With 2015 fast approaching now is the time to start planning and documenting what your online marketing strategy looks like for the next 12 months. An online marketing strategy needs to address the key goals of your business while exploring the methods and technologies you will implement to achieve them. Here we will look at three key areas to form the backbone of a marketing strategy followed by the final element which will join everything together.
1. Social Media
The most popular and widely used platforms, Facebook and Twitter, are now 10 and 8 years old respectively so it’s about time a clear and defined strategy is in place for both. But it’s also time to start thinking seriously about the other platforms available to you: Instagram, YouTube, Google Plus, Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine to name a few. Each platform has a wealth of engaged users, so explore how they could be relevant to your business. If you have a clothing brand make sure you are showcasing your latest products on Instagram for example.
2015 Key Task – Review what platforms your business has a presence on and which platforms you could join to provide value to your customers. Being active and engaged on 2/3 platforms is much better than having a dormant profile on 7/8.
2. Email Marketing
Your email inbox can be a frustrating place. On a daily basis you can receive anywhere between 10-20 emails offering you 10% off, free next day delivery or unfortunately spam email. With only some of it relevant to your needs the performance of email marketing declined several years ago.
With the rise of smartphones, mobile friendly websites and the growth of m-commerce, email marketing has become incredibly useful again. In the ever connected world we live in, your customers are literally glued to their phones 24/7. So take advantage of this by sending them relevant and timely email campaigns that you know they will read. Create short, time sensitive deals that customers simply can’t ignore. Alert them to an upcoming event or sale.
You have a wealth of data on every customer that makes a purchase or enquires about your services online – it’s how you use this data that is important.
2015 Key Task – Segment your data and create smart and targeted email lists to generate sales from your email list. Has your customer just purchased a new bathroom suite? Target them with an email promoting your bathroom accessories and measure the effectiveness of this campaign.
The most important element of all. Your website needs to reflect your brand, your values and the products/services you sell. If your customers don’t have a good first experience on your website there is a high probability that they won’t return. If you don’t currently have a mobile friendly website take a look at your analytics and explore how many users visit your website on a smartphone and how many of these mobile users immediately leave your site.
Make sure your website is easy to use and your customers can find the key information in as few clicks as possible. If your company blog is only accessible by visiting 4/5 pages beforehand then it needs to be moved and mace accessible on the homepage or in the top navigation for example.
Your homepage is your prime real estate so make sure the most valuable parts of your business are on display. Whether it is a key product that you have in stock or simply your main service you offer, your customers can be influenced in their purchase decision by what they see on your homepage.
2015 Key Task – Create a content plan to ensure you have lots of content/products to update your website with on a regular basis. Whether this is through regular blog articles or a sales plan, it is important not to leave your website the same for several months at a time.
4. Analytics and Tracking
The most important element of all is to analyse and track all three of the above. Analysing which channels are generating the most enquiries, traffic or sales is crucial to assign a ROI value or to provide an insight to which of your marketing efforts are working effectively. Without correct tracking in place (via Google analytics or other tracking software) it will be difficult to understand which marketing methods are working for your business.