Small Business Websites

Create a Website Marketing Plan

Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures

For many affiliate marketers, finding the commitment and time to develop an internet marketing plan is not easy. There are many other commitments competing for our attention that strategies eventually get pushed aside. However, ignoring strategies puts your business at a disadvantage. How do you go about creating an effective website marketing plan?

A general marketing strategy is the compass which gives you direction.

As your business environment changes or as opportunities arise, the marketing strategies and objective in your plan will direct you to the best action. In the absence of a strategic plan, you may become unfocused in your marketing, leading to decisions based on guess work.

To be effective, your website marketing strategy should be part of the general business marketing plan. By matching online marketing with offline marketing, you are more likely to achieve general company objectives. In addition, you will reflect a consistent message and style at all times to your target audience.

The focus of your strategy will partially be determined by the status of your site. If you already have an existing site, your plan could focus only on marketing issues. However, if you have a site needing improvement, your marketing efforts should be focused on incorporating website enhancements with the strategy. If you do not have a site at all, you can build one while developing a marketing strategy, with your plan focusing on the site's launch. However, remember that your strategies, tactics and objectives will change as your focus and situation change.

A website marketing plan is the same as a business marketing plan, but with a narrower focus. The website plan is focused on internet marketing programs and strategy while the business marketing plan encompasses the whole business. Just like any marketing plan, the website plan includes developing tactics and strategies that, when carried out, will enable achievement of marketing goals.

The objective is concerned with the 'big picture'. If your business's main challenge is finding out how to use the website to enhance client business, for example, your objective for the website marketing plan could be "To improve online client service and build site interest and awareness with clients".

The marketing strategy should support your objective. The strategy outlines general approaches you will use to achieve your objective. For instance, strategies to support the objective above could include; 1) build interest in and awareness of your business on the internet, 2) to improve online information, education and communication, 3) to inform existing clients of the website's presence and advantages.

A marketing tactic is the place of action. Also called action plans or marketing programs, these are the actions you will take to make your marketing strategies a reality. Tactics for the second strategy above could include 1) providing an email newsletter, 2) sharing observations and experience in your industry through online forums, 3) submitting/listing you site to directories and search engines.

By carrying out marketing programs that are in line with your website's objective and marketing strategies, you enhance your chance of success in business.

Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.

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