Online Marketing Agency

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There is often some overlap between online marketing agencies and other marketing agencies, but looking through websites which rank for “online marketing agency”, the emphasis seems to be on promoting websites rather than building them.  On the other hand, digital marketing agencies work it the other way and prefer website design and build to promotion.  There are many ways of promoting websites  and many customers will not be aware of all the techniques; some of them contravene the terms and conditions of search engines or social media sites and should therefore be avoided.  In due course, your site may be de-indexed and in some cases Facebook are now suing individuals who have flagrantly abused the site.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The technique most customers do know of is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and although many regard Google as the only game in town, Bing and Yahoo are very similar and YouTube is searched more than both of them.   SEO is about choosing keywords, which searchers use to find sites like yours and then doing everything you can to make your site the highest ranked on the search engines

It is getting harder to manipulate the search engine ranking of your websites but the most important thing is to publish interesting stuff, add a relevant picture or video.  On your own site, you can do a number of things:

  • structure the pages so that search engines can determine the topic of the website
  • optimise each page by ensuring the keyword appears in key places
  • use internal site links to show search engines the topic of the page

Recent search engine algorithm changes give more emphasis to social signals (which are harder to generate automatically).  Backlinks remain important (they can’t change the search engines completely overnight), but the search engines are getting better at detecting automatic link building (not allowed) and will de-index the worst offenders.  An online marketing agency will have skills in this area and may even have certificates to prove it !

Paid Traffic – PPC

Online advertising is also a well-known service offered by online marketing agencies.  The most often used is Google AdWords which places small ads next to the search engine results for your chosen keyword, if you have bid more than others who wish to advertise for the same term.  Google will also place similar ads on relevant websites and gmail using the Display Network.  Yahoo and Bing have similar services.   Online advertising is also known as Pay Per Click or PPC.   You can quickly spend a lot of money if you do not manage your campaigns carefully and having an agency working full time on your account will prevent this.  They will quickly turn off advertising for search terms that don’t convert and they know how to test keywords before scaling up campaigns

Facebook Ad’s

The search engines aren’t the only places you can advertise. Whereas you target a keyword on the search engines, you can target a demographic profile on Facebook, and Facebook has lots of tools to help you set up a profile that will respond to your ads.   Facebook Ads tend to convert at a lower rate, because Facebook users are there for fun, not shopping.   Managing the ads performance is similar – test an ad, before scaling up.

Media Buying

For more specialised advertising, there is Media Buying.  Many sites sell advertising space through media buying agencies and you can choose on which sites your ads will appear. Again you can spend a lot of money quickly, but once you match the right sites and ads, traffic is practically unlimited, except in very small niches.

Conversion Optimisation

Another service that online advertising agencies offer is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO).  This is about increasing the number of visitors who respond to your calls to action, whether it is opting in to your email list, downloading a PDF file or buying something.

Tracking and Analytics

Each of these techniques demands the use of suitable Analytics which track every visitor, page view and click, where it came from, and how often they are converting.  Getting this right is probably the key to successful paid traffic generation.

Social Media

Social media can also be used to generate traffic to your site and build relationships with potential customers.  Customers (of agencies) need to be involved in this if it is supposed to reflect the personality of the business.  B2B businesses will normally operate on LinkedIn or Google+ with B2C businesses using Facebook

Online marketing agencies hearts tend to lie in the traffic generation and conversion rather than the design and programming of website design (favoured by digital marketing agency)

Digital Marketing Agency

Digital Marketing agencies vary in their range of services – some restrict themselves to website design and build while others also include online advertising, search engine optimisation (SEO) and conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and just a few deal with content marketing.

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In writing this page, I have found it interesting comparing the websites that I have found searching for the three terms “b2B marketing agency”, “online marketing agency” and “digital marketing agency”.  While the sites of B2B marketing agencies are based in marketing and business, the websites of digital and online marketing agencies are based on technology. Perhaps that is not so surprising, but I have found that digital marketing agencies give more prominence to website design while online marketing agencies emphasise their online advertising and search engine optimisation services.  Naturally there is quite a lot of overlap, but it goes to show that the intention of buyers is reflected in the search terms they use.

Let’s talk a bit about website design.  A website design should go through several stages although the customer may not see all of them:

Information Gathering Project Planning

Design

Listening to and learning about the customer and his needs

  • Purpose
  • Goals
  • Audience
  • Content
  • Competition
  • Planning Brief
Defining site requirements, timescales and business case

  • Pages
  • Page Structure
  • Purpose of each page
  • Estimates
  • Site Map
Translating Requirements into a Specification

  • User Interface Design
  • Branding / look and feel
  • Extra functions
  • Website Spec’f’n

Development

Testing & Go Live

Maintenance

Implementing specification in chosen platform

  • Choice of Website platform
  • Security
  • Building on a development domain
  • Development website
Test delivered website against requirements and transfer to live domain

  • Functional testing
  • Mobile testing
  • Legal checks
  • Standards  compliance
  • Live Website
Keeping the website working well and securely

  • Backups
  • Software updates
  • Performance optimisation
  • Comment Spam

Especially if the Digital Marketing Agency is building a large website, these stages reduce the risk of building the website that you want.  In bold, the stage product is picked out.  The better these intermediate products are, the better the website will suit your business

If the ‘digital marketing agency’ essentially delivers websites to client’s stated requirements, then you will need to work harder on two areas:

  • Linking your marketing strategy and plans to the website design
  • Ensuring that you think of all your requirements  – do some research on the Internet where generic requirements are available

Many website designers don’t like doing the kind of the work needed in the Maintenance stage and so will invite you to find a maintenance partner.  This may suit larger organisations, but a small organisation should not underestimate how much work is involved in maintaining a website.

Many digital marketing agencies also do the paid traffic and search engine optimisation, but their heart lies in website development and you may achieve better results using another partner.

B2B Marketing Agency

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How is B2B different to B2C ?

For all kinds of reasons, B2B marketing is different to B2C and therefore the B2B marketing agency takes a different approach to the market place.   The key differences are:

  • Every B2B market is a niche with relatively few customers.  You must know the industry jargon and understand your customers’ businesses
  • Business is buying a relationship as well as a product – any resulting contract may last years, so the sales lifecycle is also longer
  • B2B customers want to be educated and consume masses of information before they even contact your business – so your business and marketing information must be out there and easy to find.
  • The procurement process (not the purchasing) is set up to remove risk, to cover all angles and to prevent corruption
  • Consensual decision making  and risk aversion now requires you to convince almost every individual customer in a company that your business  / product is the right choice

This means that the B2B marketing agency will also work rather differently with their client.  Building longer term relationships in smaller markets means that some techniques become less important and some just don’t work very well.  For example, while Facebook users love pictures of cats and captions contests, has anyone tried sending pictures of kittens around LinkedIn ?

Especially for a small organisation, it can be hard to gain entry to a large organisation.  Networking can work but takes time; making use of all contacts is effective and any networking groups with customers in them are worth getting involved with.  However, procurement behaviour has changed – large buying organisations do their research online and have practically made up their corporate mind before they go public with their procurement intentions.  It is then very difficult for a small organisation to shape the procurement or coach their customers.  Increasingly therefore, B2B marketing is going online.    There is still a place for trade fairs, exhibitions and conferences in B2B marketing as they can help you find you customers in one place and allow them to see you amongst them.  Attending a conference as a speaker gives you and your organisation Authority.  Some B2B Marketing Agencies can help you to find the right events to attend.

Given that the sales lifecycle is longer, your website need not be as carefully optimised as a B2C site and Paid Traffic is unlikely to give a return on investment.  SEO is worthwhile as buyers in the early stages will look at the high ranking websites, but if your product is new technology, then there may be very few searches for your keyword.  For these reasons, a strategy combining social media with content marketing is currently the approach which is most likely to generate leads at the right stage in the sales cycle.

Thought Leadership

As well as using different social media, B2B marketers can and should address those with a longer attention span, by using:

  • Content Marketing
  • Video Marketing

With content marketing you can start to influence how your customer thinks about the problem, positioning your business to win the contract.  But your business needs to have a content marketing strategy and a content marketing plan which will include:

  • Your business (not content) objectives
  • Your brand positioning
  • A description of your target audience
  • A summary of the story you are telling
  • How your content marketing  will work with channels to market
  • The process for creating and publishing content
  • The content media
  • Measuring success

Like some online marketing agencies, your B2B marketing agency will be able to help you with a content marketing strategy and plan and may be able to draft some content for you.  It is usually better to create content internally as it then rings more truly.

B2B marketing videos need to be produced to a high standard – a small business may not have the skills and equipment to do this.  Some B2B marketing agencies can provide this capability, while others will use video production partners.  Video is easier to promote because fewer videos are published than page; it is also likely to be more convincing to your customers who want to find the Authority in the marketplace and to build a relationship of Trust with that company.  Given that most communication is non-verbal, video shows your faces and voices and so customers can engage more easily than with White Papers or Powerpoint PDF files.  A B2B marketing agency will help you plan your business’s video campaign and produce or project manage the production of videos and their promotion.

Relationship building

AS well putting innovative ideas into the mix, you need to build relationships with customers;  Without meeting in person, there are several ways you can do this.

  • Webinar Marketing
  • Podcasting
  • Email marketing

Webinars are a great weapon in the B2B armoury.  They are the next best thing to a face-to-face meeting, but easier to arrange – after all no-one has to travel.  Nevertheless, customers have to make a space in their schedule and sign up.  They see you as An Authority, before you even start and after an hour or so they should understand your company and its products and services.  Perhaps they are also beginning to think of you as The Authority and worthy of Trust by the end of the Webinar.  However webinars aren’t quite the same as an offline seminar.  (It is less embarrassing to turn off your webinar than walk out of a meeting).  And the follow-up needs to carefully integrated with your email marketing.   Your B2B marketing agency will develop a Webinar Strategy and Plan and can also help you with technology platform choices, promoting your webinars and facilitating the webinars themselves

As available data capacity increases / becomes cheaper, more people are subscribing to Podcasts which they listen to whilst in traffic or waiting for a train.  Relatively few businesses publish a podcast so it is still relatively easy to get high visibility.

Email marketing is best used in highly segmented way – using different lists for people in various roles, sizes of organisation and stages of engagement.  Although a B2B marketing agency can help with email marketing and segmentation, this is one task that a customer needs to take a hands on interest in.

Like their B2C marketing agency cousins, B2B Marketing Agencies can take on many of your lead generation tasks.   Small businesses don’t often have a huge budget for marketing, but spending money on this specialist area is worthwhile if carefully controlled and measured.  Your agency must bring you leads that will eventually buy from you and not create lots of interest in the wrong place.

Brand Positioning

Some small businesses say that they don’t need brand positioning – we say, you need it more than big businesses who have practically unlimited resources to achieve it and your customers will position your brand whether you like it or not and they may position you somewhere you’d rather not be !

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Brand positioning is about differentiation – making your product especially attractive to a particular market segment.  Positioning is relative to competitors.  Differentiation isn’t the same as different –it means different in a good way or relevant way.  The implication of brand positioning is that there are customers whom you do not set out to attract /sell to (you don’t send them away, you just don’t let them dilute your positioning)

Often markets split up by two factors – it may be price and novelty or it may be B2B v B2C and Price/Luxury

Positioning Examples

Think of the global travel industry:

Some companies specialise in business travel:  Hyatt, Marriott Hotels are good examples; others are set up for tourists  – Holiday Inn.  If you look at the Accor Group, it has hotel brands at several levels – Sofitel, Pullman, Mercure and Ibis; each of these groups is designed to attract different groups of guests.

Similarly, airlines have different positioning – EasyJet and South West Airlines aim for discount, no-frills travellers and short haul /regional routes, whilst British Airways and Emirates consider themselves to be luxury class and perhaps also prefer the long haul traveller.  Having got the big differences in positioning out of the way, each company only has to compete with those who have chosen a similar positioning.

For local businesses, geography is bound to be one of the positioning dimensions.  Taking global or national companies head on isn’t a recipe for success.  However focusing on the location and your relationship with local customers can be effective and it is quite possible to establish your business as “Oxford’s finest pen shop” ?  Unless people are visiting London or New York anyway, they are likely to buy proper fountain pens at only one shop in Oxford (ball point and gel pens don’t really make it as graduation gifts!).  If your business is in a large city, then you can claim “West London’s cheapest locksmith or even “Westminster’s best fish restaurant” and eliminate most of the competition in your customers’ minds.

Search engines are the same – when your website is initially indexed, the search engine has to decide what it is about.  This is why choosing keywords which are (and the search engines view as) relevant and close in meaning.  This is the online equivalent of positioning.  Once the search engine regards you as a <business type> in <location>, then you only have to out rank the other businesses of that type in that location.  This means your search engine optimisation task becomes much easier.

Of course, the downside of choosing a small location is that searches for the same business type in neighbouring locations are less likely to find your business.  The next town may only be a few miles away and a customer might be more than willing to go a few miles out of their way to buy something.  For this reason, it may be better to cast your net a bit wider even if achieving the ranking takes longer.

To outrank other local businesses, you may still have to think about other positioning dimensions which will put you in a unique place in customers’ minds as well search engine indexes.

How to position your small business

EITHER With some colleagues, brainstorm:

  •  how you wish various parties to see you (investors, employees and suppliers as well as customers)
  • Create an honest assessment of your “unique value proposition” – (is it unique ? of value?, etc)
  • List the positions you wish to avoid  ( eg burger restaurant not fast food)
  • Think about your competition’s positioning

Then when you’ve processed the results, develop your positioning statement and the related messages.  A positioning statement looks like this :

We are the only <type of business> that <meets a customer’s need> <in this unique way>

The customer’s need should be unmet currently and the unique way is your differentiation

Ask employees and then customers whether this positioning statement flies.

OR invite some customers for couple of hours, and:

  1. Ask your customers to name the top 10 brands in your category (don’t force them to name you)
  2. Ask them to rank those brands
  3. Ask your customers to list the most relevant factors in the category
  4. Ask the customers to rank each brand against each factor

With your colleagues, evaluate whether you still have a proposition and where your business might best be positioned.  Write the positioning statement.

So in summary, brand positioning is even more important for small business as it focuses all resources on the differentiating features of the business’s brand.    Positioning is about putting clear water between your business and its competition and online positioning is about showing search engines where you fit.   Once your business is positioned, brand development effort will help to reinforce the positioning.

Brand Development

Once you have a brand and a positioning, it will take customers time to realise how lucky they are to have such a wonderful brand and to understand what your brand means.  In consequence, you’ll need to sustain both the talk and the walk for months and even years to achieve the full benefits of branding.  These benefits accumulate and accelerate if you keep the momentum going.  This article is about how to drive home the benefits of branding.

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Here the main principles:

  • Be distinctive – what is that your business does that no-one else does ?  Keep reinforcing that message in all formats, online and offline.  Have a clearly recognisable logo and name and spread it around online putting it on all your own sites and any of the business listings that you can.
  • Deliver great products /service – nobody gets excited about mediocre and you won’t create any buzz or trust or relationship with your customers by being good enough.  If you want people to write about you or give you a good review, you need to go above and beyond.  Think about the emotional benefits of your service.  As I write, my not so young anymore parents are moving house – they are finding It much more difficult than last time (20 years ago) every unexpected event is causing panic instead of mild irritation !  The removals firm that spots this will get the job and probably a very good review.
  • Keep your promises – not just your contractual promises, but your brand promises, which are probably more difficult to keep.  They are also probably more important to your business because they will reinforce your brand and inspire loyalty in your chosen customer base.  Customer retention is at least as important as finding new customers
  • Be consistent – everything to do with brands is about consistency -the same messages from all channels in all modes and walk the talk !  In online terms, this means treating all channels in the same way – Skype’s official web site has a very lovable feel even though Microsoft now owns it and it doesn’t change its feel on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.  If you’re serious on your website and playful on Twitter, that’ll be confusing to customers.  This consistency is part of what the familiarity and trust.
  • Grow your community – The most popular brands have a community around them – Apple have iPhone bores, Mac Bores and loyal App developers; none of them resist any temptation to pass on the virtues of Apple products to the rest of us.  One of the reasons for iPhone’s success is the App, which allowed Apple to hand over development to lots of other people whilst creating a market for their skills and in the process creating a huge group of brand advocates.  On a smaller scale, it is possible to create something similar for your target clients.  A restaurant might dedicate first Tuesdays to “dining club members”, a financial adviser might invite favoured clients to special briefings (investment opportunities / tax changes or whatever) and referral schemes can reward those who generate new customers for you
  • Stand for /against something – Body Shop /Anita Roddick seemed to be against everything (animal testing, greenness, whale hunting) and became very successful.  As part of running the business, Body Shop offered products that solved the problems against which they campaigned.  Apple have done well by “not being Microsoft” and are probably the most successful example of a challenger brand.  Firefox (browsers) also took the ‘not Microsoft’ position.  The “Dollar Shave Club” is challenging Gillette and all its blades.  Zipcar’s car sharing service is standing against car ownership for a whole range of reasons and will appeal to many who live in a large city and don’t use a car often and some who think owning a car is a bad idea for some of the reasons Zipcar talks about
  • Find your voice – As well as what you say, there is how you say it – or “your voice”.  I think Skype’s use of speech bubbles and informal, non-technical choice of words for key messages is very effective.  On the other hand, GE uses lots of photographs of precision engineered things and isn’t scared of using technical jargon.
  • Empower your customers – Your customers are the real custodians of your brand – after all it is their beliefs about your business that compose the brand.  Some of these guys will be brand advocates or evangelists and their testimonials will be far more powerful than anything you say or do

There’s quite a lot to think through in making this happen and I think the brand voice is a particularly vaguely understood area.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much time for your to perfect your brand development act.  Think before you act !

Brand Strategy

Once you’ve decided on your brand, then you need a brand strategy.  This is the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’.  Brands have many elements and unfortunately many of them are in the minds of customers and can only be influenced by steady and consistent communication and delivery of your brand promise – your commitment to customers.

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Customers are constantly bombarded by commercial messages and have become remarkably good at filtering them out.  Any inconsistency in communication is going to make it harder to break through the noise of other businesses and that means presentation as well as message must be spot on.  Putting your logo on everything, making your brand promise clear and most importantly walking the talk is vital.

Let’s look at an ideal approach and then look at the online opportunities.

Many small businesses regard brand as a Big Business thing; something for big budgets and lots of graphics design and expensive advertisements.  Unfortunately, your customers don’t know that Small Businesses don’t have brands and will make up their minds about your business whether you try to influence them or not.  You have to start where they are.

Understanding where you are

It is worth gathering everything you know about customer perceptions of your business.  In an ideal world a consultant might do some market research for you, but in the early stages, it is probably quicker and easier to do it yourself.  You need to look at each of these things in turn and as you do ask yourself ‘What is this promising the customer ?’:

  • Advertising and promotional material (brochures and flyers)
  • Packaging
  • Distribution Channels
  • Press Kit /releases
  • Internal communications / Intranet
  • Stationery
  • Organisation structure and objectives
  • Employee training, performance objectives and behaviour.  Selection and Promotion
  • Competitor reports
  • Industry analysis
  • Customer comments and complaints
  • Supplier / Partner comments
  • Business plans, budgets
  • Marketing plans, Creative briefs, Brand policy

You are looking for overall consistency.  Telling people one thing and behaving in another way will not work and your business can send the wrong messages unintentionally by not aligning everything.  For example:

  • Does you packaging say “Value for Money ?” or “cheap and nasty ?”
  • Do you sell your product in the right outlets ?  Harrods or a pound shop ?
  • Do you advertise in publications ?
  • Do your employees behave as your brand promises ?  If they don’t, have you given them the right training, the right performance objectives and enough resources to deliver ?  Ring the call centre of any bank or telephone company to experience this kind of mismatch.  Do you reward / promote the people who live the brand ?

And of course if you have a website and social media sites, there will be plenty of feedback on them to guide you !

Creating your Brand Strategy

Once you know where you are, you know what you need to do to get to the aim point or the ‘brand vision’.  There will be a set of messages that you want to communicate in all possible ways, especially in action and it is useful to capture these and offer them to colleagues.  It will also be linked to your brand positioning.  Valspar, a global chemical company publishes the following examples, here http://www.valsparbrand.com/Valspar-Brand/key-messages.jsp

  • Reliability – customers can trust us and we’re available 24 hours day
  • Performance – we’re the # 1 supplier in {various} markets
  • Expertise – Valspar has the technical leadership, account leadership and service to support products worldwide
  • Innovation – Valspar is committed to helping customers with their most pressing needs
  • Integrity – Valspar employees always seek to do the right thing

Large companies have a brand book, which describes how you can use the logo and the typeface and all that. This should be unnecessary in a small organisation where one person buys stationary and everyone works close together.  Nevertheless, consistent format is as important as a consistent message.

This strategy needs to be translated online.  All of your sites should have the same visual look.  All the About Us words need to say the same things and the more you can convince the search engines of this, the better.  As well as social media, businesses can use business listings and any page where you can place a business name, address and phone number on it (Search engines call this a citation).

It is also very important to manage your online reputation with a constant stream of positive reviews and good ratings.  Search engines put your business into a (broad) category before they rank you against the others; the clearer that you can make it where your business fits, the better will be your online branding and this will make ranking easier.

Rolling out your Brand

Internally rolling out your brand is quite a big job.  Spend most time on those who interact with customers – sales people, field support and customer service and explain what the brand means.  Then thoroughly educate line managers and direct them to educate their teams; hold them responsible and show them that you are serious.  A new Employee Code of Conduct reflecting the new brand could also be issued.

Externally, existing customers should be told if a brand is changing; they will show little interest beyond any impact on their business, but it will be an opportunity for your sales teams to present your company in the right light to them.  Having copies of new brochures, stationery and business cards will also show you are committed

Much of the effort in rolling out your brand happens online.  Logos and branding, new websites, new social media sites and so forth must go public on the stroke of midnight.  Business listings must be updated and old sites will need to be re-directed to new web properties (if appropriate).  Much of the old business’s online reputation can be preserved if the right actions are taken.

Monitoring your Brand

Having done one brand audit, you won’t be keen to repeat the exercise very often.  Nevertheless it is worth keeping an eye on the trends and making sure that the customers are getting the new brand.  Keeping an eye on the normal marketing things (do you have a dashboard?) and doing some Voice of the Customer work will give a qualitative idea of how it is going.

Your online approach also has a big part to play here.  Analytics will show you how your site is performing:

  • Visits and Views –
  • Conversions  -optins, phone and email enquiries,  ‘Likes’ and Shares, comments
  • Review Capture – how may customers have said something good about your company, products or brand
  • Complaints – always take complaints seriously – customers often seem wrong, but they’re right and so your business can usually learn how to better meet customer needs from complaints.

http://uk.pinterest.com/iheartbrand/brand-guidelines-examples/

 

Online Marketing Consultant

Online Marketing Consultants help their clients think through an online marketing situation such as Lead Generation, Conversion, Brand and Awareness. Having tackled the same challenges before, they bring experience and insight to the problem allowing the client to make fewer mistakes and achieve better results quicker. Marketing Consultants usually produce:
• a Marketing Strategy, or
• a Marketing Plan

Marketing Strategy

A Marketing Strategy takes the ideal view of the world, reviews the market and the competition, and identifies the various types of customers (segments) and the potential value of each. Having understood the Market, the Strategy then looks at ways to reach the customer (channels to market) and considers the strengths and weaknesses of the strategist’s organisation in putting that Strategy into effect. Finally, it will have some goals about income targets, entering new segments, gaining market share, and building awareness or brand. A big company’s marketing strategy team will do this full time and will have the resources to do a thorough job, but most small companies don’t have that resource available. Nevertheless, writing a marketing strategy is a valuable way of clearing your thoughts. An Online Marketing Consultant will help you to develop this Strategy and show you how online marketing strategies can be applied in your organisation.

Marketing Plan

The Marketing Plan is a more practical document, which talks about how to use the organisation’s resources to achieve the goals in the Strategy. It useful as a management tool – achieving goals is about many little steps and consistent progress and not about heroic efforts at the end of the plan period. The Plan will therefor include monthly and quarterly targets and possible contingency plans if targets aren’t achieved. There will be a range of measures in the Plan measuring progress towards the goals defined in the Strategy, including

  • Leads
  • Conversion Rate
  • Income

The numbers should be counted by market segment and channel because they will trigger the adoption of the contingency plans or other adjustments. An Online Marketing Plan is no different, but using Analytics, monitoring progress and performance can be much easier. In a smaller business online marketing can give you disproportionate leverage in your market whether it is a product niche or a local geographic market.

Online Marketing in practice

Most Business Owner/Managers have an instinctive understanding of their customers, but many find it difficult to translate that into a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. The main benefit of doing so is that it helps colleagues to understand and work together.
Lead Generation online can be done in a number of ways:

  • Paid Traffic – Google Ads (or PPC), Facebook Ads, Mobile Ads and other Media Buying. Some would also count coupon campaigns in this area.
  • Organic Traffic – an Authority Site gets traffic from search engines
  • Social Media Traffic – your audience will find you via social media if you know what they like and post it regularly. Making them share it before they can download it spreads your message further
  • Email Traffic – when you tell your subscribers that you’ve just written a post, many of them will read it on your website
  • Viral Traffic – your wonderfully engaging content with a link to your site is shared around the Internet causing a surge in traffic and a continuing stream of new leads
  • Content Marketing – posting high quality relevant content can be very effective for high tech companies or those with a complex product or service such as financial advice or medical treatment. Content needs to be tailored to the audience and needs to be directed to a particular purpose – titles such as Executive Briefing, Buying Guide and Implementation Guide will attract searchers who have a particular problem to solve.

Each of these traffic sources has its pros and cons and must be fitted into your Strategy and Plan
Conversion online is easy to measure and can mean anything from “Did the visitor subscribe to the newsletter?” to “Did he buy?”.  Page design strongly influences conversion, but perhaps most important is the presence of positive reviews or other sharers. Collecting reviews is very important to increasing conversion. Loyalty schemes also help to promote conversion; seeing that others have bought encourages site visitors to do the same.

Brand Building

Brand building online is slightly different; it is much about persuading search engines who you are and what you stand for, as customers. This means having a consistent visual identity and content that is

  • consistently about your business and its products,
  • published in a way that makes it easy for Google to recognised what your content is about. This means publishing your pages in silos – that’s another article – or using Google’s Schema.org / Facebook’s Open Graph markup on your pages and posts which saves Google the problem of mashing through your website’s text, and
  • published in places which Google recognises as yours – YouTube, Twitter Google Plus and Facebook Pages for example

The Online Marketing Consultant’s job is to help the Business Owner to define the “Online Marketing Strategy” and advise on selecting the techniques that can most effectively deliver the “Online Marketing Plan”. After the Plan is done, the Online Marketing Consultant will advise on implementation, but a marketing agency may provide a better (cheaper) service once marketing operations commence.