If you talk to enough businesses that are marketing online, you’ll find that there are as many ways to approach online marketing as their are businesses. That’s good. Diversity is a great thing.
However, not all online marketing approaches are created equal. There are a variety of approaches, but we endorse two. Which method works for you depends a lot on
- the type of business you have
- the stage of your business growth
- the size of your business
- and your business goals
Let’s look at the two ways to approach online marketing plans.
The ‘From the Ground Up’ Plan
Many entrepreneurs and solo-preneurs allow their businesses to develop naturally. You look for opportunities to network with the people you want to do business with and seek them out through social media, write articles that draw your ideal customer to your business, and you pivot based on the clientele you attract and your ever-changing business goals.
There’s nothing wrong with this approach if you are building a consulting-type business or you are a solo entrepreneur defining your business as you go. But it’s not altogether efficient. The other method of developing an online marketing plan is preferred if you have a defined customer and you have specific set goals.
Your Strategic Marketing Plan
A strategic marketing plan is based on your business’s established goals. You know where you want to go, who your ideal customer is, and where to find those customers. All you need to do is determine once and for all how you are going to market those customers. What channels will you use? How much money will you spend? Who will be involved in the marketing?
A strategic marketing plan’s success is contingent on a few necessary pre-steps. Laying the groundwork, if you will. Here’s what you have to do:
- Take inventory of your business assets
- Define your USP
- Establish customer personas
- Map out your sales channels
- Envision your sales funnels
- Determine your budget
The steps do not have to take place in this order, but these steps are important in determining who your customers are, where they hang out, and how you should reach them.
When it comes to a strategic marketing plan, don’t leave anything to chance. Plan it, then work it.