Building an internet marketing campaign for startups takes a lot of effort for it to be successful. It must target the right user, at the right place, at the right time. Just having a high quality product or building a better mousetrap does not guarantee success. Rather it is the successful implementation of a well developed startup marketing plan that promotes that great product that will bring long term success. To spend time doing anything less is not only a waste of money, but a waste of time as well
Internet Marketing Begins with Planning
A well defined marketing campaign may contain many parts but in general they can be categorized into five phases. These phases are both sequential and circular. To be successful, each part must be addressed and for long term success they must be continuously revised. The goal here is outline the five phases.
Research Phase – Marketing the Product
It is in this phase where the foundation for marketing a product will be developed and where the decisions for the implementation will be designed. This phase will consist of understanding what the product is, who it is to be sold to, and how the customer is to find the product.
A product today can come in many forms. It can be defined as a physical object that is sold, but it can also be something less tangible like an email address that is provided that can be used to provide communication between a company and a customer, it can be to click on a link on a website that provides the company with affiliate revenue, or it can be literally anything else that provides a desired response from the customer.
A successful product must be well defined so that the desired outcome can not only be determined, but measured for success. To do this requires an understanding of the both the competition in the marketplace, as well as how the competition is able to successfully attract customers. This is done through analyzing competitors, keyword research, and market understanding.
Line of Attack Phase – Targeting the Customer
When it is understood what the product is and who it is to be sold to, it is time to develop several strategies to attract your most desired customer. What is the Most Desired Customer (MDC)? This is the person who will buy the product, click the link, provide the email address, or perform an action or a desired response. This is done by understanding who the MDC is, what they are looking for, and what it will take for them to generate the desired response.
This phase is where content is developed. Usually this is to maintain a strong online presence. Some call this the free stuff phase, others call it pre-sales marketing, but what it comes down to is customer support marketing. The site is providing a honey pot to attract the MDC. It is setting up the infrastructure to help the MDC come to a conclusion for the problem they are trying to solve.
Sometimes partnerships are formed for the sharing of links so that when a potential customer arrives and is given the solution to a problem – even if that solution is not the product in question, they will appreciate the help and return to the site in the future. It is in this phase that the use of social media is defined for generating buzz about the product and the line of attack with regard to the search engines is finalized.
Action Phase – Implementing the Marketing Strategy
Now that the foundation has been built, it is in this phase that the plan is put into action. For online media, this means building a base of operations. This is usually based from a website although it can be from a blog or even through the use of the social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
For a website, this would include building or enhancing the site, creating internal optimization using keywords, and external optimization techniques for making sure the site does not hinder the MDC from finding the product. This is where the use of tracking would be implemented to measure success.
Ongoing Maintenance Phase – The Reality of the Internet Marketing Strategy
This phase revolves between monitoring what is happening and re-evaluating the reality of the marketing plan compared to what was expected during the research and line of attack phases. Monitoring requires research in to website referrals, search engine rankings, traffic, and just how many MDCs are generating the desired response.
Re-evaluating means re-assessing the assumptions that were made during the research and line of attack phases and seeing if anything has not worked as planned. Perhaps something in the market has changed and so new variables must be addressed and further action must be taken.
Internet Marketing Strategy as an Ongoing Process
An internet marketing strategy is an ongoing process and must be addressed vigilantly. As the market continually shifts, changes must be made and monitored. Even if everything is moving forward quite well, you can’t afford to allow your business to be stuck in a single marketing channel. You can still double your strategy’s effectiveness by hiring a firm to help diversify your marketing efforts. Monitoring is a must, but keep in mind that making a change because a competitor made a change can be just as disastrous as can trying to do too much too quickly. Understanding the goal and making decisions to reach that goal will make your online marketing efforts work.