If you’ve made it to the Online Marketing Strategy section of our Ultimate Marketing Plan Template, then you already understand the value in creating a solid marketing plan. A solid marketing plan will help you to work out exactly which steps you should be taking, and when to take them, to move your product forward and generate interest and sales.
It is a valuable document to give to potential investors too because it helps them make better judgements about your product and your abilities to carry it forward.
In Part 8 of the series, you learned about promotional strategies. In Part 9, you’ll learn about Online Marketing Strategies.
What Is An Online Marketing Strategy?
As I am sure you understand, your online marketing strategy outlines how you will promote your product on the internet.
The internet is an excellent resource for your business because it provides you with the potential to reach huge numbers of people. On the other hand, there are so many businesses promoting their products online that it can be difficult to get your product noticed above the noise.
Your online marketing strategy is the part of your plan that looks at how you can create a strong online presence that gets your products noticed by the right people at the right time and that presents your product in the best possible light.
So, just to reiterate, you must consider two things when thinking about your online marketing strategy:
- 1. How you will reach your customers (new and existing)
2. How you can manage your brand’s reputation
Putting the Foundations in Place for Your Online Marketing Strategies
Getting your online marketing strategy right means implementing good practice from the very beginning. Your foundations must be solid if you want to build an online business.
Choose Your Platforms
Your platforms are the places online where you decide to create a presence, examples include websites, blogging platforms, social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Reddit), YouTube, etc.
When choosing your platform you need to think about your target audience and where they hang out online.
For example, if your product is visually oriented (e.g., you sell art or fashion), then it makes sense to have an account on the visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. Alternatively, if you’re creating tabletop games, a YouTube channel showing people playing those games is a good choice – you could also benefit from visual platforms too.
Here, you need to research the different options out there and decide if they’re compatible with your product and audience.
Good Web Design
Your website is your online representative. It needs to give your customers what they want and need. This requires responsive web design.
Responsive web design means that your website will respond intuitively to the person accessing the site. E.g., if they’re accessing the site using their mobile they will see a simplified version of the full desktop site. This also highlights the importance of the “Target Audience” section of this plan.
In knowing your customers, you’ll be able to establish the best practices for your responsive website. E.g., if you’re customers are other businesses, they’re more likely to be accessing the site on a desktop computer, so you know that you need to dedicate more time there than on the mobile site.
Responsive web design has many advantages. For your business, it means lower bounce rates (without going into too much detail, Google prefers sites with a low bounce rate and will, therefore, rank your website higher if it has a low bounce rate) and higher conversions.
In other words, if you create a responsive website, the visitors to your site will stay longer and be more likely to buy your product.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a set of techniques and strategies that increase the number of visitors (known as “traffic” in digital marketing lingo) to the site by obtaining a high rank in the search results of a search engine (e.g., Google, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo).
This means spending time researching keywords to find those that are most relevant to your product that is also popular.
Create Effective Copy
The words you use will help you to sell your products. You need to keep the rules of good copy in mind whenever you write something for your business, whether it’s a social media post, blog, email, or something else, copy is king.
Many many resources can help you to improve your copy, so we are not going to cover this in detail, but here are a few tips:
Solve a problem
People buy products when they think it solves a problem for them. This problem could be anything from boredom (e.g., solved by playing your games) to poor quality sleep (e.g., solved by a comfy bed). You must frame all your copy in such a way that it offers your customers a solution to their problem. EVERY, SINGLE, TIME.
Remember: “People buy a good night’s sleep. They don’t buy a bed”.
Match the Language to the Customer
Another reason why it’s so important that you understand your customers. You need to understand them to know what sort of voice to use.
Check out our blogs on “Tone of Voice” for some real-world examples of how this works.
Keep It Simple
People don’t like to read walls of text online. They want to see the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Keep sentences short and avoid unnecessary words.
A good guide to help you get your writing on point is Strunk and White, “The Elements of Style“. This will help you with the flow of words, but for help with the actual content and message, you need to learn from the copywriting greats. Two of the best known are Joseph Sugarman and David Ogilvy.
Techniques & Methods for Your Online Marketing Strategy
There are plenty of techniques and methods that you can employ in your online marketing strategy. Let’s look at some of the popular choices and the reasons why people use them.
With the huge improvements in video technology and its availability to anyone with a half-decent smartphone, it’s no surprise that video is a popular choice for content creators.
Why is it such a good choice? Here are two stats that every business ownwer should care about:
- People are more likely to watch a short video (note the word short!)than read an equivalent text.
- People are more likely to remember a call to action after watching a video than reading text.
You can create a single video at a time and upload it across your online network, i.e., your website and social media channels – you could even post to affiliated websites if you develop good relationships with businesses in a relevant niche.
Email marketing is a good choice when done properly. There are a few rules, though:
- Never send emails without consent
- Don’t send too many emails because people will unsubscribe
- Keep emails relevant to the person. This might mean having separate email lists for customer types and separate offers.
- Site pop-ups are a good way to get people to subscribe to your list, but you must be careful that the pop-up is offering them something worthwhile (e.g. a free sample, a free download) or they will bounce. Make the pop-up as unintrusive as possible by ensuring that it doesn’t obscure what the person is already reading. Otherwise, they’ll leave the site.
Regular blogs to your website are a great way to keep people engaged in the site and to optimise for more keywords (see the link under “Search Engine Optimisation” above). You can also post them across your network and repurpose them to create new content.
Customer Reviews & Testimonials
Finally, one thing that many marketers overlook is third-party review sites (and some overlook reviews on their sites and platforms!). However, if you want to succeed, you need to look after your customers and this means engaging them where possible. Review sections are a great place to do this because you can showcase your customer service skills. Read the “Great Customer Services” section in Part 9 of this series to understand why it’s so important.
Your online marketing strategy is the set of techniques and methods you will use to reach your customers online. It’s about connecting with people in the right places at the right time whilst managing your brand’s reputation.
A good online marketing strategy looks encompasses a broad spectrum, from responsive design and a solid website to relevant social media platforms.
You need to understand your customers and understand copywriting so that you can engage them well (and this includes audio and visual content, too. The principles of copywriting are transferable).
It involves researching different content methods and matching these to your customer base – the vast majority of you will use multiple content types, including blogs, video, and images.