For many of us, finding
the time and commitment to develop an online marketing
strategy is difficult. There are so many other obligations
vying for our attention it is tempting to push strategies
to the back burner. Giving into that temptation, however,
means putting your business at a disadvantage.
This is because an overall marketing strategy is the
compass by which you navigate. As opportunities arise
or your business environment changes, the objective
and marketing strategies in your plan will point you
toward the best action. Without a strategic plan, you
risk becoming unfocused in your marketing efforts, resulting
in guesses about what might be best for your business.
To be most effective, your Website (as well as other)
marketing strategies should be a part of your overall
business marketing plan. By aligning online marketing
with your offline efforts, you can better achieve overall
company objectives. Additionally, you will present a
consistent style and message across all points of contact
with your target audience.
Your strategic focus will in part be determined by your
site's status. If you already have a site in place,
your plan can focus strictly on marketing issues. In
other words, how to most effectively market using your
If you have a site that needs improvement, however,
your marketing efforts will be more effective if you
incorporate Website enhancements in with your strategies.
Finally, if you do not yet have a site, you can create
one as you develop a marketing strategy, with your plan
focused on launching the site. In any case, remember
that your objective, strategies, and tactics will change
over time as your situation and focus change.
Parts of a Marketing Plan
A strategic Website marketing plan is similar to a
strategic business marketing plan, but with a narrower
focus (i.e. the Website plan focuses on Internet marketing
strategy and programs while the overall marketing plan
encompasses the entire business).
As with any marketing plan, the online plan includes
developing strategies and tactics (also called action
plans) that, when implemented, will help you reach your
marketing goals. An objective, strategy, and tactic
are each progressively narrower in scope:
The objective addresses the “big
picture”. In general terms, your objective answers
the question “How will I overcome my main marketing
challenge(s)?” If your company’s main site-related
challenge is figuring out how to use your Website to
help build client business, for example, an objective
for your online marketing plan could be “To enhance
online client service as well as build site awareness
and interest with clients.”
A marketing strategy supports your
objective. The strategy defines general approaches you
will take to meet your objective. For example, strategies
to support the above objective could include 1) improve
online communication, information, and education, 2)
build awareness of and interest in your company on the
Internet, and 3) communicate the Website’s existence
and advantages to existing clients.
A marketing tactic is where the action
takes place. Also called marketing programs or action
plans, they are the things you will do to bring each
marketing strategy to life. Tactics for strategy 2 in
the above example (improve online communication, information,
and education) could include 1) sharing experience and
observations in your industry through participation
in discussion boards, 2) offering an email newsletter,
and 3) listing/submitting your site to targeted search
engines and directories.
By implementing marketing programs that are consistent
with your site objective(s) and marketing strategies
you improve your chance of business success.
About the Author
Bobette Kyle draws upon 10+ years of Marketing/Executive
experience, Marketing MBA, and online marketing
research in her writing.
Bobette offers a range of marketing plan tools
to fit your business and budget. Find out more
or visit the Web Site Marketing Plan Network,