Zen Online Marketing -Internet Marketing Fundamentals – Strategy Before Tactics – Part 2 - Zen Online Marketing
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Internet Marketing Fundamentals – Strategy Before Tactics – Part 2

26 March 2010

Have you ever approached a reputed online marketing company to get a quote for your website and were shocked to learn about the costs involved ?

Have you ever wished you could learn it yourself and do it yourself? Well you are not alone AND you are in the right place too. This post is continuation of the earlier post that talk about the larger picture of Internet marketing.  So without much ado, lets get to the point:

What is online marketing:

  • Understand that it’s a long term process and not a one time event
  • The goal is to get your product / service in front of your target audience and get them to take the desired action
  • It’s a broad term used to ‘collectively refer’ to various marketing channels

Popular online marketing channels include:

  • Search engine optimization ( driving organic traffic )
  • Pay Per Click aka PPC ( driving paid traffic )
  • Affiliate marketing ( giving people affiliate aka referral commission ) for referring a lead / sale.)
  • Email marketing ( getting leads / sales by leveraging the opt-in email list )
  • Social media marketing ( leveraging the social sites like facebook, twitter, etc to engage with your target audience, monitoring your brand, online reputation and ultimately drive leads/sales )

Some of these channels have overlaps and are merging; like the search engine optimization and social media marketing. Additionally, there are several granular layers to the above marketing channels ( stay tuned for more on them later )

It’s important that you have a holistic online marketing strategy rather than diving into it in haphazard manner.

The basic concepts of online marketing are very simple to understand but mastering them is a lifelong learning process as it’s part science and art both.

There are plenty of professional  internet marketing tools, both free as well as paid, to make your job simpler and much more efficient.

Why is online marketing critical for success of the website

What do you do when you need to find information about something? You go to a search engine like Google, Yahoo, AOL, Bing, etc. You enter the search term in the search box & hit the search button. Bang! In a split second you are presented with thousands of results matching your search query.

By default, 10 results are shown per page. Whosoever is on the first page of Google, Bing, etc gets all the business ! Because most people never go to the second page of search results .

Research has shown that only @  15% or so care to go to the second page of search results, rest of the people simply change their search query and search with  a different key phrase.

So it’s obvious that if you are not ranking in google on the first page of search results for keywords important to your business you are basically nowhere.

Components of  online marketing campaign:

There are two basic components to it:

  • Strategy – short term and long term planning
  • Execution – tools and techniques to achieve strategic goals

Strategy / Planning stage in turn consists of following stages:

Define your target audience very clearly ( age, sex, location, income level, problem or the need that needs solution you have, sub segments of those demographics )

Define your USP / PODS clearly – if you don’t have one you should create one. It can be anything like a product feature, free shipping, free support, etc or it can be a combination of multiple factors that differentiate your offering. As far as possible, avoid competing on price as desperate competitors can always lowball you.

Determine how you are going to communicate your USP / PODS to your target audience.

Where do they hang out online? ( search engines, bulletin boards, answers sites, communities like ning, squidoo, etc, social media sites like facebook, twitter, etc )

If there is an offline component to your business, then where does your target audience hang out. Local bars, clubs, trade fairs, conferences, local chambers of commerce, etc and make sure you network there to drive your online marketing objectives.

Make a note of the short listed online properties where you are going to engage with the target audience. Do NOT spread yourself too thin and try to be all over the place. You will wear yourself out. Instead focus on max two properties at a time. ( Example: Facebook & Twitter, Myspace & Yahoo Answers, Youtube & Stumbleupon, etc. )

Execution – Tools & techniques to achieve the strategic goals.

This is phase of the operational side of things and things get much more “hands on”. Stay tuned as we go into nitty gritty of every aspect of internet marketing in great detail – one step at a time !

Start with the two most important venues for your offering and start engaging right away. Do NOT try to sell / pitch anything. Just focus on helping others, engaging in the conversation in helpful way.

To summarize and quote Sun Tzu – “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”

Going forward, you will segment this to a greater detail as to what exactly is meant by engaging in constructive way and how to put a RoI ( Return On Investment ) value on it.

Focus on the actionable items and if you have any questions, feel free to ask away.