This is a guest post by Mr. Jason Capshaw. I always say you need a plan and an end-goal in mind with your business, even if a loose one and this holds true for your Internet marketing strategy as well.
Some solid advice, so please make him feel welcome in the comments below!
I went into my first meeting with a respected computer hardware company to discuss their internet marketing plan.
They had relied on good ole’ fashion marketing techniques to grow their business into a respectable company with more than 100 million dollars in inventory.
They had been previously burned by a web design and SEO agency.
With an uphill battle within the company, I agreed to take an internet marketing contract that totaled around $500,000 per year. During our negotiations, I failed miserably to manage expectations and define a clear internet marketing strategy.
I am a “fly by the seat of my pants kinda guy” and communicating long term plans does not come naturally to me.
The contract began and I believed we made some important improvements, however I quickly learned that what the CEO and I considered important differed wildly, resulting in the contract being terminated six months early.
Even though the main point of contention was over the time frame it would take to see positive results in SEO, I realized that I had to do a better job of creating an actionable internet marketing plan to guide me and my clients into the future.
As a result, these are the five steps I developed when undertaking a new project…
#1 Create a Long Term Vision for the Web Property
If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there? It is important to have a clearly defined vision for the project or you may find yourself working against other stakeholders and being tossed around in the wind never actually accomplishing anything besides aimless activity.
Lets say that you are preparing to launch a school supply ecommerce Web property. Your vision may be “To sell our products to school teachers, administrators, and home schoolers through ecommerce”.
It seems simple enough, and almost a given. However, another stakeholder in the project may have expected that the site simply be a lead generation site instead of ecommerce. These types of conflicts should be resolved before the project begins. Even if you don’t have other stakeholders, you need to resist the urge to change your strategy mid stream on a whim, a vision will help keep you on course.
From the time you solidify your vision, every other action must be in line with your stated purpose. If the activity your are undertaking does not make significant strides in accomplishing your vision, just don’t undertake that activity.
#2 Create Specific Long Term Goals
It is important that you be able to measure your success over time. Goal setting allows you to see your progress and make adjustments to your overall strategy as you move forward.
Here are a couple of goals for our school supply ecommerce site:
- Own 5% online market share
- Have a 60% customer retention rate
- Do three million dollars in sales per year within three years
Now that you know what your long term goals are, you can began working on the short term goals to see how you will get there.
#3 Create Short Term Goals
Short term goals provide you with more detailed aspects to your internet marketing campaign. Your tasks lists are going to be comprised from your short term goals. Each goal should have a time frame associated with it and be easy to understand and measure.
In our example, we may want to:
- Rank organically on the first page of Google, Yahoo! and Bing within six months for “Discounted School Supplies”
- Rank for more 500 different keywords organically within six months
- Attain a conversion rate of 5% within six months
- Have a 50% return on investment for PPC within six months
- Create an email marketing campaign for existing customers that results in 25% customer retention within six months
#4 Create a Key Performance Indicator Report
All though you have not begun work on accomplishing any of your objectives, you need to understand how and when you are going to measure them. That is why I set up all reporting for the project before I begin any work.
Your reporting should speak to all of your short term goals. Start with your first goal and determine the best method of reporting. Our first goal is to rank for “Discounted School Supplies”. Ranking software that measures progress over time will work well for this objective.
The second objective, number of keywords sending traffic, can be measured in Google Analytics using the keywords report. The conversion rate goal is going to require you set up analytics software to measure conversion rates. The PPC goal is also going to require specific configurations in order to measure. Setting up these measurements ahead of time will save you frustration at a later date.
#5 Create an Actionable To Do List
This is where the rubber meets the road. You have to create and prioritize your tasks based on what is most important to each goal. These tasks can be entered into a project plan or schedule and acted upon everyday.
You will find that each task will probably have to broken down into multiple or daily tasks.
Ranking for “Discounted School Supplies”:
- SEO site audit
- Keyword research
- Navigation page rank flow analysis
- Home page content creation
- Link building
- Research link bait ideas
- Create social media competition
The more tasks you have in your list, the more you will get accomplished. My task lists easily grow to 10 or more pages before I ever begin work. I am as specific as possible so that I won’t forget important steps. Plus, there is a mental advantage to being able to check off items you have accomplished.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment and I will do my best to respond quickly.
If you liked this post or found it useful, as always shares are appreciated! 🙂 And if you’ve comments please drop them in the comments section below, let’s get a convo going!