Once you get the hang of it, digital marketing can seem like old hat. Before then, it’s important to learn the basics. In our Digital Marketing 101 blog posts, we offer an education into the ins and outs of the digital marketing landscape. Read these blog posts to learn digital marketing basics, such as creating campaigns, writing effective ad copy, and more.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression before and it’s true. One size certainly does not fit all. This statement is fitting and should be kept in mind when crafting an online marketing strategy for your business.
When individuals seek advice from our team at MoreVisibility, we would be remiss to suggest a “cookie-cutter” formula to achieve online marketing success. Each industry, business, and client not only has different marketing goals but each may have to take a different path or approach to reach individual targets. For this reason, an interactive marketing plan should be customized according to the specific needs and objectives of any company.
Although your marketing budget often determines what you are able to accomplish in a given time period, keep in mind that all visibility doesn’t require considerable amount of resources (monetarily that is). Much of what we do as marketers online, especially in the social media realms, require human capital.
Whether you are new to online marketing or have been following the industry for years, it is always a good idea to review your online marketing plan. Start by clearly identifying your audience/market, define (or redefine) your goals (often helpful to track through adding Google Analytics onto your marketing campaigns), and pinpoint which online marketing channels would be best to reach your targets. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to accomplish and have a presence everywhere, if your budget doesn’t allow it. Start with improving your website (your “final destination) and work diligently to create brand awareness in other areas of online marketing when the time and budget permits.
Attention marketers! Are you remembering the fundamentals of marketing? Whether you are in the business of selling physical products or services, going back to the basics helps us to build successful campaigns. If you studied business in college, you may remember the term “Marketing Mix” or “The Four P’s” (Product, Price, Place & Promotion). Applying the marketing mix to each campaign in our online efforts (though may seem comical to some) will help in crossing off “to-do’s” on our marketing checklists.
1) Product Decisions
There are many considerations that should be taken into account when it comes to your offerings. Quality, styling, functionality, brand name, warranty, customer service, and packaging are just a few. These decisions may seem obvious; however, you may not realize the considerable time required to formulate a successful campaign. Product decisions need to be strategic from inception (in the creation of the product/service) to the fulfillment and services provided afterwards. For instance, the quality and packaging of your product should strengthen your brand. The warranty that you offer post sale should stand behind your brand as well. Every product decision that is made should relate back to building a credible brand name that helps to grow and foster a loyal customer base. How do you accomplish this online?
2) Price Decisions
Everyone wants a deal. Having a pricing strategy that identifies volume, wholesale and seasonal pricing is critical. Will bundling help cut distribution costs? What deals can your company afford and during what quarters or seasons should they be offered? If you are an online retailer, seasonal sales are especially important. Do you offer monthly/seasonal promotions that you are able to fulfill? Speaking of fulfillment, are you looking into online deal sites like GottaHalfIt.com or Groupon.com? These companies can do wonders for your business, if you have the right pricing strategy that is! If not well thought out, these online coupon deals can cost you tons of money (if you are unable to fulfill the orders due to high demand). If you’d like additional insight on “Groupon-like” opportunities, check out our featured Newsletter Article.
3) Place Decisions
Place, better known as distribution, is the channel through which you will distribute your products/services. How are you covering your market? How are you managing your inventory? For e-Commerce, you must find the intricate balance between product inventory and sales. Do you have enough supply to fulfill certain promotions (seasonal or Groupon-like campaigns)? Do you drive your business decisions according to marketing initiatives or do you market according to business trends? For example, do you increase inventory levels because you’d like to try a special offer like Groupon (marketing decision) or do you market/advertise or “push” certain products because your inventory levels are high? This “push” or “pull” strategy leads us to the final “P” in the Marketing Mix.
4) Promotion Decisions
Promotion represents the communication strategy you create to formulate a positive customer response (lead generation, sales, etc..). Your marketing budget, public relations, promotional strategy (push vs. pull), and sales promotions all fall under this category. A mix of marketing communications in the online world is important. Remember that we are in a period of information overload. Differentiating yourself through online marketing initiatives is important. Creating email promotions and advertising banners that are visually appealing and compelling will help increase your response (click-through rates, website traffic, and/or lead generation). Here are some other online promotion suggestions:
Measuring your marketing campaigns is helpful in driving future business/marketing decisions. By incorporating analytics on each of your online marketing efforts, you will be able to see if a campaign fulfilled its purpose. Calculating your cost per lead will give you a good idea of the success of each marketing initiative. Lastly, remember that there is never a “one-size-fits-all” solution to marketing. Because the online space is constantly evolving, marketers should be cognizant of new, old, and upcoming trends and adjust strategies accordingly.
I haven’t tallied the number of holiday shopping promotions I’ve received via email over the past few weeks, but it seems like many more than in past years. Companies know that consumers have a limited amount of funds that they are going to spend somewhere, so they are pulling out all of the stops early to grab as much of the pie as possible.
The connection I want to highlight in this blog post is that in order to be able to market to prospects (very inexpensively) through email marketing, an investment needs to be made to create the database in the first place. SEO, SEM and Social Media can each play a vital role in developing your list.
Obviously it’s preferred to convert a high percentage of your paid search leads into customers, but it’s equally important to build a database of folks that you can remarket to later on.
Begin investing in your database in a methodical way. Figure out the response rates and average order size you realize from your email blasts and then figure out how large the list needs to grow to in order to attain your sales objectives for 2011 and beyond. Next, determine which marketing channels are most cost effective for your business and begin to grow your list. None of this is easy, but it’s the best way to secure your long term success.