Online Marketing Planning

online marketing campaign

Ongoing, integrated online marketing as a part of a good overall marketing strategy is what you want for your business. One part of that, however, can be a specific marketing campaign for a promotion, a seasonal push, or another special focus for your company. Here’s a step by step method for planning an online marketing campaign for your business. Our example is a new campaign we’re working on for a new office supply ecommerce site.

Step I: Choose a focus.

Sometimes that focus is obvious: an event or a new product you have coming up, Back to School or Christmas, your company’s 10-year anniversary.

Sometimes it’s not so obvious. You know it’s time to get an email sent out so you could randomly choose a topic and let it go at that. When you do that, you’re missing out on opportunities. Instead, put a little time into research.

You know your customers and your primary keywords. Check your analytics for previous years to see the kinds of searches that were most popular in the time period you’ve chosen for your campaign. Now use Google Insights and Google Trends to see what the trending topics are in relation to your keywords. If you have information and insights from offline experience, include those as well.

For our example, we saw that green cleaning products are a breakout topic in searches at Google, we see Earth Day coming up, and we know that the company has these products. The manufacturer of the products has some handy marketing materials we can use to reduce the time involved in putting the campaign together, too. We have our focus!

Step 2: Develop a Strategy

We want our campaign to bring traffic and drive sales. We want it to strengthen our website with links, to grow our house list,  and to help us increase our social media reach. Since this is a new website, we also want to get some good data to work with. Your campaign might have some additional goals, from improving brand perception to getting rid of those leftover flyers in the back room.

Note that all of these are goals for your business. The strategic goals of your campaign should never be things internal to the campaign, like a certain click-through rate or “a really cool banner.” Those are goals, but not the primary strategic goals of the campaign.

The tactics will depend on your budget, your prior experience with similar campaigns, and your target audience. A very likely set of options for online marketing:

  • blogging
  • PPC or banner ads
  • social media
  • email blast
  • linkbuilding
  • multimedia content

Step 3: Content, Content, Content

We need a great landing page for our ads and emails, some relevant linkbait for our linkbuilding on the subject, good stuff to put in our emails and social media posts, and posts and pages for our website. We may also need ad copy and images. This is where the cost comes in. For our example, we were able to take advantage of some marketing materials from vendors, but there’s no substitute for good content. Make the investment, and then do enough with your great new content to ensure a good ROI.

Step 4: Set up the Metrics

You must figure out how to track the results of your campaign. Your email blast can include trackable links. Your ads should take visitors to a trackable landing page. You should be measuring the reach and level of engagement of your social media efforts.

For green cleaning products, we’ll be able to watch the effects on the sales of specific products. You can’t do this with a more general initiative: you can’t, for example, judge whether people bought more Mother’s Day flowers because you did a Mother’s Day campaign or because it was Mother’s Day.

You also want to be able to know which part of your campaign converted the best. That is, if you saw the most traffic from your social media efforts and the longest stays from PPC ads, but those who came from your email newsletter were most likely to buy, you’ll know how best to allocate your resources in future.

Step 5: Connect the Dots

Unless you’re running a test and don’t care about traffic or sales at this point, connect your various tactics as much as possible. The email that includes a video which encourages visitors to go to an article on your website which they can share at social media sites where you’ll make a point of communicating with those who share — as you can see, each element of the campaign can support the other elements.

For this campaign, we’ll use a series of related email flyers, blog posts, social media, and banner ads on the website. We’ll request links in green directories and join in the discussions at green business sites. This well help position the company as a thought leader in this area and help them stand out in the minds of new visitors.

The result should be a successful campaign — and continuing benefits in terms of search and a growing customer base.

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