Is your business achieving the profit you need?

If it isn’t, the reason just might be your marketing.  More often than not, having an effective internet marketing plan is just what your business needs and should be an integral part of your online marketing strategy.  Identifying the best way to increase sales is the first step in developing an effective marketing plan.

You need to determine whether your business should offer new products, offer new services, increase it’s share of the market, improve customer service or simply increase it’s prices or the number of units sold.  At least one of these factors should feature in your marketing goals and objectives. 

Having identified your marketing objectives, the next step is to devise a marketing plan that will enable you to achieve your objective and from that achieve increased profitability. 

Your internet marketing plan should always be developed keeping your marketing objectives and goals in mind and your marketing strategy is one of the first things you need to consider when putting together your marketing plan.  Many businesses find it helpful to define exactly what their target market is.  The next step is to consider how your product is positioned in your target market, e.g. how is it promoted, how is it priced in comparison with your competitors – all these factors can have a critical effect on your sales results.  Unless your message is targeted to reach the right market and aimed at the correct “persona” your marketing efforts are likely to be a waste of time and money. 

You need to identify your target market precisely

If your target market is too vague, for example “anyone who wants to buy”, your marketing efforts are more likely to fail than succeed.  You can avoid this common mistake by honing in on your target market.  By way of example, let’s say your business offers house cleaning services, your defined target market might be middle-aged working mothers who have very little free time to clean their own homes but probably have the ability to pay to have this work done for them.  Narrowing down and focussing on your target market in this way will allow you to aim your sales message and promotional materials specifically at this type of potential customer.  In our earlier example your message should be that you have the skills, time, resources and expertise required to clean the homes of these working mothers and can thus solve their house cleaning problems. 

Next you need to develop an explanation of how YOUR products and services are better than/differ from those of your competitors. 

In other words you need to let your prospective customers know what your unique selling point or what makes your business, goods or services superior to those of your competitors.  In our house cleaning example the difference between you and the competition might be your prices, the speed and quality of your service, the money back guarantee you provide or your use of environmentally friendly cleaning solutions.  It is important that you identify what sets you apart and then build on it when tailoring your sales message. 

How do you determine the best way to create customer awareness?

You need to promote your company products or services and whilst you are doing this make sure to emphasise the benefits of your products and services for buyers.  Your choices of promotional tools include various advertising channels and will be largely decided based upon the budget that you have available.  Our experience has shown that email campaigns, online public relations, article marketing, video marketing, blogging, social media and directory marketing can all be highly effective tools to promote your business when they are used properly. 

Your strategy can also incorporate sales prices, product giveaways, competitions and other promotional techniques.  While all of these promotional tools do require you to spend money and/or time some will give you a far better return on your investment than others so it is important to make your decision wisely.  We recommend that you do not overstretch yourself – it is smart to focus on only a few promotional tools so that you can give each one the necessary attention to make it work.

Next, carefully establish prices for your products or services

Be aware what your competition are charging for their products or services as this will help you identify what the market will bear.  Keep in mind the current global economic downturn and set your prices so that they are low enough to tempt potential customers but high enough to include a sufficient mark-up that will generate a healthy profit margin for your business. 

The final step in creating an effective internet marketing plan is to develop a marketing calendar. 

A large inexpensive wall calendar or white board will allow you to schedule each marketing task that needs to be done.  When completed your marketing calendar will let you quickly see what task or promotion should be being worked on at any given time.  Having taken the time and trouble to prepare your internet marketing plan it is important that it isn’t filed into a drawer never to be seen again! 

If you create and implement an internet marketing plan that is practical and can be truly effective, you will be delighted at how quickly your profits will soar and should you need assistance in putting your plan together WSI works with clients to develop a full strategic plan right down to the identification of which channels are most appropriate for their business – we even prepare budget spreadsheets to help clients realise their full potential.

Chris Griffin
Chris Griffin
Chris has been a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2005. Since 2007 he has specialised in Search Engine Marketing, both Paid Search and Organic SEO. He has an excellent record of helping businesses of all sizes, both in the UK and overseas, to achieve their online marketing goals.

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