Well, its the beginning of a new year and we are already through the first month. What goals did you have set for the first quarter? Are you successfully executing the steps towards achieving these goals? If you are a business owner or marketer, you may have decided to begin some new Internet marketing strategies. If not, you will fall way behind your competition (your online and offline competition). Even if you have current Internet marketing strategies, they may no doubt need some adjustments to remain competitive.
The days of having an effortless online presence are over. If your company is not taking the importance of a powerful Internet presence seriously, you are in for a rude awakening. So many companies out there still use their website as a refernce tool that they casually direct people to. Often times it is just an online brochure or micro site. If you are still operating with this kind of web presence, consumers will place less relevance on your business instantly. If they can’t find you in the search engines after reading about your company or seeing some kind of offline media, you will most likely lose potential customers.
Many business owners who have finally begun to understand how imperative a solid Internet marketing strategy is, are still not willing to put a realistic budget towards impleneting it. Internet marketing is not like placing media or buying advertising. You are literally investing in the future of your business and growth potential of your brand. The returns will be far reaching and long lasting.
Online marketing is also not something that should be looked at as a “we’ll put a small budget towards it and see how it goes” kind of effort. I am not saying you have to spend tons of money either, but it has to be realistic based on the competiveness of your industry and how active your competitors are online. The bottom line is that it is still far more cost effective than print media or other traditional marketing and the results reach far more consumers. All companies these days are trying to figure out how to most wisely spend their marketing budgets (that have no doubt been slashed) and need to justify ever penny. The only way to do that is to engage in measurable online marketing efforts that have a specified ROI.
Here are the questions you need to be asking yourself. If you are a bit behind the power curve, do not worry! It is never too late to begin and a professional Internet marketing company can help you implement all the efforts that will transform your business in 2009!
- What kind of sales volume did my industry generate last year and how much of it was from online efforts?
- What are my competitors doing online and how effective does it seem to be?
- Who are my “online” competitors”? (this may be different than your offline competitors)
- What do I need to do to gain more market share, both offline and online?
Answering these four questions will get you started in the right direction. Once you have this information, the work is just begnning! It would be a good recommendation to seek out an Internet marketing company that has experience in related fields and work with them to develop a strategy. These strategies could include some or all of the following services: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Par Per Click Advertisiing (PPC), Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, etc. Of course, before you start any of this you need to do an internal “Internet marketing audit”. This audit should incude the following questions:
- What kind of website do I have right now and is it fulfilling my needs in any way?
- What kind of website traffic does it receive?
- How many pages does my site have?
- Did the company who built my site construct it with SEO in mind?
- How many inbound links does the site have?
- What kind of digital assets does my company have that could be useful? (videos, streaming media, etc.)
- What kind of email database do I have and are we using it to target and retarget our consumers?
- If we have used SEO or PPC in the past, was it effective?
When you answer these questions you will quickly be able to determine how much work you will have to do and how long it will take to achieve results. Many companies go through this process and realize they have a great head start! Find out where your current Internet marketing capability is and create a plan to help reach its full potential…because I can guarantee some of your competitors are!