When developing your online marketing strategy, there are a set of guidelines that can be applied to nearly any business model on the web. Making sure your Internet marketing plan is outlined before you launch your site will provide the greatest chance for success in gaining traffic and rankings.
It’s important to highlight that the best Internet marketing plans will consider factors that are determined prior to a websites launch all the way through to those that are carried out as part of it’s long-term maintenance. Having an understanding of the stages of an online marketing life cycle allows you to see the big picture and prepare your work ahead of time. Each stage of the online marketing strategy provides a website owner with a critical opportunity to gain an advantage in their search rankings.
To start, an Internet marketing plan can be broken out into four main stages. These are the infancy stage, the development phase, the traffic driving phase and the maintenance stage. Its best to not go into an Internet marketing plan haphazardly, rather each stage is intended to be a progression built upon the previous stage.
Infancy Stage of a Successful Internet Marketing Strategy
This is the preparation for your online strategy plan. Here you should outline the following:
1. Your Business Objective:
a. What is your product or service?
b. What role will the website have in this plan:
• Product listings
• Company information
• Sales and contact information
• Determine content on your site that will serve your audience’s needs and interests.
2. Choose your Domain Name
a. If possible this should include a keyword that describes your product or service. Keyword rich domains are considered to rank more easily for your target.
b. Buying from a reputable registrar is thought to have a small influence on the reputation of your site.
a. Determine who you are up against
b. Consider what you can do differently
c. Identify what terms you may also be able to target.
4. Keyword Research:
a. What terms are you going to focus on? Do you need to consider opportunities for less competitive terms, what’s the marketplace like realistically?
b. Keep the focus of these terms very specific to your product or service. Use geographic modifiers for local search targeting.
c. A standard tool for research is the Google AdWords keyword tool. You may also do a web search to get ideas. Make a list and discuss this with other employees.
5. Site Architecture:
a. Map your site from the top down by creating an outline of the sites navigation. Include each pages main focus for keywords. Use this as your sitemap.
In this stage of the Internet marketing plan you will build out the physical site on the web. It’s important to work with developers who understand the importance of building search engine friendly sites. During this phase, you should plan the following:
1. Design the site:
a. Don’t try to overdo it with excessive graphics and artistic flair. Keep it simple and direct. The sites design elements should match other existing marketing materials.
b. Choose a search friendly Content Management System or standard HTML site.
c. Update page titles and meta descriptions throughout.
d. Use H1 tags with keywords where possible.
e. Use alt tags with all of your images
f. Add internal linking from within the content of your site.
g. Create a sitemap – list an html sitemap on the site and update an .xml sitemap with Google.
h. Include 400- 600 words of keyword relevant content on all of your main target pages. Plan to update new content regularly.
i. Include analytics tracking codes so you can monitor site use.
2. Web Hosting
a. Select a reputable host with guaranteed up time.
b. Be sure you can forward domains, which will be helpful throughout the websites life.
c. Customer service is important.
3. Email Accounts:
a. You should always have a corporate email account for all communications.
b. Be sure you can set up multiple emails for different departments.
Traffic Building Stage
Here you will be working to drive traffic to your site form various sources.
1. Search Engine Optimization:
a. Make sure your content and web pages are optimized for keyword terms that you are targeting. Over time your sites pages will be indexed and draw traffic from the search engines.
a. A company newsletter is a good way to communicate with clients and to encourage them to go to your website.
b. Don’t overdo it – once a week to once a month is average.
c. Use informative content and not sales pitches.
d. Avoid SPAM – make sure you can opt out of the service.
e. Announce specials, offers, new products
a. A blog can be a good way to incorporate fresh content into the site. Blogs tend to be indexed quickly and can draw new searchers to your site.
a. Video content posted on YouTube and properly optimized can draw searches to the site.
5. Press Releases
a. Regular press releases are a great way to build links and to get new content about your company on the web.
a. Listing your site on web directories will help build link value and provide additional outlets for users to find you.
b. Local directories are especially important for appearing in local searches.
The life of the online marketing strategy will never end. To be successful, you must continue to monitor the site and make ongoing improvements in value to both the search engines and your visitors.
a. Always be working to gain new links, you should be on the lookout for opportunities whenever possible and through any of your networks or affiliations.
2. Traffic Usage:
a. Monitor the sites traffic for improvements and trends.
b. Look for areas of weakness or trouble. Make improvements to remedy these issues.
c. Get an idea of your audience and whether you are on track.
d. Measure keyword searches and conversions.
3. Customer Service
a. Be aware of the need to respond to customers quickly.
b. Are you meeting the needs of your customers?
c. Are customers happy; are there areas that can be improved?
d. Utilize survey tools to ask questions.
This outline of an Internet marketing plan should provide a good starting point as you prepare your business for a life online. There are many aspects of web marketing to explore and understand. When you have questions or need further assistance, contact Fruition with your questions about online marketing strategies. We have helped many, many businesses become successful on the web and are here to help. We would enjoy talking with you about your project.
Jeff Williams is an SEO Project Manager at Fruition based in Denver, Colorado. Jeff uses his deep understanding of SEO and internet marketing to guide clients, optimize websites and ultimately improve search rankings.
President/Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President, Frame Destination
President & Founder, Family Travel Association