3 Steps to working out a plan …
Improvements are easiest to plan out by first comparing where the online business is now, to where it should be. Then you can look at how to move the business from one to the other ( there are links to flowcharts and tools you can download further down this post ).
- Get an idea of what the ideal situation would be.
- Look at the current existing situation.
- Work out the easiest way to move from where it is now to the more desirable situation. Step 3 is where you would look into implementation and the apps and resources that are available to make it all work.
Step (1) How to know what the ideal situation is ?
The ideal situation will be different for every business, and will be based on the goals of the business owners and managers.
It’s a good guess that most goals include some expansion and a stable and increasing income ( as income should most often be one the final statistics measuring success ).
With any common activity that’s in a particular area of interest or niche, there are things that have been found to work best.
These are called Best Practices.
In internet marketing there are best practices that have been worked out after lots of trial-and-error on the part of lots of internet marketers and based on measuring the success of different things.
A starting point for your ideal situation …
It saves a lot of time and effort to start off any internet marketing planning by copying the best practices of others. Then see how you go afterwards and tailor things to improve.
The basics and best practices of marketing haven’t changed all that much with the internet. That’s because marketing is still about communicating and the rules of effective communication have stayed the same.
But best practices of using the internet as the communication medium have developed as well. These have resulted from …
- Speed. Instead of waiting weeks for letters to be delivered and to measure the response, it can be done in hours.
- Access. You can access people, and particular groups of people almost instantly. You can access information almost instantly – what people are interested in, what they are looking at and doing and how your promotion performed.
So FIRST, there are steps that need to be done – in sequence – for any marketing to work – both online and offline. Based on the best practices of lots of online marketers and what I’ve found myself, these are laid out in the Online Business Flowchart.
You can download it here and it shows what the steps are and how they fit together.
Then, the ideal situation would probably include the following points as well …
- Promotion placed in front of new people to drive them to an online offer ( adds can be on Facebook, Linked In, the Google Content Network and Media buys on stand-alone websites and physical fliers ).
- New people who click an taken to a specific pages with the offer or info.
- An increasing list of contacts ( email addresses or phone numbers ) – people interested in the businesses services.
- The lists segmented into smaller lists based on specific interest and type of public.
- Current customers and clients visiting the website to find out what’s on, and possibly get materials.
- The main website being kept current weekly with information about what’s on and happening.
- Information about website visitors & their actions on the website collected & looked at so that the value of different pages and ads can be judged (Google Analytics etc).
- The website includes a page dedicated to each of the main services.
- External factors handled ( SEO ) to help these pages appear in search results.
- The ability to RAPIDLY run and change-out offers on the website.
*** The priority is a flow of new public to the website, leaving their contact details so that they can be followed up. ***
Step (2) Look over your current situation.
First it’s a good idea to check if your products are on-the-mark at RIGHT NOW !
Then next, it’s good to note if the following things are in place ( I find that a lot of businesses are missing on all these points ).
- The current system doesn’t allow you to (1) rapidly set up offers (2) send people to the offers from ads (3) collect email addresses (4) send out further promotional emails.
- There’s no person being “internet marketer” for the business and controlling the online things ( even if they are delegating the actual work to others ).
- The website hasn’t been created or set up to follow current best marketing practices.
- The website loads SLOWLY which causes some of your prospects to leave.
- No management-by-statistics of visitors to the website !!!! ( Google Analytics etc ).
Also check your website and business against the Website Debug Checklist and the Online Marketing Debug Checklist. you should be able to locate both of them somewhere on this website !
Step (3) Move from the current to more ideal situation.
Any work-out should include a few things …
- Finding out about your customers and prospects
– The things they like & are interested in so you can use that info in the marketing.
– What websites they visit that your ads can be run on.
– Their search intention on Google.
– If they’re concentrated in any geographic regions ( so promotion can be sent there ).
– Demographics like age, education.
( Grab this online research PDF and it will run you through that in about half an hour. )
- Flowchart out the online marketing strategy, including how your offline mailing & promotion ties in & work out how to implement it. You can download a top-level flowchart & plan from here, and this post shows you free tools to quickly draw up a custom business plan.
- Estimate the costs and the return / money that could be made by doing each thing. I mostly advise people to get something basic running and make money from that before investing in any major website upgrade.
Get your internet marketing planning done EARLY ! An early start sets up the year for a good income.