Marketing Plan – Every Online Business Needs One!

If you know anything about internet marketing than you know that it’s not as simple as creating a website and making it popular. To make money online from a website you need to spend a lot of time and effort on building that website. But without some marketing plan your business never will be booming.

What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a document where you describe in detail the actions you need to take to achieve a certain marketing goal. You can make a plan for a product, brand or service. Normally the marketing plan is part of your overall business plan. In the marketing plan you not only make a list of actions but you also outline a long-term (between one to four years) marketing strategy. Without a good marketing strategy the plan is of no use.

An example of an action you describe in a marketing plan for an online business: “Only offer low cost products to attract visitors. Once the business has grown and has established a relationship with the consumers, our business will try to up-sell higher margin products.”

What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a well thought out strategy or tactics to make a marketing plan more effective. The marketing strategies are used to reach a certain objectives (goals) that you also have outlined in the marketing plan. Note: marketing strategies are dynamic and interactive, so they may change during implementation or execution.

An example for a new internet business that is selling scarves:

Objective: Create a trustworthy, web presence that attracts potential new customers.
Positioning Statement: “scarves-online.com” offers custom-designed scarves for ladies who want to stand out. Our attractive, one-of-a-kind products are made by a team of specialists.
Strategy 1: Develop a web site that effectively reflects the main positioning statement.
Strategy 2: Build web site awareness in ways that instil trust.
Strategy 3: Reach and interest potential online customers: “Ladies who want to stand out.”

As you can see, the strategies are also described in a little cryptic way, because the specific tactics per strategy are described in a separated section.

What are Marketing Tactics?
Marketing tactics are detail ways to achieve a described strategy. For instance the second strategy of the example above could have the following marketing tactics:

  1. Join/register with local organizations such as Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.
  2. Pursue online accreditations such as BBBOnline, iCOP, and Truste.org.
  3. Participate in woman oriented groups: Online forums and Civic organizations.
  4. Support charities.
  5. Conduct fundraisers and announce with press releases, with more info on the web site.

Conclusion

As you can see a marketing plan can be very useful. Normally its part of the business plan, but you can also make one without a business plan. The goal is that you think about how you market your product or service by putting it on paper. It will only take a few hours of your week, so give it a go!

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