Written by Jeff Tippett, Calvert Creative
Getting started with online marketing – or ramping up a new online presence – can be a daunting prospect for any business owner. There are so many different pieces of the marketing puzzle to put together, and sometimes it's hard to know which parts of the marketing mix will be most effective in establishing brand, attracting target market, supporting engagement, and ultimately converting to leads and sales.
Set your timeframe
If you are just starting out, give yourself at least 9 months to establish and test out various pieces of your marketing program. After all, it takes that long to make a baby, and this will be a baby that will support you much faster than your actual progeny! If 9 months sounds shockingly long, consider this: you will start to see some results much faster than this, but running a full- fledged marketing mix is at least a part-time job for even the smallest of new businesses. We just don't live in a “build it and they will come” world. Anyone can hang a business shingle out, but without solid and consistent marketing it is unlikely that you will see the world rushing to your door.
Learn about the possible components
For purposes of this whitepaper, we've broken down the marketing mix into fifteen primary parts. This is somewhat arbitrary, since online marketing is not an easily compartmentalized creature; instead it can be quite a beast. Sometimes you might have trouble determining where the arm ends and the shoulder begins, but if you can make your peace with the blurry boundaries you'll find that everything works together nicely to provide you income and profit.
1. Setting Goals
2. Knowing Your Target Market
3. Establishing Target Keywords and Phrases
4. Branding Your Company
5. Securing Your Brand Online
6. Setting Up a Primary Site
7. Search Engine Optimization
8. Jumpstarting the Content Machine
9. Building Your Landing Pages
10. Email Marketing
11. Paid Search Marketing
12. Social Media Marketing
13. Online Press Releases
14. Using Analytics to Refine Your Mix
Determine your budget
Just because it’s DIY doesn’t mean it’s always free. So how do you determine what kind of budget you will need to begin marketing your business online?
Before you begin, you should decide how aggressive you would like to be in growing your company in the coming year. If you are a new company, you probably want the most aggressive plan you can afford in order to get a foothold in your industry or field. If you are looking for steady growth, your spend may be moderate, and if you are simply hoping to maintain the loyalty of your existing clientele, your final numbers may be on the lower side.
1. Start with the basic statistic: 2-8% of gross revenue
You’ve probably hear most small to mid-sized business (SMB) authorities report spending for marketing to be approximately 2-8% of gross revenue. You can use projected gross revenue, or the previous year’s numbers. This is a good place to begin thinking about your budget.
2. The customer acquisition model
If you have been in business long enough to know about what it costs to acquire a new client, use that number (or your cost per lead) along with your business goals to calculate your marketing costs.
3. A tactics-based approach
After reading this whitepaper you will have the information you need to write up your online marketing strategy. Then you will be able to begin to price out the specific costs of each tactic. For example, you know about how much it will cost to build a website. There’s hosting, design, coding, content writing, and build. Once you know the total cost, you can determine whether this particular tactic needs to be handled on the cheap, or if you are going to put as many of your resources as possible into it, based on your goals for how important your website will be in the marketing of your business.
Write out your strategy
Writing up a custom strategy for your business is like buying a map for a major road trip; while some side excursions and unexpected turns in the road will be a potentially interesting and educational part of your journey, eventually you want to arrive at your destination.
Your online marketing strategy will be your basic road map and will help you determine whether or not your investment of time and money has been successful. You can always refine it as you go, and expand it as you grow.
The process of getting your message to the online world is something you can start pretty much any time in the life of your business. You don’t have to be an expert in any of the online marketing practices, you just have to be willing to learn and ready to experiment.
It’s a great time to start or run your own business. The internet makes it easy to begin to get your message out, and your marketing does not require a massive financial investment; it mostly requires your time. So what are you waiting for? Read on, and soon you’ll be on your way to establishing your brand online, attracting your target market, and beginning to see your first online leads and sales.
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