how to create an online marketing strategy

Knowing how to create an online marketing strategy is one of the most important things you can do for your business. It tells you what opportunities to say yes to, but more importantly, it tells you what to say no to.

It also makes everything easier for you, as everything you do will have one main focus.

No more trying to come up with ideas for every possible scenario. You choose one and let that be your guide. So, today we are going to focus on how to create an online marketing  strategy.

elements of a successful strategy

Your Online Marketing Strategy is influenced by a number of things including your target market, your personal strengths & passions, your business type and your previous experiences.

It also requires that you have a specific product or service in mind.

Finally it requires implementation, through the 5 Pillars of a Successful Online Marketing strategy: Website, Email, Content, Social Media & Reach.

So now you are probably thinking… “didn’t the blog post title say in how to create an online marketing strategy in 30 minutes or less?”.

Well, yes! While this is something you could definitely spend a considerable amount of time thinking about and researching, I see far too often small business owners stuck in information overwhelm for months before they start anything.

So instead I’m going to guide you through a quick exercise for you to get your quick strategy down, on paper, quickly.

There is just one thing I want you to agree to – No Overthinking!! The purpose of this exercise is to go with your instincts and intuition, not your self-doubts and “shoulds”. At this stage we are just setting the plan. There is plenty of time later to refine.

Before we get started, I want you to download this OPT-IN FREE Worksheet. Yes, no email address required!! That’s how important I think this is. And if you find this exercise useful.

Ok… so download that here. Either print it or open it on your computer and use the fillable PDF functionality. (Note: you won’t be able to save your work if you do it in your web browser so make sure you open it locally on your computer first.)

Let’s get into it!!

how to create an online marketing strategy step 1: focus

This is the MOST important part as it makes everything else flow much easier. Choose one product, product category or service that you want to focus on selling more of. Or this could be to build your list if you are just starting out. No matter what it is, you need to have one main “end goal” in mind that you want your audience to reach.

I recommend that you don’t choose something “higher end” here, especially if the purpose is for you to reach new customers. Instead you can work on upselling them later.

So if you are a service based business your goal could be to book that first session. For a more expensive product, you might want to focus on your introductory or trial offering.

how to create an online marketing strategy step 2: ideal customer

If your focus is the most important factor, your ideal customer is the second. Who is the target market that would be interested in your product most?

Go a little deeper here than just demographics and occupation. What do they need or desire?

how to create an online marketing strategy step 3: hook

Your Hook is to communicate how your product or service (defined in your goal) meets your ideal customers need or desire.

Bonus points if it is something that is unique to your business.

It doesn’t need to be a pretty slogan for the strategy stage – you just want to make a note of the important points to hit.

how to create an online marketing strategy step 4: email opt in

Now it’s all about translating what you have created so far into practical marketing elements. The first of which is your email opt-in. This is a freebie, typically a pdf, that you offer in exchange for their email address.

This is highly important as it gives you more than just one opportunity (that first website visit) to connect with them.

So what makes a great opt in?

Surprisingly, simple often works best! So don’t think you need to go crazy with a big e-book or course. The best email opt-ins provide some sort of action and a quick win. Examples of this include checklists, worksheets or printables.

To come  up with an idea, think about this question: What is the one thing your audience is always asking about that you can help solve? At this stage it doesn’t matter if you think it is the right solution, it just needs to be something that will appeal to them and make them feel a sense of achievement after going through it. The convincing comes later.

how to create an online marketing strategy step 5: website tweaks

Now you have an opt in idea, you need to do a quick review of your website. You are focusing on two things here:

  1. Does the Sales or Product Page reinforce the Hook you described earlier? (And make it really easy for them to buy)
  2. Trying to point to your email opt in in as many places as possible. Could this go in your header, footer and/or sidebar? Does it have a separate landing page?

The important part here is to make sure your website is congruent with the message you want to get across.

how to create an online marketing strategy step 6: welcome emails

Once someone signs up for your email opt-in, you want to set it up so they automatically receive a series of emails. This is one of the best ways to make more sales as it can all be set up once and left to run on autopilot. This will make email your best salesperson!

The idea here is to take them from the point of being interested in your email opt-in to purchasing your product.

There are two things you want to make sure you do:

  1. Continue to provide value through more helpful information or inspiration
  2. Answer any common objections (logical and emotional) that your audience might have.

To make it easy, here are two quick sequences you might want to borrow.

For a Service or Complex Product

Email 1 – Send Freebie
Email 2 – Welcome Email introducing yourself, what you do, why you do it and why they should care
Email 3 – Some bonus value: an extra freebie or just a mini lesson that helps answer their biggest objection
Email 4 – Answer another objection and offer your service with a clear call to action

For a more Simple Product

The same as the above except you may want to make an offer in the second email.
You can make this a special offer such as free shipping, a discount off their first order or just keep it as a standard price.

how to create an online marketing strategy step 7: content

Now you have your email opt-in, welcome sequence and website pages planned, we move to the next phase of getting people to your website in the first place.

One of the best ways to do this is with content.

Content is providing information or inspiration, for free, in order to build that know, like and trust factor.

The most common form is a blog but if you don’t have one and don’t want to create one, you don’t have to. You could use your social media platform as your method for delivering content, whether it be in the form of long written posts, beautifully branded images or some Facebook Lives.

The most important thing is that you choose something that you will actually do!

Then come up with 4 x ideas to create. This will give you one a week for a month.

The idea is to have these content pieces all lead to your opt in. So they should be either a step before or a compliment to it.

Then at the conclusion of each post you can link them through to your opt-in.

The best topics? Quick “How to’s” or “Top X”.

how to create an online marketing strategy step 8: social media

Ok, you are really gaining momentum now! It’s time to tie in your social media schedule with your strategy.

And the best part is, you now have 4 posts a week sorted just from the above!

  • 1 will be a direct promotion of your product or service
  • 1 will be a promotion of your email opt in
  • 2 will be a promotion of your content item for that week (one being the main thing, the next a small excerpt)

Then to supplement this you might like to add some supporting tips, some inspiration, behind the scenes, some user generated content or a testimonial/case study. The aim is to have 1 post a day that somehow will lead to either your goal product/service or indirectly to it via your email opt-in or your content.

Note: Try to design this around one primary platform only (and then on share if you like). It is when we try to do too many things that we drop the ball.

how to create an online marketing strategy step 9: promote

It is no coincidence that promotion comes after all the other items are in place. This is because we want to make sure that you get every ounce of value from the time and money spent in this area.

There are literally 100’s of ways in which you could promote your offerings, and this is often where people get stuck- jumping from one thing to the next without doing one thing really well.

So for the sake of simplicity, I want you to only choose 2 things:

1 x “Quick Win” Tactic: This is where results tend to be more instant (but results also disappear as soon as you stop doing it). Examples include Advertising (e.g. Facebook, Google Adwords) and networking/promoting in Facebook Groups.

1 x “Evergreen” Tactic: This is where results take a while to be seen but will remain for the longer term.  Examples include Search Engine Marketing (e.g. Google SEO, Pinterest) and Public Relations/Guest Blogging.

As you will mostly be promoting to a “cold” audience (people who haven’t heard about you before), it is often more effective to promote your freebie or your content instead of your product or service directly. The only exception is if you have an item that tends to be a quick sell – something that is less expensive and easily understood.

how to create an online marketing strategy step 10: monitor

The last thing you need to include in your strategy is noting down what you will monitor in order to know if your strategy is working or not.

This will include making sure you have Google Analytics setup so you can see where your traffic is coming from.

In addition, you will want to add goals” for when someone signs up for your email freebie or when they purchase. That way you can measure all of your efforts around what truly matters – your conversions.

Finally, you will want to consider other things like follower counts, email list size and email open and click rates.

All of this information will tell you what is working (and you should do more of) and what isn’t (might be worth switching to something different).

Your strategy isn’t fixed. It is just your starting point. It is fluid. It will change as you learn and grow. But unless you have some idea of where you want to go and how you are going to get there, you will continue to remain lost.

Now it’s your turn! Have you filled out your strategy document yet? If not, now is the time to download it and get started. Click here to download it instantly!

What has stopped you from creating a strategy? Have any of these been a sticking point for you? Let me know in the comments!

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