How to design a winning online marketing strategy

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Image courtesy of Oliver Tacke at Flickr.com

Designing an online marketing strategy is a task that requires lots of time for research and lots of time to design something that really fits the goals that you and your brand have.

Business goals are more important than marketing goals

A strategy is the “how to” of the marketing goals and business goals that your brand has, so you should have these very clear in order to later prepare something which is completely customized to your situation. When it comes to tactics, these should answer the questions “when”, “where” and “who”.

Budget

Not only do you have to be clear about what you want, we also recommend you to have an idea of the budget that you have in order to execute your strategy, even if it’s just an estimate. There are some pretty cool strategies, but they require lots of money to become a reality. When we’re talking about a budget you can also count the most qualitative parts alongside the quantitative ones, for instance:

  • Hours available with your marketing team
  • Tools that are available for you to design and implement your strategy
  • Available resources, such as a blog
  • Budget for creating the strategy
  • Budget for implementing and distributing the content strategy

Even though it might sound like a lie, the fact that you have a small budget makes the best ideas flow, so don’t be discouraged if your budget isn’t huge.

Analyze your situation

Think about what you have or what you have accomplished with your brand in actions of the past before thinking about creating new things. Perhaps your strategy is based on improving what you already have, but you won’t know it until you do this analysis. You will also have to think about other interesting things such as what is happening in your brand’s environment and what are your competitors doing.

Your audience

Even though each brand has a predetermined target, not all the strategies work for all kinds of audiences, here’s a couple of examples:

  • Marketing goal: Attract new customers to your online store
  • Strategy: Implement Facebook ads to take potential customers to the website
  • Audience: Segmentation with parameters of the brand’s audience, but only for those who are not customers and perhaps not even followers of the brand

And another example:

  • Marketing goal: Increase the sales of current customers
  • Strategy: Implement Facebook ads for the store’s customers
  • Audience: A campaign directed exclusively to users who are customers. With Facebook’s customizable audiences you can import the email addresses of your customers and focus the campaign only on them.
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Image courtesy of Esther Vargas at Flickr.com

If you ask yourself the following questions and the answer is positive, then the strategy you’ve designed has a good chance of being successful:

  • Do you believe that your strategy will truly connect with your audience and end up in conversions? Basically, do you believe that they will share those contents or they will simply click to learn more?
  • Is the budget that you designed really correct or could you do it investing less?
  • Does the strategy you designed have metrics that will help you in the analysis of conversions? It is very important for you to have a clear idea of how to analyze the return on investment of your strategy.
  • Do you have a team that is capable of executing your strategy? Everything looks pretty when we put it on paper, but execution is a completely different matter.
  • Is your strategy adapted to the current situation of your brand and the environment in general?
  • Are you completely certain that your strategy helps your organization meet their marketing goals?
  • Is the conversion place for your strategy optimized? For instance, if you want to increase sales, you will have to make this raise easy by having an optimized store.
  • Is your strategy focused on one or many channels? Regardless of your decision, there are strategies for a single channel, the problem is when you have multiple channels and you just copy and paste the same content in all of them.
  • Is the copywriting in your strategy clear and concise? Your intentions have to be very clear when it comes to transmitting a message, otherwise it will be very hard for you to have an effective conversation with your audience.
  • Do you have many formats to communicate your strategy? Forget about limiting yourself to only one kind of content, you will have to try to generate different formats to make your message reach everybody.
  • Have you defined a budget to distribute the contents of your strategy? If you don’t invest in your contents, nobody else will.
  • Do you have a way of monitoring your strategy every day to see if it’s actually working? Sometimes, with simple tools, that monitoring process is possible. Just make sure you have the equipment and the tools to do this.

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