This is not a tutorial on Internet Marketing or how to make money on the internet. Rather, this is a practical guide on how your small business should consider aligning a successful internet marketing strategy, including website and email marketing, with your small business marketing objectives.
First, if you haven’t done this already, identify what your small business’ internet marketing goals are. Is it e-commerce? Lead generation? Creating a communication channel with your users? Whatever it may be, define it, write it down and believe it.
Once your goals are established an effective internet marketing strategy can be crafted to turn those goals into reality.
Internet marketing is a broad term and can mean many things to many people. Let’s address some of the key elements and areas that Marketing Practicality can develop and execute a successful internet marketing strategy for your small business.
Once your marketing strategy is developed, your website becomes the primary tool for internet marketing. You should consider several elements when developing, reviewing or analyzing your website.
Is the content on your website aligned with your internet marketing strategy? If it isn’t change, add or modify your website’s content. Your website should provide content that your targeted user will find valuable.
Not only should your content be valuable, it should be well optimized for search engines. Creating a beautiful site with quality content does not generate revenue if no one can find it. You need search engine optimization.
Hire a qualified and trustworthy SEO to help you with this – or be prepared to spend a lot (and I mean a lot) of time going through the education and learning process.
Let’s not forget about the design and functionality of your website.
First and foremost, your website should be designed with your user in mind. It should be very clear what your website is about, your content should be valuable and your website’s navigation should be intuitive.
Also consider the language or languages your website is coded in. There are several ways to code web pages: PHP, ASP, and good old HTML being among some of the more common languages. Each language has certain advantages and disadvantages, you will want to consider. Think about scalability, whether or not you want to include dynamic content, if you plan to have a shopping cart or e-commerce site, what kind of web server you want to use (i.e. Windows or UNIX).
Technical details aside, make your website look as compelling as possible, add highly relevant, valuable, original content, and focus on making the user experience an exceptional one.
Once your website is designed well and your business’ goals are aligned with your small business internet marketing strategy, it’s time to start executing.
You’ll want to develop some sort of contact form or other method to collect visitors email addresses and information (i.e. opt-in). This can be a simple contact us form, a subscription to your newsletter, some sort of free offer or service in exchange for the email address, or part of the check-out process if you own an e-commerce site. Whatever your method, make sure you are capturing email addresses from your relevant visitors.
CRM Systems and other customer and prospect database solutions are an ideal way for small businesses to collect their website’s visitors’ information. If you are not ready for a CRM system, please make sure you are collecting the visitor information in an organized fashion. And put it in a file that is well structured and organized – because the day will come when you want to import that data into a CRM system. If your prospect and customer data is not organized now, it will create a major headache for you later.
Presuming you have your contact database well organized, including all of your opt-in email addresses, it is time to refine or formulate your Contact Management Strategy. This can be through online and traditional methods, such as phone and direct mail.
Think about why your prospective customers came to your site in the first place. How can you keep them engaged and compelled to come back to your site. Traditional tools include extending periodic sales and notifying your prospects of upcoming sales or discounts.
You may consider a regular newsletter for your prospects if it is aligned with your internet marketing strategy.
My recommendation is to develop a marketing process that includes multiple, valuable contacts with your prospects. Also consider a periodic survey to help identify which elements are effective (valuable to your prospects) and which elements are not performing or providing added value.
This is a broad topic in its own right. Email marketing is often intended to be promotional or informational, depending on your internet marketing strategy.
Determine the goal of the e-mail (increase revenue, generate website traffic, etc.) and develop your strategy around that goal, whether it’s promotional or informational.
For promotional email marketing, you’ll want to consider your list (who you are emailing), your content – the all important subject line, the body content, images, formatting, etc. and your offer. You should make these elements the best that you can and constantly test them.
For informational email marketing, such as newsletters, your goal is likely to increase traffic to your website and maintain an existing relationship with your customers.
Consider using an email marketing service, there are many available. Many email services will send out authenticated emails as well as provide reporting for your email campaigns, allowing you to track how many people opened your email, click throughs to your website and more. This will assist in tracking and measuring your email marketing metrics.
Admittedly, this topic is too broad to completely cover in a single page. For more detailed information on developing your small business internet marketing strategy, contact Marketing Practicality.
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