There are many small businesses that think their online marketing is done once they launch or re-design their website. In fact, this is just one sliver of the online marketing pie and without following a clearly defined inbound marketing plan, may not even help you achieve their business goals.
This checklist is designed to help you plan your online marketing efforts so they map to your overall business objectives.
Making Your Online Marketing Checklist
Define your business goals — if you haven’t already, define you business goals for the month, quarter, and year. Your business goals should define number of new customers, revenue targets, your products and services, and anticipated expenses.
Create your marketing plan — your marketing plan is all about the 4Ps (Products, Price, Promotion, and Placement). Clearly define what you want to market and where you’re going to market it. Online marketing may be just one channel, but it’s usually the one that can give you the most leverage for your marketing investment.
Personify your target customers — this is critical and a step many people overlook. Who is your target customer? What are their fears, needs, wants, and desires? Where do they shop? Have a clear understanding of your target customer so you can can communicate effectively with them.
Research keyword phrases — using the free Google Adwords Tool, you can uncover the keyword phrases that people use online when searching for businesses like yours. Start with the obvious phrases, but they are generally, the most competitive. These keyword phrases are how you will connect to your target customers online through search.
Identify your online competitors — run searches on Google using your keyword phrases to identify your online competitors. This will help you validate whether you’ve selected the correct keywords and will also give you an idea of the other sites you need to compete against in search for the same target customers.
Create a content plan — your content plan defines the pages you need for your website as well as lays out an editorial calendar that will guide your postings to your business blog. Google loves fresh content, and a small businesses best opportunity to providing it with fresh content is by blogging on a regular basis. Your editorial calendar will help you plan ahead with using your keyword phrases.
Define your social media marketing plan — social media is now a critical online marketing function, but you need to have a social media marketing plan. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of time. Knowing who your target customers are means you can figure out which social networks they use. Find the groups on Facebook and LinkedIn or find the searches they’re doing on Twitter and get involved.
Create lead generation plan — when spreading your message online, you’ll be directing people back to your website or a landing page. Since not everyone will be ready to buy from you as soon as they learn about you, create compelling offers that make it easy for your prospects to sign up to your list. Then, you can reach them directly with valuable information that helps.
Launch or re-launch your website — armed with knowledge about your target customer and how they search, get a website up that’s designed and written to help them think about you as someone who can help them identify their problems. Critical components include a blog, social media buttons, call to action buttons, landing pages, and compelling offers. This will separate your website from the majority of websites out there.
Participate in blogs, forums, and social networks — regularly post and comment on blogs, forums, and social networks where your target customers hang out. Answer questions and create relationships. There is no need to sell. While this requires some time commitment and discipline, it’s also how you will differentiate yourself from others who do what you do.
These ten items are a useful blueprint to get you on your way to running a much more effective online marketing program than just launching a website. Marketing takes work, but knowing what work needs to be done makes it much easier.
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What else do you do to ensure you’re marketing effectively online?
Free Inbound Marketing Plan Template
Online presence optimization is a key ingredient in your inbound marketing plan. You want to clearly identify your target customers and how they are searching for your services online.
If you don’t have one already, here is a free template that will help you make sure you have clearly identified and aligned your business objectives and marketing activity.