7 Steps to Creating a Successful Online Strategic Marketing Plan

Just because the Internet is free, wide-open territory doesn’t mean you can take a haphazard approach to an online strategic marketing plan.

In fact, business planning is particularly important online where the wide variety of virtual strategic marketing methods and tools can quickly become overwhelming, time consuming, and even expensive.

Here are 7 ways to avoid falling into this trap and to ensure that your online strategic marketing plan is a success:

1. Start with a solid strategic marketing plan.

It sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised to know that very few businesses actually sit down and develop a plan of attack before getting online.

By putting pen to paper first and covering the key points (such as defining your audience, figuring out the top ways to reach them online, learning how your competitors are approaching the online space, and so on) early in the game, you’ll be well-prepared to take on the Web.

2. Educate yourself about Internet marketing.

Setting up a website and a few social networking accounts on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook sounds simple enough, but a successful strategic marketing plan takes more than that.

Spend some time looking at what works and what doesn’t (by reading blogs, websites, reader feedback to blogs, and news about online marketing, for example) and model your approach around those strategies that actually pay off.

3. Boil down your choices.

It may look like some companies have dipped their toes into every possible online  strategic marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean you have to jump in feet first.

Boil down your choices to two or three good options and integrate them into your overall marketing plan.

4. Test, test, test.

In the offline world you would test out new marketing approaches and hone your strategy around their successes (or failures).

This same testing philosophy applies online, where methods that don’t work should be eradicated in favor of those options that actual produce results.

5. Pick a niche and stick with it.

In the online world, it’s all too tempting to try to be “everything to everyone.”

After all, you’ll probably find potential customers online from all corners of the world—and places you’ve never been able to reach in the past. Remember to stick with your niche by finding potential customers who need your products and/or services to solve specific problems.

6. Hit that niche with good keywords.

Once you’ve picked your niches, use a keyword campaign (either through organic search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, or a combination of the two) that will attract customers.

Tip: Find keywords that your customers are searching for but that have low competition (to enhance your chances of being ranked high on search engines like Google).

7. Continually hone your online marketing plan.

Assess and evaluate your plan on a monthly basis, and remove any techniques or strategies that aren’t working and replace them with new options.

Through continual honing, you’ll be able to improve your online strategic marketing approach and ensure its success.

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