Time was when Internet marketing consisted of having a website, and email address, and not much else. You spread word around and directed people to your site by word-of-mouth, and you’ve got business all year. But that was twenty years ago.
These days, marketing without strategy is like taking an unplanned road trip: without a map, you’re taking chances at every turn and hoping they don’t lead to a dead end. Of course, there’s no start-to-end trajectory in Internet marketing — but keeping these four elements in mind will keep you on the right track.
Let’s face it, 95% of people in online marketing are putting hard-earned money at stake. The best you can do is minimize that risk by arming yourself with information. Acquaint yourself with various marketing techniques, from web design to banner advertising, and the real costs of each one (including potential returns). Then look at your checkbooks and decide how much you’re willing to wager.
The marketing mix
Use your newfound familiarity with marketing techniques to lay down a comprehensive marketing strategy. The marketing mix is like a jigsaw puzzle: some methods are made to fit together and create a much bigger impact. For example, social media marketing can generate traffic to your blog, which in turn refines customer relationships and turns them into potential buyers, who eventually up on your sales page.
Internet marketing, like every aspect of online business, is seldom linear. With millions of businesses in the same boat, you can expect to have your plans thwarted by budget, competition, and changing industry standards. Stay on your toes and be ready to change course as needed. As you get to know your market, you’ll be able to anticipate changes and create effective backup plans.
Tracking your success
Part of being flexible is knowing not just how, but also when to change tactics. Keep an eye on your site traffic and conversions, and take time to study how internet marketing affects the figures. Determine which tactics are well worth your money and which ones aren’t. Eventually, you’ll be able to refine your strategies so that you get more returns with less.