Let’s talk Internet Marketing Plans.

If you don’t have one, you really should get one. There is just no escaping it in today’s digital age.
Image Courtesy of Moz.com

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Even strictly brick-and-mortar stores can benefit from maintaining an online presence. But simply throwing up a website or starting a Facebook page won’t get those clicks rolling in.

Successful internet marketing begins with a clear and detailed strategy.

Of course, you could just pay a person or company to create an internet marketing plan for you. (Hello shameless plug for Houston Web Design Agency).

**Sidenote: hiring a digital marketing pro is more affordable than you would think.

But whether you are the DIY sort or you hire someone to do the digital dirty work, it is still essential that you have a basic understanding of what a good internet marketing plan entails.

You don’t have to be an expert, but you do need to know enough to know what to expect and what makes for high-quality work.

So we’ve put together this guide outlining what goes into a basic internet marketing plan.

But before we begin, know this:

There is no 100% guaranteed, one-size-fits-all sure-fire template for assured internet marketing success.

Every business is different, every market is different, every target audience is–you guessed it–different.

An internet marketing plan in intended to provide you with a framework or roadmap to achieve your goals. But how you get to the destination/finish line is on you.

Step 1

Know Thy Customers

Knowing your customers and would-be customers (aka your target market) is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of any marketing plan.

Before you do anything else, you need to invest real time and effort getting to know your customer base inside and out. You need to know them as well as you know your own product or business.

And we don’t just mean demographic details like age range, income, education, location, etc. (although you do definitely want that information).

You want to understand what DRIVES your customers.

What are their values? What do they care about? What products do they use? How do they find those products? What pushes them from simply considering a purchase to actually handing over their dollars?

You are the detective and you are looking to understand everything about your target market, from their needs and values to their personalities and interests.

“Marketing is very much like public speaking… Even though you are speaking to a big group, you need to figure out the best way to connect with your viewers on an individual level.

That means understanding who is in your audience as well as what brought them there.”

–Neil Patel @ Quicksprout

The easiest place to start is with your existing customers.

Gather as much behavioral, psychological and demographic information about them as you possibly can. Ask them as many questions as they will tolerate. Try to have a real conversation with them, one where you listen more than talk. Don’t make any assumptions and do your best to truly understand who they are and why they make the purchasing decisions they do.

Step 2

Know Thyself

If you’ve done a good job with step one, chances are you’ll find yourself in a very different place than you might have expected.

Maybe your customers are choosing (or not choosing) your business for a very different reason than you thought. Maybe they value a product or aspect of your business you didn’t expect. Maybe you found they have a pressing need you haven’t been filling.

But before you begin strategizing how to fill those newly discovered needs, you have to make sure you also understand YOUR needs.

Marketing is what unites the goals of a business with the needs of consumers.

So this is where you take a hard look at what you are trying to achieve. After all, you have to know where you want to go before you can figure out how to get there.

What are your specific goals for this marketing endeavor?

Drive traffic to your website?
Get people on your email/newsletter list?
Turn web traffic into foot traffic?
Boost online sales?
Enhance customer engagement?
Obtain more sales leads?

The goal you choose will play a major role in determining your strategy.

And as with any form of goal setting, make sure you set real, MEASURABLE targets for yourself that will translate into real, measurable ROI for your business.

Step 3

Build your Strategy

We wish we could lay out a plug-n-play strategy template for you here. But hopefully by now you understand why we can’t. An internet marketing strategy needs to be completely individualized for your business, your goals, and your consumers.

We can give you this fun graphic illustrating all the different types of online marketing channels, courtesy of Unbounce.

Noob Guide to Online Marketing by Unbounce

For those who aren’t as visually inclined, here’s a simple list.

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Pay-per-click
  • Affiliate Marketing

An internet marketing strategy may include any of these channels, in any combination. But in the interest of preventing this post from dragging on forever and ever, we are just going to touch on what we consider to be the foundation upon which all other online marketing avenues rely: SEO.
Search Engine Optimization

According to Moz, SEO is “a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines.”

In the simplest terms, SEO is what helps your website get found amongst the millions of website out there in internet land.

Since most web traffic comes from organic search, you want your site to rank high in those search results. To do that, it needs to have:

  • Relevant keywords
  • Valuable content that is getting shared
  • Both images & content
  • Fast load times and good functionality
  • Backlinks from other high quality/respected websites

Google Search Engine Ranking Factors

We’ll be the first to admit, this is a very simplistic overview of what goes into good SEO. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes.

In fact, there’s so much that goes into SEO that it’s what we specialize in here at Houston Web Design Agency. We suggest reading more here or here, or giving us a call. We can talk SEO ’til the cows come home!

Step 4

Strategy Execution and Maintenance

Whether you’ve decided to launch an email campaign, dive into Google Adwords or become a king of Instagram, all the research, planning and strategizing eventually has to culminate in action.

The nice thing about online marketing today is that you can test and evaluate literally every tactic you try.
Thanks to today’s data tracking capabilities, you can see exactly who clicks when, where they are, and how they found you in the first place. You can see how many people you are reaching, and what they might be saying about your business or product.

And most importantly, you will know whether or not that activity is translating into actual dollars.
We also should mention: online marketing is not a one-and-done thing.

Sure there are things that can be automated and building brand cred can generate serious momentum. But marketing is an ongoing process with no definite endpoint. Your strategy needs to be regularly evaluated and tweaked, your goals reassessed and reworked.

The Final Phase

Who you gonna call…

If you are new to the internet or marketing or both, this may all seem overwhelming. We get it. The world wide web is virtually infinite and constantly changing.

Staking claim to your small corner of it take research, patience and adaptability.

Hopefully the info here has given you a starting point. If you are hungry for more, there is a TON of high quality info out there that really digs deep into the ins and outs of internet marketing (our blog is a good place to start!).

If you would rather leave this sort of thing to the professionals then definitely get in touch with us here at Houston Web Design Agency. From SEO to responsive web design to comprehensive online marketing, we have you covered. Just fill out our contact form or call us at 281-764-9070, anytime!