Building an online marketing plan

This article contains tons of information about putting together an online marketing plan for your business.

What’s the big deal about online marketing?

It doesn’t matter what you do to promote your business if you don’t have an online presence. This article aims to help you build that online presence, focusing on the parts that can yield the best results.

  • 90%+ of people search online before making decisions, big and small
  • Search engines find content, categorize it, and connect people with what they need
  • To get found, you need online content that’s relevant and fresh
  • Some of the steps in building your online presence are “do-it-yourself” and some are “do-not-try-this-at-home” so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it

We cover the main building blocks in a complete marketing plan, and included links to more detailed information for each section so you can concentrate on the areas where you need most work.

building digital marketing plan

Building blocks of an online marketing strategy

  • Build a foundation of a robust website
  • Add the three pillars:
    • Search marketing
    • Email marketing
    • Web analytics
  • Cap it off with a social media strategy

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Building block: Your website

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Top 5 reasons your website is the foundation of your plan

  • 60% of prospects will visit your website
  • Search engines direct visitors to your site
  • First introduction might be online
  • Prospects use traditional websites
  • You control the information

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3 important things to consider

  • Usability – architecture, navigation, and analytics
  • Content – clear, simple, easy to contact you
  • Design – stand out but be appropriate, use only graphics that support your messaging

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6 main sections your site should have

  • Home page
  • Products or Services
  • About Us
  • Contact Us
  • Custom Information
  • Dynamic Content

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Building block: Search

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A search strategy is the first pillar of your plan

  • Create content that targets your customers’ needs
  • Use words customers search for, including negatives
  • Long-tail keywords improve results and target your audiences
  • Update content often
  • Create compelling, link-worthy content

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SEO: Getting links to your site

  • Link to your site from social networks
  • Comment on blogs and online communities
  • Add yourself to online directories
  • Use social bookmarking
  • Submit online press releases
  • Answer questions online
  • Ask for customer reviews
  • Ask for links from influencers

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SEO: Technical recommendations

  • Find keywords relevant to your business, include keywords in the page content, write naturally
  • Properly name pages,
    meta data, headlines,
    URLs, and links
  • Make clean, organized
    coding a priority
  • Give it time

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Building block: Email

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Number 2 on your hit parade

  • Email is the second pillar of your plan
  • Users overwhelmingly prefer email as a contact
  • Email keeps customers informed about new products and solutions, or industry news.
  • Email offers a great return on your investment

Email best practices

  • Build your list with customers, colleagues, people you meet, and online signups
  • Create a master calendar and send a combination of newsletters, promotions, announcements
  • Get results with well-designed, straightforward, compelling, brief emails
  • Use analytics, testing, and segmenting to target emails

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Other online marketing tactics to consider

  • Online ads – banner ads, PPC, sponsored content
  • Video and podcasts
  • Flash demos
  • SMS text advertising
  • Branded apps

Building block: Analysis

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Analysis is the third pillar of your plan

  • Set up tools to get the most accurate analytics
  • Web analytics
  • SEO analytics
  • Email analytics
  • Monitor your online presence, mentions, links, activity, competitors, industry
  • Test and refine

Use analytics to refine your site, SEO, and emails

  • Fine tune your website and SEO
  • Dashboard, Visitors Overview, Traffic Sources Overview, Keywords, Top Content
  • Improve your email campaigns
  • How many were sent, received, and bounced
  • How many people opened, clicked, forwarded, opted out, signed up
  • What was clicked
  • Compare to past campaigns
  • Test and refine

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Monitoring your online presence for free

  • Setup an RSS reader to watch keywords, companies, people, Twitter #hashtags, LinkedIn answers
  • Check LinkedIn and Facebook pages and groups
  • Search for terms on Addict-o-matic
  • Use to rank yourself
  • Use Tweetdeck for real time info
  • Respond to issues before they’re problems, find new customers, build your reputation

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Building block: Social Media

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Social media is the capstone of your plan

  • Social media enhances all of your other efforts.
  • Engaged customers are more likely to buy
  • Social media influences search results
  • Links drive traffic to your website
  • Conversations about you are already going on online

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Top social media tools

  • LinkedIn – Profiles, Companies, Groups, Answers
  • Facebook Profiles, Pages, Groups
  • Twitter Profiles, Companies
  • Blogs RSS reader
  • Local search – Google Places, Yahoo!, bing, getlisted. org
  • Review sites – Yelp, TripAdvisor, industry sites
  • Social bookmarking – StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit
  • Other – forums, wikis, industry or interest group websites, local websites, local organizations

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5 Quick steps to get online

  • Sign up for membership on targeted sites
  • Fill out the basic information (you can add more later)
  • Find groups of peers and/or customers
  • Listen and get a feel for discussion etiquette
  • Add value to conversations

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Maintaining your online brand

responsive website

Branding 101

  • Keep your design and content consistent
  • Maintain a unified design on your website, emails, social media sites, and presentations
  • Make sure you develop guidelines, image and copy assets, instructions,
    written strategy
  • Provide feedback on all marketing pieces anddon’t allow anything off-brand.

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Branding and messaging across multiple media

  • When you develop online sites, pages, and profiles, be sure to use consistent graphics and messaging.
  • Develop a set of images you can use for each platform that are optimized for each use
  • Develop a set of copy blocks you can use in a variety of lengths
  • Keep a list of sites to update when you make a change in messaging or imagery, when you launch a new product, or when you have news to share.
  • Keep things consistent everywhere!

View the presentation

“Building an Online Marketing Plan” is available as a Slideshare Presentation, with links (Slideshare)