Building a successful business online or creating a successful internet marketing strategy reminds me a little bit of putting together a puzzle: it takes patience, time, and effort, but as long as you have all the pieces, you will be successful.
However, if one or more pieces are missing, you will not be able to finish what you started and your efforts will go to waste.
What is an Internet Marketing Plan?
An Internet marketing plan provides a step-by-step outline how to market a product or service to a specific target market and it helps a you stay focused on your marketing objectives. Creating an internet marketing plan will help you see all the pieces of your puzzle and how they all fit together. It will also make it easier to notice if anything is missing.
Every Internet Marketing Plan needs to include all of the components of your online strategy, which usually are market analysis, product or service description, sales strategy, online and offline promotion, advertising, PR, etc. The best Internet marketing plans integrate both Internet marketing strategies as well as offline marketing methods.
The following is a sample internet marketing plan outline if you are planning to sell a product or service online.
Internet Marketing Plan Outline: What You Need to Discuss in Your Internet Marketing Plan
1. Executive Summary
Answer “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “how” with respect to marketing objectives and strategies; forecasts; marketing and product finances; etc. The Executive Summary should be done last, after all marketing plan analysis and details have been completed.
2. Mission Statement
The Mission statement is simply a description of your:
•”Target market” – who are your customers – be very specific!
•”Contribution” – what you’re selling
•”Uniqueness” – what is your USP– why are you different from your competition?
3. Research Your Market
Describe the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in industry. This can be really easy – albeit time consuming – with all the online research tools. Learn as much as you can about the market that is currently buying the product(s) or service(s) you will sell. For example,
- Target Market(s)—it’s recommended to focus on one or two small niche markets instead of a large general market. Niche markets have far less competition and they tend to be more profitable.
- Visualize and describe your ideal customer with details such as income levels, age ranges, interests, activities, living environments, other geographic descriptions, psychological mindsets, political affiliations, family situations, etc.
- What is the market dynamics, trends, seasonal patterns, etc.
- Industry or societal trends that affect your customers.
- Research your competition. Find out what competition is offering.
- Find suppliers, vendors and service providers that you will need to rely on.
4. Describe Your Product or Service
Describe your product or service and explain how it relates to the market. How does it meet the needs of the market? What value does it offer for the buyers.
Analyze your competition. Explain your “unique selling proposition” or USP. What makes your offering unique and different from your competitor’s?
5. Internet Marketing Strategies
Describe the Internet marketing and promotion tactics that you’ll be using in your campaigns.
Take advantage of the low-cost, but highly effective methods, such as SEO (search engine optimization) and article marketing. Other proven methods include video marketing, writing a blog, link exchanges with other webmasters, pay per click advertising, link exchanges and joint ventures. I’m not recommending pay-per-click advertising if you are a beginner, although it can certainly be effective in many situations.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). By optimizing your pages for the search engines, you can get literally thousands of people to your website every day for free.
- Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing. You can pay to advertise on the first page of the search results. You will be bidding on keywords so that your ad is displayed when a person searches for a particular keyword or key phrase.
- Affiliate Marketing. This is where other websites market your products for you and you pay them a commission on each sale. This is an outstanding way to create a successful Internet business.
- Article Marketing. This simply means that you will have to write lots of articles and distribute them online. Both article marketing and optimizing for search engines (on page and offpage) – if you do them right – will bring you traffic that is highly targeted. Article marketing has an added advantage that the readers get to know you a little bit – so they are even more pre-qualified than visitors coming straight from the search engines
- Write press releases and distribute them online. Just like writing and submitting articles, this is a very simple and extremely effective way to get tons of links pointed at your website.
- Video Marketing. Set up a video channel on Youtube and post optimized videos about your product or service. Most popular types are funny videos or how-to videos.
- Social Media Promotion. Find out where your audience is, set up accounts on those social networks, and build relationships with your audience.
- Advertising in newsletters and ezines. Find publications with big readership and find out if you can advertise there. This is another simple yet highly effective way to market your products or services online.
- List Building and Email Marketing. When a visitor comes to your site, you need to have an opt-in form to capture their email address. Many marketers say that the money is in the list, and that is certainly true, the money is in the TARGETED list. You’ll need to give people some information for free to build trust, but don’t give away too much – this will only attract hordes of freebie-seekers who have no desire to spend money with you (or anybody else for that matter). Have some free and inexpensive products to offer to your subscribers, but also make sure that you have high priced items in your product funnel.
6. Offline Promotion/Traditional Methods
Even though this is an internet marketing plan, the traditional methods should not be neglected, as they can be very effective at reaching even wider audience. These strategies may include:
- Face-to-face marketing and networking – participating in events, industry association meetings, at your local Chamber of Commerce, etc.
- Mailing sales letters, brochures, postcards, flyers, etc.
- Traditional Advertising – Print media, directories, billboards, yellow pages, radio, TV
- Public speaking, giving lectures, seminars, etc.
- Renting a booth at trade shows and conventions
- Writing articles for magazines, your local newspaper, and other publications read by your industry.
- Submitting press releases
- Partnering with businesses in the same target market
- Other conventional and unconventional methods (guerrilla marketing)
Based on your research, determine your product/service pricing. Make sure your pricing is right. Consider your income goals, so for example, if your goal is to be making 5,000 dollars per month, if you only sell an ebook at $10 profit, then you will need to sell 500 copies of that ebook. On the other hand, you will only have to make 5 sales at $1000 to accomplish your goal.
8. Positioning and Branding
Think where your product will be positioned in the market and how you will achieve brand awareness. Think about your product funnel.
9. Estimate Your Budget
Estimate your monthly spending. How much will you have to spend per month to reach your goals?
10. Establish Quantifiable Marketing Goals
This means goals that you can turn into numbers. For instance, your goal might be to gain at least 10 new clients each month or to generate 100 leads per month.
11. Track and Analyze Your Results
By tracking and analyzing your results you will be able to measure the return on investment per each marketing activity. You can use tracking software, such as Google Analytics, to track the effectiveness of your campaigns: website traffic, where is the traffic coming from, how long do they stay on the page, etc. You will be able to track sales, as well as the percentage of sales to impressions (page views). You can also conduct customer surveys.