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Introduction to Online marketing strategy


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This is an introduction to online marketing strategy, which you can use to enhance your business.

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Introduction to Online marketing strategy

  1. 1. Online Marketing Strategy   This document has been written to act as a guide for companies to help understand what is involved in online marketing and offer some suggestions on effective techniques to improve your strategy. Written by James Lever ( January 2012 About the Author James Lever, started his career in Web as an MD of a digital agency in 2000, and operated that for 5 years, since then he has worked with different companies providing IT and e-commerce services. James has lots of experience with working withImage Source: online marketing and understands what motivates customers. He offers consultancy to companies looking to expand their business through effective   IT strategy. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  2. 2. Online MarketingOnline marketing is all about promoting your product, service By the end of 2011 there were 2.1 billion internet usersor information to an online audience. It’s sometimes referred worldwide, 476.2 million in as web marketing, internet marketing or e-marketing. It is 800+ million users on Facebookin principle any marketing that is performed digitally. 225 million Twitter accountsThe most common online marketing activities are; 250 million tweets per day 1 trillion video playbacks on YouTube Search Engine Marketing (SEM) & Search Engine 3.146 billion email accounts worldwide Optimisation (SEO) 555 million web sites (of which 300 million were added in Link Building 2011) Affiliate Referrals Banner Advertising Video Advertising Emailing Social media Mobile apps Microsites Stats as per Jan 17th 2012: Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  3. 3. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)Search engine marketing is focused on increasing the visibility of a At the end of 2011, there were 555 million web sites in the in a search engine by using paid ad placement, typically, PayPer Click or Pay Per Impression advertising SEO is about enhancing the content and structure of your site, so it naturally appears on the 1st page for specific phrases or keywords.If you have the budget you can instantly advertise on various sitesby paying a fee based upon a certain quantity of exposure Consumers rarely click on links past the first page, so it’s important(impressions) or by paying a certain value when someone clicks for your business that your site is listed on the 1st page.on your link. The most common search engines are Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask,These are a good way to promote something for a short period of AOL as well as others. Although Google has the largest markettime, but it can be expensive to maintain longer term. share (85%) its worth considering the others too.By looking at your content and how your site is structured you can, Once your site has been listed in a search engine, it will be visitedwith time achieve top results naturally without needing to enter a by a bot (a computer program for gathering data) it will try tobidding war to be in the top 3. gather as much information as it can read/access however it often only extracts the important information and uses this for theirGoogle Adwords, Yahoo Advertising, AOL Advertising, and index/search results.Microsoft AdCentre are examples of SEM networks. The choice of headlines, content, metadata and page names will affect what phrases or words are indexed, and subsequently whether your site will be presented to the user looking for products/services that you provide. Market Share Stats Source: %20Global&qptimeframe=M&qpsp=120&qpnp=25 Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  4. 4. There are lots of factors that affect search engine results: Link Building o Is your content relevant to the page title and headings Web search engines such as Google rank your site to determine o Do you have a sitemap? (is it in XML) and robots.txt file? how relevant your content is. They also consider how well you are o Is your HTML structure well formatted? linked to other sites. Having your site linked from good quality sites o Is your site syntactically valid? will increase your ranking and provide another source for o Do you use inline tags that do not meeting current customers to discover your product or service online. standards? (i.e. does your HTML use <font> tags?) o Is your copy written in a good SEO focused way? Link Building is about finding quality sites, and providing quality o Do you have quality links from other (ranked) sites? copy to online editors and directories who can promote your o Do you have back links to relevant sections of your site? business. o Is your site dependent on the user performing a search to return results? Affiliate Referrals o Where is your website hosted? Is your site fast? Affiliate referrals are a good way to encourage linking. InThere are lots of tools to check how your site performs and how a exchange for someone publishing a link you agree to offer them asearch engine looks at the information on-page. Some useful tools commission on the sale, such as 2-10% of the sale price. Thisare; The W3C Markup Validator, Google Page Speed, SEO setup isn’t that difficult to implement, however I would recommendBrowser, Spiderview as well as Google’s webmastertools you approve the sites that are offering/publishing your site.Your content should be relevant, informative and trustworthy. The Affiliate companies such as TradeDoubler, Affiliate Window, andhighest ranked web sites are often sites, which are fast, have good Commission Junction are well known agencies for handling affiliatelinks from quality sources and provide detailed information. links for e-commerce sites, they are effective, however they often charge a monthly fee and require a fairly high commissionTip: Some companies have content that has just been written for search engines, structure to be effective.they containing a random quantity of keywords. This is not good practice, theperson who clicks through will almost definitely leave, so its wasted effort to try tocheat the system. Write your content for the users who it is intended for. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  5. 5. Banner Advertising Video AdvertisingBanner advertising is an effective way of getting someone’s Video advertising is often not considered in an online marketingattention, In a graphical form you can promote your business, strategy. There are over 200 million videos viewed each month,brand or service via an animated flash advert or a static banner and on average a user spends 25 minutes on the site on 14which can appear on various web sites. separate occasions.You can also use Behavoural Marketing / smart advertising by There are two methods of promoting products using video.combining temporary tracking information to show products yourvisitors have been looking at within an advert, reminding them of 1. Become a content provider by uploading unique contentthe items they’ve looked at and encouraging them to return. promoting your product and/or service. 2. By paying for advertising space either at the beginning orBanner Ads are best used to promote a brand, or a specific end of someone else’s video – much like a TV Advert.product launch. Publishing Video ContentNetworks such as DoubleClick, ValueClick, Burst Media, andadbrite provide banner advertising, these are often charged by Publishing content on YouTube or Vimeo costs nothing; you canimpression (how many times they are shown), and per click. sign up and create an account today, create a channel and start uploading videos. Think of YouTube like Google but only for videos, if you’re not listed on it, how will its users find out about you? Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  6. 6. Video grabs people’s attention, it’s about your product and/or This type of marketing is good for brand building and sales.service, if kept short and informative your viewer will be immersed By integrating video content with social media you can encourageand want to find out more. people to share your video clips, and in doing so they promote your video to their friends, who might in turn do the same, Shopping channels on TV work because people tune in increasing your online audience. because they’re interested, they are almost brain washed into thinking that they cannot live without this product. I Pre-Roll Video Advertising must have it. If you don’t have a specific product or service you canIf you have a product or service, you can promote it in video. Think demonstrate in a video, or need to advertise your product or brandof how your product or service would benefit the user and talk quickly and to a large audience, you might want to consider a pre-about it, demonstrate it – try to make it a mix of information and roll advert, which would be played on someone else’s video.sales. These are usually 5 seconds – 20 seconds long and are presentedYouTube users don’t want to watch ads all day, they are often like a TV commercial.looking for something specific, so consider what they might wantand produce your video to help them achieve their goal. Google Video Ads, SpotExchange, AdTech, AdJuggler are examples of video ad placement networks. o How to make a perfect cheesecake with our cake tin o How to decorate your home using our fabrics o 10 paces you should visit in Rome Tip: The quality of the video represents the quality of your o Top tips on applying make up business. Ensure that it is well produced and professionally edited. o How my service can save you time, or money You don’t want to be known as the company that published a really bad video with poor sound.Always end the video with your brand, and where to go to get moreinformation. Youtube stats provided here; Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  7. 7. Email Using an email-marketing service can often give you moreEmail is probably the earliest type of online marketing; its very features, such as a solution where you can send further e-shots toeffective and done well can reinforce your brand and remind your only those people who have responded to a previous e-shot.customer of your site. If you can integrate some customer profiling on your site you can 3 months ago I visited your site and bought something, I start to consider tailoring every email so that you only show liked your site and visited it a few times. Today I can’t recall relevant products to your customer base by focusing the email on who I bought that those things from. the products they have looked at. Consumers are busy people and unlike a high street, we’re not reminded of your online brand every day. Email Tips 1. Don’t email your customers too often; you might start losingA monthly or weekly email reminds people of your brand and your customers/leads faster than you gain them.products or services. It reminds the customer that you are a 2. Spend time properly designing your email, focusing on aserious business. specific product/service for a specific target audience. 3. Check your ISP’s T&Cs, they may only allow you to bulkIf you don’t have a mailing list then now would be a good time to email 1000 people, exceeding this might get your domainstart asking your customers that important question: “would you flagged for spam, or potentially cease your email to receive updates about new products and offers?” 4. If you use Outlook be careful not to email your customer email addresses to everyone in the list. You took time toA simple bulk email is easy to send but it doesn’t give you any build that list, don’t accidently give it to your competitors.indication of how successful it was, or doesn’t give the user the 5. Make the subject of the email relevant, and change it on aability to unsubscribe, which is important. regular basis.For a better solution, there are dedicated e-shot companies who Mailchimp, dotMailer and pure360 are examples of companiescan provide metrics on how many people received the e-shot, who provide email-marketing services that can address thewhether they read it and whether they clicked on a link. technical problems above. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  8. 8. Social Media If you haven’t already done so, reward users for liking your page.Social media has been around since before 2000 in the form of For people to opt-in or ‘like’ your page, you need to offer themforums and blogs; it wasn’t until a few years later that Facebook something in exchange.and twitter made social media what it is today. Common Facebook M istakesSocial media is all about user generated content and the ability forpeople to express themselves and for their friends and/or Some companies setup a personal account for theircommunity to reply/comment. company. Your company should be a ‘Page’. A page is public and doesn’t require you to administer friendIt’s a two-way environment, many companies fail to realise this. requests, you also have more control.Facebook Don’t create a page and then forget about it. I’ve visited many company pages, some never send out messages;With over 800 million users, Facebook is the largest social network some have complaints posted without any present. By appearing on this network you will have a good wayof building a community based around your brand or product. If you want to market your product via Facebook ensure that you set aside time daily to maintain it. If you cannot do that I suggestDon’t simply use it to say “sale now on” or “new product launch”, you delete the page. An abandoned page does not give a goodBe engaging, upload photos, videos, ask questions and reply to impression.comments, invite your customers to upload photos, to talk abouttheir experiences. Facebook Ads Facebook has a lot of information about its users. You can use this information in the same way as SEM to promoteAs your community grows, so does your audience who are reading your page, video, web site to the Facebook community.your messages. But remember this is a two-way environment,expect comments and try to reply to them and don’t necessarily This is a good way to target a specific audience and gainexpect them to all be positive. followers, increasing your audience and brand exposure. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  9. 9. Twitter Micro SitesTwitter is a micro blogging site, at the end of 2011, it had 225 A micro site is a small independent web site, which is usuallymillion accounts, who sent in total 250 million tweets every day. focused on a particular product or brand and sometimes tailored to a specific audience or market sector.Twitter requires you to keep your tweets (messages) short (140characters). In order to be effective with twitter you have to think There are a few reasons you might want to consider this;about the audience and how you are going to use it to the full. 1. By building another site you could appear twice in searchLike Facebook, people have the right to comment, but it’s done in engines, which increases the chances that someone willa different way. Users will only see your tweets if they visit your find, or if they ‘follow you’. 2. You can focus on just that brand or product without the distraction of any others – much like a product rangeIf a user follows you, they’ll be notified of any new posts, but their brochure does in traditional marketing.friends will not necessarily see them unless they comment. 3. You can build a community just for that brand by encouraging users to comment on their experiences.Try to get people to talk about your product and brand using your 4. It allows you to go into greater detail, which might not havetwitter account. On specific marketing campaigns if you want been possible on your main site.maximum exposure try to encourage users to re-tweet a message 5. If done well it can provide a quality URL to link back to yourin exchange for a chance to win a prize. site, improving natural SEO.If someone receives your message and re-tweets it all their For micro sites to work, the content must be unique, and the sitefollowers will get your message too. i.e. if I send a message to my must have enough information to maintain a small site (i.e. 3-41000 followers asking them to re-tweet it, if each user has 100 pages).followers and were to re-tweet my message, it would have beenbroadcasted to 1,000 x 100 = 100,000 users, and if some of thoseusers do the same, the word quickly spreads. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  10. 10. Mobile Apps An app can be designed much the same way as a micro site, focusing on just one specific part of your business or can be aThere are a growing number of users who use their mobile phone. complete immersive experience.This market is huge, but there are a lot of apps out there already. To make best use of an app, plan what device you are aiming it at,There are two ways to promote your products / services to this and think how people will use; Advertising on apps 1. A mobile web site 2. A mobile app Many popular free apps are sponsored by adverts. The main in- app ad networks are provided by Apples iAd Network, andA mobile web site is good to give users a way of accessing your Googles Android App Networksite, which has been tailored to work on a small screen device.This is good to encourage users to use your site on a mobile These ads are a small banner ad usually at the top of the page anddevice, however this isn’t really an online marketing strategy it’s when the user clicks on it they are taken to your site.more of a web design strategy. Tip: Make sure if you use mobile ads that:A Mobile app however is slightly different. A user downloads thisand the app sits on their phone reminding them about a particular 1. The ad artwork is readable and has a strong messagebrand or product. 2. The link it takes you to is relevant 3. The site the ad takes you to has been designed for aYou can build an app for a specific campaign. mobile deviceApple recently released an app called 12 Days of Christmas, each These types of ads work well for brand awareness and productday it released a new product which was on offer – this only lasted launches, voucher give away schemes etc.12 days, but encouraged me to revisit the app every day. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  11. 11. What is my marketing saying?Strategy The content of your marketing should focus on the benefits, not justWhat is my strategy? the features.How you plan your strategy is something that is quite specific to o This product will make you feel great.your business. o Buy this and we will guarantee your PC will be 200% faster.The important questions are; o Your skin will feel more youthful in less than 30 days. o You can loose ½ stone in less than 1 month, guaranteed. o What is your goal? Leads, sales, or brand awareness? o How are you going to attract new business? All campaigns should be focused around how your product or service will benefit the person looking at it. Take Apple; their o How are you going to attract existing/repeat business? iPhone ads are promoting a lifestyle not just a phone. o What methods are we going to try? o How are we going to measure success? If you can guarantee your claims then use it in your marketing, your o How often are we going to review it? guarantee gives customers assurance that your product delivers o What budget do we have? what it claims. o Can we align the online marketing with other marketing? o What activities can we combine together for greater effect? What is the purpose?It is always good practice to use as many different relevant types Every bit of Marketing should have a goal.of marketing as possible at the same time, so try out new types ofmarketing with a small budget and a small sample, and then see o Generate Leads?what results you get. Don’t forget to review and revise frequently. o Make a sale? o Give your product exposure? Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  12. 12. The value of acquiring a customer’s email address (or lead) is If every customer referred 2 more, what effect might that have onoften under rated. Consider the bigger picture. How many items your sales?will a customer buy from you in their lifetime? If you achieved 500more leads next month how much additional potential revenue Keep in touch with your customers via social media.would that bring in to your business? For social media to work, you need to be speaking with yourEffective marketing is all about an exchange. customers, and ideally commenting back.People are reluctant to give you information unless they are going Keeping up with regular messaging can be quite time receive something in exchange. I recommend tools such as tweetdeck or HootSuite to schedule posts, that way you can go about your business and deliver useful If I’m asked whether I’d like to receive marketing hints and tips to your clients at the best time for a good response. information, I’m going to reply ‘No’ thanks every time, however if I’m asked if I’d like a money off voucher in Give tips, advice and any other information, which will make your exchange for my name, and email address, I’m more likely customers more likely to buy one of your products or services. to provide my details. Then at a more convenient time you can visit your Facebook pageYou don’t always have to offer a discount - users will often sign up and comment on replies and help people get the most from theirfor exclusive content, videos, or just to become part of a Happy customers get you more customers.Don’t underestimate the power of the referral. Encourage andreward your customers for referring their friends.Take Sky, they give new referrals a £50 M&S voucher and theyalso reward the new customer £50 too. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  13. 13. Things that are frequently overlooked budget, lower or raise prices, create a special offer, or invite your customers for a special event.Monitor and review o How long did people stay on your site this week comparedNever, ever assume that because this week you received 25 new to last?sales, that you’ll get the same next week. You might have just o What pages did they land on, what pages did they exit on?been lucky - you should know what marketing achieved those o What were people looking for, what keywords were thesales and how much revenue (real or potential) it has achieved. most popular? o How many enquiries were generated?Measure, measure and measure some more. o How many people put things into a basket but didn’t buy?You should never do any marketing if you cannot quantify exactly o How many people bought something? What revenue waswhat the effort returned to your business. If you don’t have this achieved?information you are probably wasting money on ineffectivemarketing. Focus 90% of your effort on the marketing that works Marketing should be targeted: Don’t expect a genericbest for your primary audience. marketing strategy to get all the business. Consumers want relevant information. If you’re marketing a luxury o How did you hear about us? product and targeting this to everyone, it’s likely you’ll waste most o Are we tracking each marketing activity via a unique URL? of the exposure (and money). Target small audiences and focus on what they want.Online marketing should be reviewed every week, analysed andthen a new revised strategy planned for the next week. Try to build a profile of your customers and target the products they are looking at in a customised email. Consumers are easilyKeep a regular look at your web site metrics. drawn to an email if they’re already familiar with the content.Every site is capable of web metrics and they shouldn’t beoverlooked. Compare this week with last week and look at market Social media allows you to target specific demographics, try totrends, this will help you decide whether to change your marketing tailor each specific ad to the audience its aimed at. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  14. 14. Factors which affect online marketing effectiveness. o Are your landing pages relevant to the ad they clicked on?Before you start your online marketing strategy, check that the web If you use landing pages directed from specific advertisingsite you are directing your customers to, is in good shape. If it’s not campaigns are you providing relevant information. If yourthen you’ll be wasting money directing people to a site that isn’t users don’t see the information they requested within a fewgoing to encourage any leads, or sales. seconds they’ll probably leave and try another site. o How fast is your site? o How easy is it to contact you? If your site is slow, your site will not rank as well as one that If I can’t contact you, I’m unlikely to buy from you. If you are is fast. Check your site performance with tools such as an online only business and have no staff, setup a number pingdom to test your hosting provider and Google page with an answering service. speed to check how your site code performs. Your customers are important, show them that you are a o How intuitive is it to use? Are people leaving because they serious business. Try to refrain from only offering web chat are frustrated? or contact forms. Bad UX (user experience) will result in customers leaving because they lose interest or can’t find the information they You need your customers to trust your company, contact need – consider your users, and if you can, setup focus details, phone numbers are all things that reinforce your groups and talk through the site with a realistic audience brand. sample. o Is your site secure? Bad UX will reduce your success with online marketing, you’ll get customers only to lose them due to frustrations. If you take online payments, demonstrate the fact that it is secure. There are a lot of novice users online, and they will be re-assured that you’re site is secure by providing them with site seals from your secure certificate supplier. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  15. 15. An Example Online Strategy In order to encourage people to express interest I’m going to offerA company has just manufactured a new luxury range of bed linen. a voucher, which will entitle them to 15% off this item if they purchase within the next 2 weeks.The Goal: Generate leads, brand awareness. As I want to increase my social media followers, my email will alsoThe target audience; feature a Facebook offer ‘One of our Facebook customers will win a full set of bed linen – click here to visit us on Facebook’. - Existing customers - People who own a home, and usually buy bed linen. Email strategy (existing customers) - Luxury 1. Day 1. Let’s tell our existing client base that we have a newAreas of exposure: product. Focused on its benefits, we’ll feature the 15% off in the next 2 weeks prominently. At the bottom we’ll talk about - Social media, YouTube videos. our company and why you should buy from us. - E-mails to existing customers 2. Last Friday in the week, at 4pm - I’ll schedule another - SEM initially for a month aimed at new customers who like email, this time I’m focused on the brand, who are we, 75% luxury products/services/locations. of the email space is about us, and why you should buy from us. The remaining 25% is for our luxury bed linen.The new products are already loaded on the site, but they look like Remind the user that the voucher is only valid for anotherall the rest. I need them to stand out. few daysWeb Strategy I would create a page specifically for this range i.e. 3. Following week, on Friday at 4pm – A final email similar to the first, but reminding the user that the voucher is only valid until Sunday at 23:59, and buy now.This will show the product range to its fullest and act as my landingpage for any advertising links. It will also encourage people to 4pm on Friday is a good time to target working consumers. Itstweet and talk about it on Facebook. (linking back to this page) common for staff not to want to start anything new from 3pm-4pm, so are often more likely to be attracted to an interesting email. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  16. 16. Social Media strategy (new and existing customers) SEM activities would be reviewed on a regular basis and be comprised of many different ads, targeted at specific audiences.As a luxury brand I want to be selective at how I promote myproduct and what I ask of my users. Some users will be tempted by an offer, others will not. Ads need to be specific. Each ad will have a tracking URL and I will beI would build a specific panel on Facebook offering one lucky looking at this each week to see what is the most effective.customer a chance to win a free set of linen; all they need to do isgive us the names and email addresses of two of their friends. Summary - I would announce the new product range, providing a link The strategy combines Email, Facebook, YouTube (to broadcast to the landing page, I would ask them to visit our Facebook the video about how we sourced the linen) and SEM and is page saying we have a limited launch offer. focused on product information and brand building, combined with a call to action event (an offer that will expire in 2 weeks). - During the week, I’d link to blog entries made to focus on the benefits of this product; The timed event is something that GroupOn use; an offer that is only available for limited time (typically 12-24 hours). “Did you know that if you’re too hot in bed, that you’ll not The user has to decide whether they want it, there’s no time sleep that well? Good quality cotton linen can regulate your to dither, if you want the offer then you need to commit to temperature and give you a better night’s sleep.” buying it or you’ll miss out. Their countdown timer reinforces the need to make a decision. - On the following week I would publish a video about how we sourced the ethical cotton and the story of how we look Dependent on budget you might include Video Ads, Banner Ads, after the people who manufacture the cotton. and Mobile Ads to create a larger brand awareness and exposure for your new product. - On the last day its good practice for a time-limited offer to remind people that the offer is expiring today/tomorrow. Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012
  17. 17. Thank you. SEM networks | | this document has given you an idea of how to integratemultiple types of marketing into an effective online marketing SEO tools | | introduction is only a starting point, there’s plenty more Affiliate Referral Sitesmethods and web sites which can extend your online marketing | | http://uk.cj.comstrategy, unfortunately I can’t list all of them in this document Banner ad networks | |Good luck. | Mobile banner ads Video Advertising | | Email services providers | | Written and designed by; Social media | | | | James Lever Web site performance | Introduction to Online Marketing Strategy © Copyright James Lever, January 2012