How do you build an effective Online Marketing strategy?
We often talk about powerful Online Marketing tools, how they can adapt to the needs of our business. Most of the time, however, we lose sight of the big picture and forget that, at the basis of all these tactics, the element that plays a fundamental role is: an Online Marketing strategy!
What does it actually represent? This kind of strategy is based on a unique formula, adapted to the company’s mission and positioning, meant to set an upward direction in terms of brand visibility, but also its ability to generate sales, without moving away from the macro strategy of the business.
Why does your business need an Online Marketing strategy?
We cannot talk about a successful business without discussing an effective marketing strategy. It not only provides promotional tools, but also has the power to give the whole business a vision of the potential and trajectory of the field on the market, about relating to customers and competition alike.
It is important for every entrepreneur to understand that the strategy is the basis of the whole process, it defines whether or not a company will be successful, it identifies the potential and directs investments. Without strategy we can’t talk about creating a site, Search Engine Optimization or Social Media Marketing.
Here are just a few of the most important benefits of an online marketing strategy:
#1. The strategy gives you a direction for the future
The idea that instinct is the one that provides you with the best solution does not apply, unfortunately, when we talk about this stage. Marketing specialists recommend a return to the classic methods of market research which, which, although offer such valuable input, are often ignored by companies. We need to understand that a business is constantly undergoing changes in terms of the evolution of market direction or the customers’ consumption behavior. A research started at the right time can anticipate trends and offer the brand a solution of rapid ascent.
#2. The customer potential is increased in the digital environment
People get information online, make decisions online, consume online, and the numbers speak for themselves:
89% of consumers use search engines to search for information about the products / services they are interested in;
82% of consumers search for reviews about a product / service online before making a purchase;
63% of the purchasing decisions (whether online or offline) are made in the digital environment;
25% of shoppers use Social Media and blog posts to discover new products and brands.
#3. Objectives and actions are easy to monitor
If we were to identify the most important advantage that Online Marketing brings to a business compared to the classic methods of promotion, we will certainly mention the monitoring facility. Over time, the digital environment has developed a wealth of tools designed to generate real-time reports, specifically for both the site and the social networks. Based on these, each business can make strategic decisions on time and can easily anticipate whether or not a goal will be achieved.
#4.Your company enjoys more visibility
A good indexing position in search engines, an optimized, fast site that offers an optimal level of UX, but also a constant presence on Social Media are some of the secrets of increased visibility in the online environment.
When we talk about a visible brand, we think first of Search Engine Optimization. In a previous article we described in detail »What SEO means. This time, we will highlight how important this process is for shaping a strong online brand.
In short, SEO helps you to occupy a leading position in the search engine results page when a potential customer searches for information about products / services such as those you offer yourself. What is the optimal position you should take in order to enjoy increased visibility? Among the top three! They consume, on average, about 65% of the traffic generated by a search!
Our recommendation is to include Search Engine optimization in your online marketing strategy. With the help of this process, you will generate quality traffic in the long run!
How can we create an effective Online Marketing strategy?
As mentioned earlier, any strategy is based on three important steps:
- the time of diagnosis (assessment of the current situation);
- defining objectives (outlining a short, medium and long term vision);
- drafting of the plan (what tactics we use to achieve the formulated objectives).
Considering these three steps and the set of tactics that each of them should include, we offer you a short guide to help you create an effective Online Marketing strategy:
#1. Set the goal of the strategy – What do you want to achieve?
In order to easily monitor your progress both when it comes to business strategy, but also when we refer specifically to the online environment, our recommendation is to focus on building SMART goals. How do these “smart” goals differ?
Pentru a-ți monitoriza cu ușurință progresul atât atunci când vine vorba de strategia afacerii, dar și când ne referim specific la mediul online, recomandarea noastră este să te axezi pe construirea unor obiective SMART. Prin ce se diferențiază aceste țeluri „deștepte”?
Specific – What exactly do you want to achieve? What is the specific result you want to achieve?
Measurable – How do you know if the goal has been achieved or not? Tip: use numbers or percentages!
Accessible / Achievable – Is your goal anchored in reality? Will you be able to reach it?
Relevant – Does the result you set out to achieve add value to the company?
Time-Bound – How soon do you intend to reach a certain target?
An example of a SMART goal could be: “Increase the number of visits on the site by 20% in the next 6 months.”
#2. Look around you and analyze your context
You can’t build a strategy without having a clear vision of where your business is at the moment. In this regard, it would be useful to start a general audit, which will analyze, on the one hand, how your business currently uses the marketing tools at its disposal, and on the other hand, the perception that customers have about your brand. Such feedback is very useful for identifying the positioning discrepancies in the consumers’ mind: how you want to be perceived versus how you are perceived.
Nor should competition be neglected. For an online marketing strategy to be effective, you need to be able to anticipate the movements of your opponents. See what their strengths are! What about their weaknesses? Try to put yourself in the customers’ shoes and analyze the efficiency of the funnel they approach. Moreover, do not forget that in order to be one step ahead of them, it is necessary to make strategic decisions in time. For example, we mentioned in our previous articles that over 90% of sites in Romania are not Search EngineOptimized. Use these statistics in your favor and be a pioneer. When we talk about SEO services, we are talking about a long-term investment, but one that, over time, offers results that are hard to beat.
Here’s why »It’s worth investing in SEO in 2020
#3. Make sure you have a properly defined buyer persona!
You cannot start any strategic approach if you don’t know who to address. Unfortunately, very often, businesses approach wrong tactical moves precisely because there is a mismatch between the audience they want to address and the audience that might be genuinely interested in the product.
How can you find out who your target audience really is? Analyze your current clients and discover patterns of age, sex, behavior. Tools like Facebook Insights or Google Analytics can be a valuable source to give you some clues about these features.
If you have a company that allows you to interact directly with people, take advantage of this opportunity and talk to your customers. Find out what their general expectations are for your product, find insights into their possible concerns about a particular type of service, and use all the information you’ve gathered to build one, two, or more customer avatars, depending on the profile of the company in which you are active.
Creating a buyer persona will help you clarify the directions in which the strategy should go. It will be much easier to relate to some ideal customer models, you will understand how to communicate “in their language” and what stimuli they react to.
Because it is sometimes difficult to identify patterns of behavior, we have put together a list of criteria you should consider when analyzing your current and potential customers:
- age and gender – these factors have a direct impact on the tone of voice you will use in communication, but also on the type of promotion channels.
- location – a simple element such as the location of your customers plays an important role both in targeting and in identifying possible implementation errors. For example, if you have a local business with a website, and much of the traffic on your site originates in completely different cities, this is a sign that you need to review your SEO or Google Ads tactics.
- revenue – it is very important to know what purchasing power your customers have. This factor can influence both your promotion strategy and your pricing policy.
- personal needs / objectives – What are the needs of your potential customer and how does your product respond to them? Based on the information you receive from customers, you can build messages that highlight the benefits of your products / services. You will not communicate a list of general advantages, but you will compose the message that offers the solution to the specific needs that you have identified.
- challenges – especially when it comes to B2B type of business, it is essential to understand what challenges and dilemmas your potential customers face. Depending on the results, you can include the idea of customized packages in your strategy.
- interests / passions – What do your customers do in their free time? Where do they spend their weekends and what kind of activities do they prefer? This kind of information can help you both in choosing the communication channels and in building the partnership strategy.
- priorities – What are the priorities in the relationship of a client to your business? Does it focus on product quality, on price, on social media interaction, or on customer service? Depending on their priorities, you can determine which aspects you need to improve.
Once you’ve collected this information, it’s time to look at patterns and create an avatar document for each of the types of customers you’ve identified.
We will come back with more information on this topic in a future article, so keep an eye on the SEO 365 blog!
#4. Make sure you differentiate yourself on the market!
We operate in a competitive market, and one of the most important aspects is »How do you differentiate yourself?
Businesses must pursue, above all, a clear positioning both in the market and in the mind of the consumer. What are the first words a person thinks of when talking about your business?
Our recommendation is to establish, from the beginning, a USP (unique selling proposition) that describes that defining feature that differentiates you from the competition. Furthermore, your entire strategy must relate to this benchmark.
To clarify the positioning idea, we suggest we talk about one of our first clients – Cluj.com. They wanted to be known on the market as a #different media platform. In this sense, we have built the entire communication strategy and content so that we focused on certain different aspects, which until then had not enjoyed the attention of the media. Through consistency and perseverance, Cluj.com managed to break away from the traditional idea of an online news platform, strongly anchored in political topics and to talk about the positive aspects of the city, about the undiscovered beauties of the county, etc.
Find out more about Cluj.com’s success story here »What is the secret of Cluj.com‘s success? A project for 800,000 people
We cannot talk about an online marketing strategy without establishing the channels through which we want to reach our potential customers. To make the right choice, we will always rely on a complete analysis of our consumer profile. This is, of course, the profile we have built for the buyer persona. Depending on this avatar, but also on the SMART goals that we initially set, we will develop specific tactics for each type of channel:
Owned Media – are those organic channels, over which a business has total control: website, company profile on social media, blog content;
Earned Media – are those channels through which the brand strengthens its image and have, in general, the role of PR: press releases on media platforms, guest blog posts, interviews, etc.
Paid Media – refers to the paid promotion tools offered by both search engines and social media: Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Remarketing, Off Page SEO articles, etc.
Take into account, in your choice, the efficiency of each type of channel and try to focus on investments with long-term results such as Search EngineOptimization, quality blog content or website modernization.
#6.Prepare the strategy for implementation
Once you have an overview, it is time to create a concrete action plan, which includes specific tactics and deadlines for meeting sub-objectives. Don’t forget to constantly monitor the results and not lose sight of the big picture!
Are you ready to create an effective Online Marketing strategy?
What tips to keep in mind when outlining an Online Marketing strategy?
#1. Stay flexible!
#2. Stay tuned to your customers!
#3. Never forget what the ultimate goal is!
#4. Follow the trends in communication!
#5. Quality content must remain a priority!
#6. Monitor, monitor, monitor!
#7. effective strategy is not easy to build. Choose to work with professionals!
How to adapt an Online Marketing strategy in times of crisis?
When going through a crisis period, the first costs that most managers are willing to eliminate are the investment in Online Marketing. Therefore, most of the time, the number of customers decreases considerably, and the problem deepens further.
Successful companies have understood that such a situation is rather a good time to invest in the digital environment. For example, in the wake of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Emag decided to continue investing online:
“Everything related to the digital economy, software, productivity tools, online commerce – all this will increase a lot. Tourism is something strategic, agriculture will have to grow, he added.”(Iulian Stanciu for Ziarul Financiar)
As professionals, we want to emphasize that online marketing is one of the most powerful tools a business has. Unlike traditional methods of promotion, digital is constantly changing and adapting, which allows you, as a business, to access a much wider customer base for variable costs, depending on the strategy you approach.
The period of crisis must be seen as an opportunity to reinvent yourself online and make safe investments with long-term results. This is the time when you should turn your attention to organic tools, which, over time, bring you an ROI for which you would have to pay huge sums if you relied exclusively on paid ads. Thus, in times of crisis, our recommendations are:
- Stay active on Social Media and keep a constant interaction with your current and potential customers!
- Update the information about the company on social networks, but also on the site!
- Optimize the site so that it has an optimal loading speed, is easy to access on any type of device and offers a pleasant browsing experience!
- Invest in SEO to get better search engine indexing and enjoy the benefits of increased visibility. If you want to find out what are the online development opportunities of your business, we can explore this topic together during a FREE CONSULTATION session.
Discover more recommendations here »How to help your business in times of crisis? We have 7 recommendations!
What to do?
Developing an Online Marketing strategy is far from an easy process, so you need to make sure you work with professionals. The SEO 365 team bases its strategies on extensive experience. We have always worked with our clients taking into account the vision of the business at macro level and we approached Online Marketing at holistic level. As a result, the results appeared quickly, and we are now proud of a successful business community.
Want to discover the true potential of your online business? Request FREE CONSULTATION!