7 Steps to Creating an Effective Online Marketing Plan

 

Online marketing has almost become essential for business success.  Why wouldn’t you want to advertise your brand online?  The Internet connects consumers on a global level – consumers who may be searching for your product or service!

Use these seven steps to help build an effective online marketing plan.

 

  1. Define your Ideal Customer

Who is going to buy your service/product?  Develop a few buyer personas to get a clear picture of your perfect consumers.  (If your company already has a strong client base, ask to interview a few select customers that best represent your target audience.)  These personas are achieved by asking basic questions, like the following:

  • Is my ideal consumer male or female?
  • How old is this person?
  • What is his/her level of education?
  • What is his/her income level?
  • Is this person married?
  • Does he/she have children?
  • What does he/she value?
  • What are his/her hobbies?
  • Where does this consumer go for information?

Once you have a general idea of these people, you can then proceed to effectively target them through your marketing efforts.

  1. Meet your Consumers Where they Live

Now that you’ve evaluated your target audience, you should have a better idea of where to reach them.  Which social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) do they use?  Which websites do they visit most often?  What phrases are they most likely to type into a search engine when exploring your industry?

Make sure your brand has as much visibility as possible.  Tailor your search engine optimization (SEO) to fit keywords that your potential consumers are using.  Your goal is to be one of the first search results consumers see on the web.  If your desired audience is using social media sites, be sure to post interesting content that grabs their attention and keeps them coming back for more.

  1. Set a Budget

All good plans have constraints of some sort.  Now that you know the best methods of reaching your audience, determine a budget for your online marketing plan.  How much money can be spent on website development/redesign, on social media management, on online advertisements?

  1. Make a Good First Impression

Consumers will judge your online appearance in a matter of seconds.  If your web presence isn’t readily appealing, people are likely to move on to a competitor’s site or social media page. It’s the Internet; there are numerous alternative choices for customers.  These tools should quickly communicate your brand’s purpose and identity.

  1. Offer Valuable Content that is Relevant and Desirable

Posting online content is easy.  Developing content that means something to your audience and provides value to their lives is something totally different.  This distinction is what will turn a casual viewer into an actual lead.

  1. Give Clear Direction and Provide Opportunities for Interaction

Don’t overcomplicate things.  The typical viewer doesn’t want to have to search for the next step.  He/she expects these steps to be clearly set before them.  Otherwise, the person may lose interest.  Use navigation tools like:

  • Subscribe to our email updates
  • Add to cart
  • Checkout
  • Download this eBook
  • Call now
  • Chat with a representative online

By providing a means of interaction with your brand, these buttons let viewers know that you care about their individual buying experience.

  1. Track and Monitor your Results

It’s important to keep track of your online marketing success.  Measurements will allow you to see which features and content work best.  Additionally, they’ll show areas with room for improvement.  HubSpot, for instance, is an inbound marketing software platform that provides reports and evaluations of your online marketing efforts.