Part 3 – Prioritization In the Online Marketing Plan!
If you are reading this article, you may want to check the first two parts here:
The more I think about writing a plan for a company’s online marketing efforts, I think about all the cookie-cutter, repetitive actions taken out there by thousands and thousands of website owners and marketers. This means people are starting to following standards in online marketing and trust me there are many things you should do and are doing right now! But, in a few cases, I’ve noticed that some things in marketing are much more important and easy to do than others, and just because everybody else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to do it or should be putting resources into it. Just because the other kids are doing it is not enough…
What I am talking about is making strategic decisions about what is not just easy, but what is going to give you the biggest bang for you buck. Now, that is a very important part of the online marketing plan, such as what to first and then next, and so on. But even before many things can be done, there is and always will be a lot of extra setup work. If you want to have an email marketing campaign system in place, you need to at least have a solution to collect emails, possibly segment them, store them in a database, and then find an email sending solution, and then analyze and follow up. But you can’t get ahead of yourself, in that the pillars of a successful part of your marketing may revolve around the SEQUENCE in setting things up. If you just started sending out marketing email, because you were not patient, from the same server as your business correspondence communications (things like receipts, support and customer interaction) and have not come up with a separate domain for sending your email, you may have gotten things out of sequence… Not the end of the world if you are a start-up, but if you had separate domains you were sending from, you would have protected your business correspondence (your real world important email) from getting black-listed.
So for each area of marketing you need to accomplish for your website, I use a rating system for the priority, ease of implementation, time to implement, and other factors. Then based on these additional factors the priority may change. For instance, getting online with a website is still at the top of this list. One thing that is just as easy is creating videos, that are nicely tagged and have content on Youtube pointing back to your site. The same thing with easy to implement blog software like WordPress or Blogger, which also points back to your site for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes. So things have changed in online marketing. What was first things first 10 or 5 years ago is not the same. Video and Blogs are now ground zero…not necessarily email… Email is important and the core, but it is a layer now above the website, videos, blogs, picture and other stuff you can easily use to draw traffic. What you have to infer from this, is it is a hell of a lot easier to get out a video camera and make a Youtube video than getting a great email campaign in place. Email campaigns mean more HTML, images possibly, landing pages, etc.
So as part of your prioritization in your online marketing plan, you need to come up with all the ways you are going to market online and focus in on a few quick wins. This is especially true if you want to make something happen now. Everything these days is about now, not later. Yes, some marketing efforts will take some time, but things like fixing a domain name to all be www. or buying a domain name can be done today. Things like fixing a title per page or a url per page can be done now, not later.
Help Is On The Way
Like I have said in my previous parts of writing a strategic online marketing plan, there are many, I mean many SEO and marketing firms out there to deliver your marketing program. But, there few, like me, who actually act as your marketing exec and help you write a plan. It is the writing of this plan you can’t leave to a one trick pony SEO firm. It needs to be an in-house, maybe a consultant like myself, developed thing that represents you and your business. Email me at dgudema AT gmail dot com if you want to discuss it…
Just Say No
You can just say no to cookie-cutter marketing approaches, because quite frankly what is good for the gander may not be good for the goose. If you are a law firm, then how you do marketing is different than an online store. Don’t fall into a trap that they are all the same, everybody needs to do the same thing. The only reason you may hear this programmed thinking from your marketing expert/SEO guy/gal is, that is what they know. What “THEY KNOW” is a common problem in the online world, because we are all limited to what we know. One time I went around and asked a dozen different programmers what language to use. Each one gave me a different language because that is what they know. The each sweared that it was the one and only and the best! What they know is not a guide to what you need to do and in what sequence. This is a task for a VP of online marketing, not a third party SEO firm. Remember if you own the website, you use marketing firms to carry out your plan, and rarely do they have what it takes to name the plan and tell you what to do. Control over your marketing and what you are doing is important and starts from home not externally.
There are many ways to cut a cake and marketing is that cake. I recently ran into a technique being used for a website marketing to seniors and they had removed all website links, forcing the seniors to go down ONE and ONE SINGLE path. There was only one way to go through their homepage and it required entering an email address… Why this restriction? What was going on? Well, after I noticed they were using Google Optimizer, an A/B and Multivariate testing tool, I realized they must know something and they tested and in fact it may be a smart move for them. Did the senior really want to go in many directions/places and the answer was maybe not. Maybe 5% were pissed off and left, but the numbers may be high in the conversion rates on those who entered their email address and stayed. This was about herding the cattle, and it raised some interesting psychological issues with website marketing. Some things may be counter intuitive and not straight forward. How do you figure this out? You have to test!
In the prioritization should be some testing. You don’t know, so you test. Testing is cheap and easy. $50 in a pay per click account or putting up a page to find out if people click through, fill in a form, etc. This is the best way to go about figuring out what works.
There is always more. I will be adding a fourth article coming up on the same topic… Writing a strategic online marketing plan.