Road to online success
As it is the case with all business activities, Success or failure solely depends on how well a problem statement is solved. Diving into success is not automatic and requires proper planning and execution with a set strategy in mind to lead us into the road to succeed.
CEach and every aspect of online presence, from creating visibility, brand building, communication channels, customer acquisition and retention, social media need to be well thought of in advance to create the right balance between economy and efficiency.
Here’s a quick rundown on the 5 steps to take to reach your goals:
- Formulating your Objectives and Goals
- The Online Marketing Plan
- Budgeting to succeed
- Implementation, Measurement and Control
1. formulating your objectives and goals:
Any activity, without a purpose and end result is carried out in vain. Building a long lasting online presence is no exception. It is extremely critical that there is a set objective and an end goal to reach before beginning to think of sales.
Keeping the purpose of the overall business in mind, scalable and realistic goals and objectives need to be concretely defined in order to work towards them. At every level of the organization, important questions need to be asked as to:
- Why and how an online marketing strategy needs to be implemented.
- What are the specific goals of each department
- Do you have the require expertise , technology and manpower needed to develop and nurture a successful online marketing strategy
- What is the immediate output expected? Leads, Conversions, Visibility, Awareness, reach, acceptance or Brand loyalty to name a few
- What are the precise metrics that need to be set and tracked
- What are the responsibilities of each team and its members in relation to online marketing
- Existing online channels and its pros and cons
A well laid-out, written Goal helps in keeping track of the progress made in achieving them and modifying the course of action if necessary.
2. the online marketing plan
Once all the goals and Objectives of creating an online presence are well defined, a marketing plan needs to be laid out. The plan will act as a roadmap and a guide to reach your goals. A clear research into your own industry, the competition, your business and your customers needs to be carried out in order to formulate a workable marketing plan.
While developing a plan, answer the following questions:
- What is the problem statement of your customers
- How are you going to solve it
- Who are your customers
- What are your customer segments? Basis Demographics, location, buying behavior, social factors and preferences.
- What’s your current market share and how much do you want to increase?
- Are there any competitors that offer a value proposition that you don’t?
- What is the perceived value of your product/service
- What channels are most viable for promotions?
- What is the unique value proposition you bring to the market?
Once all these questions are answered, you can go about deciding on the tools you want to use for creating an online presence. It is crucial that elements like website development, blogs, SEO, Social media strategy, Brand creation, Marketing Channels, and online advertising are considered while making a plan.
A sound Online marketing strategy involves a 360 degree view of your markets, competitors, customers, channels of distribution/communication and value propositions.
It is often not possible to get all the work done in-house. Some aspects of online marketing are best handled by experts in the domain. They have the requisite knowledge, experience and insight to develop a working strategy for you. This helps you to save time and concentrate on more important aspects of your business like strategy, customer satisfaction and building efficiencies.
It is important that you know exactly how capable your online marketing agency is. More often than not, customers complain that their online strategy has not yielded the results they expected. This is not because of a fault in the strategy itself but in the way they were executed by inexperienced brand agencies
Before you select your brand agency, consider the following:
- Do they understand my business
- Do they have experience in handling brand building in the past
- What is the feedback from their past customers?
- What level of support can I expect from them?
- Are they oriented towards goals and have a team dedicated to the betterment of your business.
- Website design
- Brand identity
- Social media management
- Content production
- Email marketing
Are the areas that may prove challenging and in need of attention from outsourced parties. At any point of time, do not get into a contract unless you trust their competency. Brand building is not a onetime exercise and requires constant tweaks to get it right.
4. budgeting to succeed:
Most business fails to realize that a separate budget needs to be allocated to online marketing in order to see great results. The only disadvantage of online marketing is that your ad spends, social media promotions, email marketing strategies, and other promotional efforts may not strike an impact immediately. It takes time to try and test different strategies with different segments of customers.
The budget needs to be flexible in order to accommodate for any shortcomings. Consider online marketing as an investment in the long term basis. You might not see results immediately, but when executed to perfection, you are bound to get multifold returns.
Return is another factor in consideration. If a particular channel is found to give comparatively better value in terms of return on investment on marketing activities, you can use that channel to gain an advantage over competition as well as increase sales.
5. implementation, measurement and control:
Once an online marketing plan is implemented, it gets pretty overwhelming to keep track of all the customer data that comes through. From website traffic data to social media activity, it is imperative that everything is tracked.
Tracking your footfalls is important due to the following reasons:
- You can measure whether you are on the right path to reach the goals you set for yourself.
- It acts as a valuable source of information to segment your customer base
- Promotional activities can be accurately targeted from the information obtained.
- Lesser costs due to targeted campaigns
- Helps you in making necessary changes to the plan
Collection and Analysis of the data can be done in a variety of ways. There are a huge collection of tools dedicated towards performing tracking, monitoring and reporting of your data like Google analytics. Email Campaign reporting helps you to understand segment wise, the open rates and Click through rates.
Once all the data is tracked and measured, they can be analyzed and compared with the original plan you had set. If at any point there is some deviation in the plan, control measures can be taken to rectify the deviation and prevent it from occurring again in the future.