For many business owners, the internet is a wild and scary place where websites, search engine optimisation and other so called internet marketing techniques can quickly eat up time and money and offer little in return – it need not be like this.
The following roadmap will give you an idea of what can easily be achieved with a little planning and how to take advantage of the internet to cut your advertising costs and boost your business.
You need a plan
As a business owner or manager, you are likely an extremely busy person and yet you have goals for the sales and marketing of your business but equally, you have no time. That is no excuse for not establishing a clear set of goals and what you are willing to do to achieve your goals. You can take a leaf out of any traditional marketing book and devise a simple marketing plan.
Set clear and achievable goals
Not everyone in business wants to be the next Alan Sugar or Richard Branson and your goals may be different but whatever your reason for being in business – make sure you are clear about your goals as it will make achieving them all that much easier.
Normal rules all still apply
The normal rules of marketing still apply – we must focus on creating value for our customers, helping them solve problems and relentlessly push the benefits and not the features of what we are selling.
How much are you willing to spend to acquire a customer?
Deciding on a budget for your internet marketing campaign can be tough but we can take a lead from traditional marketing again and decide how much money we are willing to acquire a sale. If you are looking to make 100 sales of £100 a month, and you are willing to spend £10.00 to make that sale then your monthly budget is £1000.00. This may sound like a lot but when we have a clear goal that we are spending £10.00 per sale then it is much more easily measured and justified.
The internet provides many ways for us to truly reach out and communicate with our prospects. We no longer are simply providing a brochure, mailshot or some other flat form of communication – we can now get feedback from our prospects and you can start building relationships with them and establishing your credibility long before the first sale. Many people turn to the internet to solve problems, if you can show them the answers to the their problems and if that answer happens to be your product or service, then you are well on the way.
Get good help
There is much you can and should do to market yourself online and then there are many aspects, the actual execution that you will need help with so ensure that you get good help. You don’t need a PHD to declare yourself a website and internet marketing expert so there are a good many bedroom boffins out there – check other work they have done and ensure this person or company can do all that they claim.
You need to be committed
If you are not committed to marketing your business online then simply put, don’t waste your time or money. Your marketing plan will start slow, you will find things that work, and repetition of your message will slowly but surely start to seep into the minds of your prospects. Seriously, commitment is key, and even traditional marketing can take up to six months before you see big results, once you factor in search engine optimisation and the time it can take to get established in the search engine result pages and you have to be patient.
Test, Test, Test
Testing is important with all marketing, how the hell do you know something is working without testing it? The great thing about internet marketing is that there are lots of really great ways to test what you are doing. Google Analytics allows you to measure and track every aspect of your internet marketing and best of all, it’s 100% free!
In a nutshell
What’s different about marketing online? Well, not a lot, sure, the execution is different but really, the basics are the same: create a plan, commit to it, measure the results, test and refine. Over the next few weeks we will look at some internet marketing techniques and how to develop your online marketing plan.
If you have any questions, need help building a plan or just want to fire over some questions, give me a shout.