and goals. Review any data or analytics you have on hand, conduct surveys, monitor social media engagement, and implement user testing to do so.
Once you understand your audience, you’ll be able to position your online marketing initiatives and content in a way that not only reaches them but also intrigues them and encourages them to do business with you.
You’ll also find it easier to speak to your audience in an authentic voice and tone that supports who you are and what you stand for, building brand loyalty and customer retention. It’s no surprise that successful marketers are 242% more likely to perform research on their audience once per quarter or more.
Set goals and KPIs
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. They can help you clarify your objectives, pinpoint areas of improvement, and create a successful online marketing strategy. Here’s a closer look at each letter in the SMART acronym.
- Specific: Your goals must be concise and specific rather than vague and ambiguous.
- Measurable: Be sure you can track your goals and measure their success.
- Attainable: Your goals should be challenging yet still possible to achieve.
- Relevant: It’s essential that your goals are relevant to your business and will make a significant impact.
- Time-bound: Attach deadlines to each one of your goals.
In addition to SMART goals, you need KPIs, which are measurable values used to evaluate marketing campaign performance. You can use KPIs like cost per lead (CPL), sales qualified leads (SQLs), and return on investment (ROI) to analyze and improve your online marketing strategy.
Strategy vs. Tactics
A marketing strategy is a focused plan that outlines what you’re trying to achieve. To create it, consider your target audience, what you’ll do to reach them, your KPIs, and your definition of success.
Marketing tactics, however, are the concrete steps or actions within your strategy. These tactics will help you achieve your goals. While it’s relatively easy to change tactics, it’s far more difficult and time-consuming to change your strategy.
In most cases, tactics are attached to various resources and come with a start date, end date, and specific milestones. Your marketing tactics may involve building a website, creating and running ads, and attending trade shows.
Creating Your Plan
Initially, focus on one online marketing strategy with a set of tactics. Once you meet your goals, you can add other tactics that fit your strategy and expand it. For example, if your strategy involves social media marketing, you may use tactics like creating a business page on Facebook, running Facebook ads, and engaging with followers. When you succeed with social media, you can move on to paid ads, videos, and other forms of online marketing.
Create a calendar for yourself
A content calendar is imperative if you’d like to ensure your marketing messages are consistent and effective. You can create a digital version and share it with everyone involved in your marketing efforts. Review and update your calendar regularly to meet the ever-evolving needs of your business and customers.
Stay within budget
While it can be a challenge to stay within your marketing budget, it’s important if you’d like to maximize ROI and increase profit margins. To stick to your budget, create a main budget with smaller budgets so you have both a large and small view of how you want to spend your money. Also, use your research and previous experience to assign a specific amount to each marketing campaign. This will make it easier for you to follow your budget more closely than if you have a large number that covers all your marketing initiatives.
Create an SOP
You can use a standard operating procedure or SOP to optimize your marketing strategy. Put simply, an SOP provides everyone involved in your marketing efforts with clear guidelines for performing day-to-day tasks and processes. With an SOP, you can reduce errors and inefficiencies while you improve output.
To create an SOP, develop the list of tasks and processes you want to include. Then, figure out whether you’ll use diagrams, a step-by-step narrative, or a combination of both. Once you hone in on your format, design a comprehensive SOP template.
Next, use documents and interview the appropriate parties to collect the information you need for your SOP content. After you write your SOP and check it for accuracy and completeness, it’s time to publish and distribute it. Don’t forget to review your SOP periodically and make changes as needed.
Reassess and optimize
Remember that your online marketing strategy is not set in stone. You’ll need to adjust it as your business evolves and grows. At first, you may want to review your strategy every month. During these reviews, uncover its strengths and weaknesses and what you can do to improve. As you refine your strategy, you may decide to reassess and optimize it less frequently, on a quarterly basis instead of every month.
Take the first step
Before you create an effective online marketing strategy, meet with key stakeholders to define your target audience and discuss your goals. Figure out who you wish to target and what you hope to achieve with online marketing.
Use online marketing to take your business to new heights
In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, online marketing is not an option. It’s a necessity. With the right online marketing strategy, you can harness the power of the internet and set your business up for unparalleled success. It’s an ever-evolving road map that will help you achieve your goals today, tomorrow, and in years to come.
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