Yesterday, I wrote about the “why” of an online marketing plan and started with Step 1. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s the remaining three steps in a concrete plan to achieve the objective:
Write down all of the outlets you’ll need to target with your marketing efforts. It will help to organize these sites into categories for example ‘banner adverts’ or ‘social media.’ You could also assign rough time estimates at this stage – if you know for example that social media is likely to be more prosperous than banners, you may want to assign 30% of your time to updating social media sites and only 5% to dealing with banner adverts.
When mapping out the sites you plan to use, you can also note down strategies and ideas as they come to you. Keep these in bullet form if necessary but jot down any initiatives you want to consider further. Next to PPC advertising for example, you may note down Google and MSN and then consider multimedia ads with Google such as image or vide. Scribbling these thoughts down will help you to create a ‘to do’ list of sorts to enable you to organize time and other resources.
Having decided the sites you want to tackle and how you plan on approaching them – either with PPC, article marketing, social media etc. – you can now assign a budget to each activity. Some of these budgets can be financial and others time-based, allowing you to decide if you need to outsource any of the work, how much of your day/week will be taken up with marketing-related tasks and how much you need to set aside for ad spend or banner spots.
If at the end of this step you find that you’re lacking in either time or money, simply reorganize your target list into a priority list and assign time and money where you think they would be best spent. Don’t delete or remove any activities or targets, simply put them onto an overflow or later list – you can always revisit them when revenue is generated from the priority activities. If you get a good rate of return on your first PPC campaign for example, that may pay for an extra banner spot or support the cost of a professional video shoot for multimedia website content.
Consider how you will monitor the effectiveness of your marketing. Can you get the information you need from Google Analytics for example? Or do you need to create a new type of sales ledger? Can you add another field to your website form asking where the client heard about you to monitor effectiveness?
Making sure you have measures in place to monitor your marketing results is essential as only then can you make an informed decision whether to continue or halt certain activities. If you haven’t allowed yourself time to become familiar with analytics or need a refresher course on Google AdWords reporting, do so before actioning any of the other items in the marketing list.
You may also want to go back through the activities and target list you created in step two and note down an ideal, tangible return. This could be something simple such as each article from your article marketing list generates 10 relevant back links or, you reach 100 Twitter followers in three months.
Although an online marketing plan may seem like a huge undertaking, if you follow these basic steps in the beginning, you’ll find it much easier to organize and complete the task. Planning ahead makes good sense and almost always serves as a major building block in online success.