Create Your Web Marketing Strategy in 5 Simple Steps
- Date: Feb 25, 2014
- Author: Christy Cushing
- Tags: goals, hiking, Internet Marketing, marketing plan, marketing strategy, planning strategy, profitability, Technology, unique sales proposition, Website Design
- Categories: Business, Content Authoring, Development, Education, Marketing, Professional Development, Strategic Marketing Plan, Technology, Uncategorized
There are several questions you should ask when creating and/or updating your website. Answering these 5 questions will allow you to strategize exactly what you want your website to do (it’s functionality) and say (its content).
#1 – Answers the following questions in writing.
- Why do I want a website?
- Who are my ideal customers?
- What should my website do?
- How much can I afford to spend on my website?
- Realistically, how many hours per day/week can I spend on creating and editing content for my website?
- Am I comfortable with web technology? If not, will I pay someone to maintain my website? Am I willing to pay for training?
- Social media: am I on it? Am I willing to post regularly and make friends, connections and followers online?
- What is unique and valuable about my product or service? This will be your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It’s important. Really consider this.
Be honest. At this phase you have no accountability for the answers. It will save you money and time to be realistic from the beginning. If you don’t have much money, but lots of time or if you have more money to invest but less time – you’re off to a promising start. If you have little time or money to dedicate to your proposition, question your motives and expectations.
Your goals should reflect the reality: what you put in, you get out. Focusing your efforts will create efficiency and rewards.
#2 – Research
Spend time online looking at other websites and social media pages of ventures like yours. Take notes. Think about what works for you and what doesn’t. Can you find them on Google, Bing or Yahoo? What colors and layouts work and what doesn’t.
Pull out your phone or tablet. Do the sites look good on a mobile device? Do you find certain messages or images more appealing or motivating? Spend time noting what you like, what works more than what doesn’t. It is much more difficult to find what works than that what doesn’t work. After all, you’re building a plan and web presence, not demolishing it.
Make a list of specific features you want. Think about whether you want to maintain the site yourself with content. Do you want social media inputs? E-mail sign up? Calendar? Maybe a cool image gallery? Would you like to include paying invoices from the site? The options are endless.
#3 – Make Goals
Create measurable goals and a timeline. Things like: “I would like to increase gross receipts over the next fiscal year by 30%.” Or “I want to hire and train a part-time employee so I can spend more time hiking.” Or “I want 100 retweets of my tweets on average.” Just start writing, don’t think about whether it’s realistic or not. Specific is good. If you want to go big, just whittle it down:
“I want to make a million dollars!” -> “I want to make a million dollars per year gross income.”-> “I want to have 5 employees.” -> “I want to have 10 high value clients and a loyal staff, making a million dollars a year net.” -> “I want to achieve this goal in the next 3-5 years.” Voila! You have a specific goal that you can envision measure and work towards.
#4 – Develop a Budget
Arguably the least sexy and most frightening part of the marketing plan is the budget. Marketing and promotion is an investment. Don’t just think in terms of money. Think about how much time you have to devote to this venture. Is this a side gig? Just picking up some freelance work or developing a hobby into a business over time? Are you looking to change careers or start up something big?
The more ambitious and/or the shorter your timeline the more time and money you will need to be successful. It’s not about how much it will take to make this successful. It’s only about how much you can invest.
#5 – Talk to a professional
At this point you will want to begin talking with web designers or developers about training or costs to create your website and what features you may want. Look for someone who’s been in business for a few years. Make sure you’re dealing with a company with a name and a face. If you go to their website and there are no actual people on the site or suspiciously stock looking images, keep moving. Prices are very, very variable for these services so be as specific as possible and include your timeline.
If you don’t want to use a pro, see if you can get some consulting hours on retainer. Perhaps buy a block of time for a specified rate. The help you get can simply count against what you’ve paid. It is very helpful to have someone you know and trust as you grow. You are a professional. Your website should reflect this. There are countless resources that an industry professional knows that can help you immeasurably. You could be stepping over dollars to pick up dimes going with a cheap alternative.