Internet Marketing Strategy to Win
Successful companies in Internet Marketing are tough competitors who have a strong desire to win. They have a written business plan, including an Internet Marketing Strategy Plan section. A strong part of their marketing plan has to be Internet Marketing to compete in today’s business environment.
Even today, at least 7 years after having a website became mandatory, only 1 in 5 companies really take Internet Marketing seriously as part of their lead generation, branding, and customer communications. The 20% that do invest seriously in online marketing are going to be rewarded for many years and be the leaders in their markets. It’s still not too late to catch up if you have the desire and set a solid strategy to achieve your plan.
Is the age of mass media in TV advertising really dead? Not 100%; just look at the cost of Super Bowl ads. If you look at where advertising spending is going though, it’s easy to see that the smart money keeps shifting to the Internet and Mobile Marketing at an amazing pace. Until companies accept the fact that Internet Marketing is the way of the future, they will fail at half-hearted attempts to “get in the race”.
How To Be Successful With Your Internet Marketing Strategy
THE MOST IMPORTANT single criteria to successfully employing Internet Marketing is a burning desire to grow your company. If you have modest growth goals that can be met by doing more of the same, then investing money and energy for a successful online marketing campaign may not be for you. If you have big dreams and aggressive growth goals, then it’s time to add Internet Marketing to the mix with a partner who understands the paths to success.
5 Basics of Internet Marketing Strategy
1. How much do you invest In Internet Marketing?
There are best practices to consider to get started and then once you have determined the ROI of your investment, you can increase or decrease your percentage of Internet Marketing investment to maximize the overall ROI of our marketing program. Today’s overall average is that Business-to-Business companies should invest around 5% of their revenue in marketing. Of that, at least 20% should be invested in Internet Marketing. Each business is unique. Here are some considerations to help you set your initial targets in your Internet Marketing plan.
2. Who do you have perform your Internet Marketing work?
The days where your nephew, as “Webmaster”, or even your IT Department ran Internet Marketing for your company are long gone. The best-of-breed companies that use Internet Marketing to spur impressive growth are taking a strong team approach and working hard to integrate all the moving parts both offline and online. It’s a fast paced industry which means you need an expert in Internet Marketing.
In Internet Marketing, a strong team, working across a variety of skills is necessary to make a successful campaign. One important secret we are sharing here is that you need a “System Integrator” for all the pieces of the Internet Marketing puzzle.
The options are:
- Do-it-yourself, buying the services ala-carte from the best value provider
- Hire an advertising agency or marketing communications/PR firm to integrate both your Internet Marketing and all your other marketing, advertising, and public relations campaigns
- Hire a full-service Internet Marketing company with an in-house technical team and experienced project managers to run your online campaign and have them coordinate with your other marketing activities
With the do-it-yourself option, you are the systems integrator, so you have to train or hire an expert. If you train your own, expect a long learning curve before your integrator has a feel for how all the parts fit together.
An Ad Agency cost can be 3 to 5 times higher than hiring a full service Internet Marketing company and up to 10 times higher than the do-it-yourself approach. Although they are changing quickly, ad agencies are still usually not totally focused on the fast-changing world of Internet Marketing. Their level of true integration is often far below that of a company focused primarily on Internet Marketing.
A full service Internet Marketing company may be the right choice for small or mid-sized companies that can benefit from sharing the resources to get an integrated solution. If you want to really succeed at building a winning Lead Generating machine you will need partners and teammates, not “vendors”. Getting an integrated solution means breaking down team barriers so that marketing, sales, IT, Web development, and online marketing are racing on the same team. Choose your strategy carefully and you will make success happen.
3. What mix of tools do you use for Internet Marketing?
This is the question of how much you focus on paid advertising vs. SEO, or how much Social Media Marketing to invest in. Once you have a partner or a consultant in place, there is significant data online to help you research the best starting point. Each company and market niche is different, so there can’t be any standard answer.
For most companies, the most important thing is to get the basics in place first. That’s a great website, some paid advertising (such as Google Adwords), and start SEO for your important keyword phrases. Once you are making progress, testing is the key to success. Experiment and collect data on what works for you. One of the key advantages of Internet Marketing over more traditional techniques is the abundance of data and therefore the speed of decision-making that is possible.
4. How do you Interface Internet Marketing with Traditional Marketing?
Odds are that you will have different groups performing your Internet Marketing and your more traditional marketing campaigns. There is tremendous leveraging available if these are coordinated. Metrics can be gathered if you drive traffic from your print ads to your website landing pages. Tracking phone numbers can be used across both types of campaigns for improved ROI determination. A print ad can link to a product video via a QR code. The opportunities are endless.
A key point is that the two groups are not “naturally” going to work together. A key part of your Internet Marketing plan has to be the processes you are going to use to integrate online and offline marketing.
5. Goals and Metrics
These have to flow down from your Business Plan and your overall Marketing Plan. Internet Marketing has a tremendous amount of data available and lends itself to much more exact ROI determination than most traditional marketing methods. Choosing the right goals and metrics is critical work. Get this right and you will focus the entire team on pulling in the same direction, one that will grow your company.
Goals and metrics can’t be handed down from another company. Each one is unique and for metrics, they have to be tailored to where you are in the process. When you first start Internet Marketing, you may just want “activity” based metrics to be sure that work is getting done. With maturity you will want more “results” based metrics that are more directly tied to your business goals. The end result should always be an ongoing calculation of Return on Investment. ROI is the metric we use to measure our contribution to our client’s growth.