Building an online marketing strategy

The building blocks of an online marketing strategy include a website, search marketing, email marketing, web analytics, and a social media strategy.

I attended the Online Marketing Summit yesterday in San Francisco, and there were some outstanding presentations. There are a couple more stops on the tour, and I’d highly recommend attending the summit if you are interested in keeping up with the very latest information about online marketing, hearing some great speakers, and meeting some bright marketers.

The keynote by Aaron Kahlow was a great introduction to the building blocks of an online marketing strategy. He advises that a company begin by building a foundation of a robust website; add the three pillars of search marketing, email marketing, and web analytics; and cap it off with a social media strategy.

website search email analysis social media plan

Your website is the foundation of your online marketing strategy. More than 60% of people go to a company’s website before contacting the company. Your site should be the epicenter of your marketing, with valuable content, and it should be allocated the largest part of your marketing budget. You can think of the website as your company’s lobby and budget for developing the website like you would a capital expenditure.

The first pillar to build is a search strategy. More than 90% of all purchasing decisions today start with online searches. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) provides the greatest impact on where you appear in search results, so you should start with creating keyword-rich content for your site. Adding pay-per-click advertising multiplies the business you’ll get from search, so it should be the next part of your strategy that you implement.

Email marketing is the second pillar, and it should be part of every marketing campaign you launch. Users overwhelmingly prefer email to other means of contact, and well-designed email can be the best way to keep customers informed about new products and solutions, or industry news.

The third pillar of your marketing strategy is analysis of what is working and what is not working with your strategies. You should test and refine every part of your website, search strategy, and email marketing to determine the best way to convert your target audiences into customers.

Social media is the final building block of your marketing strategy. Use social media to enhance all of your other efforts. Users who engage with your company online are more likely to buy, so you should provide them a means to do so through participation in social networks, blogs, and video.

A well-built marketing strategy with a balance of all these elements will stand the test of time.