Successful marketing is all about planning and execution. It's not as simple as just buying an ad or posting on social media. You need a strategy that aligns with your company's goals, demographics, and resources to be successful. This post will walk you through the essentials for developing a strategic internet marketing plan. 

1. Define your target audience and your goals

Before you even think about what to post on social media or run an ad for, you need to know who your target audience is and what you want them to do.  For

For example, if your company sells baby clothes, your target audience is new moms. To define this target audience more specifically, you can break it down by demographics (e.g., age, location), psychographic. (eg., values and interests), or behavioral data (e.g., what websites they visit, how much time they spend online).

Once you know who your audience is, figure out what you want them to do. Do you want leads in the form of email addresses or phone numbers? Maybe something else, like visits to a specific page on your website? Determine what action represents progress toward your overall goal.

2. Look into your competitors

Your competition may not be what you think they are. Look at companies in similar industries, businesses of a similar size, and even companies of the same size that have different niches. You don't want to adopt their strategies or copy them outright, but you should know what your competition is doing. You can never have a great marketing plan if you don't have a strong idea of what the status quo looks like and how to stand out from it

3. Determine your budget

This is the most important decision you'll make when developing your internet marketing plan. No matter what you do with your social media, ad campaigns, and blog post topics, if you don't have a well-thought-out budget to support them they won't succeed. You also need to understand how spending more money on certain strategies will affect others. If you spend a lot of money on ad campaigns they will limit your budget for social media posts, and vice versa. You need to look at each marketing channel and determine how much it can and should contribute to the overall plan.   

4. Choose and utilize social media

With well over 4 billion active users (increased by 7.3 percent since just last year), it is crucial to utilize the massive virtual communities of social media for your internet marketing efforts. 

There are a lot of options out there, but not all social media platforms would be the best fit for you. Think about what kind of tone and intention you want to convey with your posts. Do you want to share brand humor? Talk about yourself in the third person? If it's Instagram, do you want it to be more about the pictures or the text? Do you need your posts to be interactive? Do certain social media sites have higher user percentages of your target audience? 

Rely on credible sources, such as the Pew Research Center, to aid in your research and selection process—you don’t want to base any of your marketing choices on opinions or feelings. These websites provide hard data about the age, gender, education, and other demographic information about each social media website’s user base.

After creating a list of social media platforms that align with what you're trying to accomplish, arrange them by priority. This way, you'll know which platform needs content before all others and where your time will be best spent. 

5. Create a content calendar

Now that you've defined your target audience, learned about your competition, determined a budget, and considered social media options, it's time to start creating content. You shouldn't just post on social media whenever you feel like it or throw up a blog post every few months. That's not strategic internet marketing. A strategic marketing plan should include creating a calendar of content with the topics, media types (text, images, video), and frequency you'll use. You can't maximize your efforts without a strategic plan!   

6. Continue to develop your internet marketing strategies

Once you have a plan in place, the worst thing you can do is sit back and think it will run itself. You should never stop trying to improve your internet marketing strategy. If what you're doing isn't working, move on from it and try something else. Keep an eye out for new social media platforms that catch the attention of your target audience to stay ahead of the curve.

Tools like Google Analytics can help you determine how many people are visiting your website, what type of demographics they represent, and even where they come from. It's important to keep track of this information so that you know how well your internet marketing campaign is doing after its initial stages.

Paton Marketing is an internet-based marketing company based in Miami with a team that offers a complete suite of strategy & planning, design & development, marketing services. Learn more about how we can help you.