Small Business Tips for Developing an Online Marketing Plan

When it comes to starting and growing your small business, it’s better to have a plan and deviate from it than to have no plan at all. After all, how do you know where you are going and realize you’ve arrived, if you don’t have a destination in mind or a map to show the way?

The best results come from online marketing that is planned in advance. To brand your company, you must use an integrated campaign that utilizes social media, search engine marketing and more. Here are my tips for creating an online wordpress marketing plan to be used as a guide to success – or deciding if you need an internet marketing consultant to create this tool for you.

What is Included in an Online Marketing Plan?

Is an online marketing plan different from your overall marketing strategy? In some ways, yes, although today many entrepreneurs simply focus on internet strategies rather than relying on print, radio and other types of media. So in some instances, they may be one and the same.

Your online marketing plan should consider several key components. At the very least it should include: a monthly/annual budget, a SWOT (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats) analysis, a definition of your target market(s), an overview of what media will work best to reach your target market and a way to track results.

So, you might determine that your accounting firm, for instance, needs to develop its professional image. The next step is to come up with a theme for your campaign which includes a custom tag line, perhaps a special offer and always a specific call to action. Determine what keywords are most important and devise several short headlines that succinctly convey your message.

What if your ideal customers are women over the age of 30 who are small business owners in the Midwest? In order to pique their interest, you may want your campaign to focus on the year-long value of hiring an accounting agency. In order to reach them, you will need to develop a strong Facebook and LinkedIn presence – and you may want to start a Pinterest account, too. A Google PPC campaign targeting specific keywords related to the preferred geographic area would be helpful, as well.

Further Considerations

In order to make your online marketing strategy work, you simply must have one or more people in your organization dedicated to starting and maintaining specific campaigns and tracking the results in order to determine what’s working and what’s not.

If you don’t have someone with enough time to dedicate to your marketing project, then it may be in your best interests to hire an internet marketing consultant. There is really no point in setting up social media accounts, PPC campaigns, banner ads and the like if your goal is to simply set it, then forget it. Internet marketing is a dynamic, constantly evolving form of advertising and branding your business. Unlike other forms of media, it must be constantly updated, responded to, changed, tweaked, reviewed.

Having an online marketing plan in place provides a road map of where your business is currently positioned and where it needs to go. As the plan is developed, you may just identify opportunities and threats you might have overlooked or find a new, under-served target market. It’s a valuable process and a dynamic tool that every entrepreneur needs to do business in the digital age.