Create Your Own Internet Marketing Plan

Start your internet marketing planIf you have a small business that you are attempting to promote on line and are having trouble, it may be because you haven’t created an internet marketing plan.

 

Internet marketing, just like off-line marketing, is extremely complicated and is much more difficult than simply putting some keywords into the text on your site. An internet marketing plan consists of 8 basic steps: strategic planning, situation analysis, customer analysis, market and product focus, product positioning, pricing strategy, product distribution, and internet promotion.

 

 

Step Number 1: Strategic Planning…

 

When promoting your business online, you need to keep a vision of where you want your business to be in mind. Ask yourself the question, “what am I good at?” so you can discover how your business is different from the rest. This can help you to discover the advantages that you have over your competitors that can take you to where you want to be.

 

Step Number 2: Situation Analysis…

 

This is basically learning about the market that you’re in. This can be achieved though various studies such as SWOT analysis, conducting an industry analysis, and analysing your competition. One of the simplest (and least used) methods is to ask your target market. The more you know about the industry you are in, your potential customers and their habits, and how you can fulfil their needs, the better.

 

Step Number 3: Customer Analysis…

 

Simply put, this step involves learning about your customers. How you are going to effectively market to someone that you know nothing about? You need to know their likes, dislikes, hobbies, jobs, family life, etc if you’re going to market to them effectively (and, again, just asking can get you this invaluable information). In fact, many businesses invent personalities that act as the ideal customer and develop a plan of marketing to them.

 

Step Number 4: Market and Product focus…

 

This step involves segmenting your market and differentiating your company from your competitors. This is often referred to as the “Unique Selling Proposition” or “USP” of your business. However, don’t become so engrossed in your product that you forget your customers’ needs! Your USP should be customer focussed NOT product focussed.

 

Step Number 5: Product positioning…

 

When a person hears a company name, certain thoughts and pre-conceived ideas come to mind. When some-one hears your company’s name, what thoughts should come to mind? This is something you need to think about. You need to know how to position your business in your customer’s mind. If you haven’t learned about them yet, acquaint yourself with the 4 Ps of marketing (also known as the Marketing Mix): Product, Place, Promotion, and Price. Each of these can affect how your customer sees your business.

 

Step Number 6: Pricing Strategy…

 

You need to know how to effectively price your goods or services. A good way is to take a look at what the competition is charging. If you are new to the business, you may need to undercut their prices, but bear in mind that this may de-value your business in the eyes of your customer. This is where careful customer analysis comes into its own – in some cases it will pay you to increase your prices to maintain a “premium” USP.

 

Step number 7: Product Distribution…

 

This, actually, is the second P in the marketing mix – place or position. This is the physical location where your product or service is offered. And yes, if you have an internet business then your position is the internet.

 

Step Number 8: Internet Promotion…

 

This is how you are going to advertise your business. On the internet there are many different methods at your disposal; including newsletters, search engines, article marketing and pay per click advertising. Experiment with each of them and try to find what best suits your business – but don’t forget to utilise the information you’ve obtained form your customer analysis.

 

Hopefully, you can make use of this information to create your own internet marketing plan. If you’d like help producing your own marketing plan, the Chartered Institute of Marketing have a free tool available at: http://www.cim.co.uk/marketingplanningtool/

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