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Web Marketing Plan

How To Develop Marketing For A Web Site

The focus of most business activity today is to satisfy customer wants while at the same time achieving a profit.  In many instances, a business’s marketing plan needs to be fully integrated with all other aspects of the business.

An integrated marketing plan outlines what marketing actions need to be conducted and specifies:

  1. What has to be done; i.e. the action plans.
  2. Why these actions are necessary.
  3. Who is responsible for carrying them out.
  4. When they are to be done.
  5. How they will be done.
  6. The objectives to be achieved.

This integrated marketing plan gives purpose and direction to the business’s activities.  The plans need to be known by everyone in the business, so each department can work towards achieving the goal.  The marketing plan needs to mesh with the business’s other plans, i.e. financial, operational, and also its cash flow.

An integrated marketing plan may be short term (one year), medium term (two to five years) or long term (five to ten years).  It must be constantly reviewed and modified to meet the business’s objectives over time.

There is no set format for developing a market plan.  Each plan will reflect the individual characteristics of a business.  However, all marketing plans should have two features in common:

  1. Realistic in light of the situational analysis.
  2. Achievable within the business’s resources and budget.

Organising The Planning Process

A starting point for developing a marketing plan for a business is to devise a strategic marketing plan.  Strategic marketing planning is a continuous process of planning and implementing the marketing activities so that the business's marketing objectives can be achieved and the business goals can be realised.

There are three important steps that need to be carried out.

  1. Reviewing the business situation – i.e. defining the business’s mission, goals and objectives.
  2. Establishing marketing objectives – outlining what the business wants to achieve from its marketing plan.
  3. Developing strategies to achieve those objectives – explaining how the business is going to achieve the objectives.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

If your website cannot be seen by Search Engines, then will anyone visit it? This would be like having a shop on the High Street that no one can see, and therefore no one knows it exists.

In recent times, Google has made some dramatic changes to the way it deals with web sites.  Beyond changes to search engines, there are some important factors to consider and that will always be relevant:

  • Good, well presented and relevant content, will always attract visitors.
  • The best will always attract more than sites those which are poorer.
  • Getting lots of visitors is not the same as getting the right type of visitors.
  • Having a popular site is not the same as having a profitable site.

Promoting The Site

Promotion describes the methods used by a business to inform, persuade and remind a target market about its products.

To achieve these objectives, a promotion campaign attempts to:

  • Attract new customers by heightening their awareness of a particular product.
  • Increase brand loyalty by reinforcing the image of the product.
  • Provide information so customers can make informed decisions.
  • Encourage new and existing customers to purchase new products.
  • Change individual’s behaviour through information or persuasion.

Many of us confuse promotion with advertising because of its visibility and frequency.  Advertising, however, is just one of the four elements of the promotion mix.  A promotion mix is the various promotion methods a business can use in its promotional campaign. Businesses can choose from four methods – publicity, advertising, sales promotion and personal selling.

Publicity and Public Relations

Publicity is any free new story about a business’s products.  It differs from advertising in that it is free and its timing is not controlled by the business.

As with any other form of promotion, the main aim of publicity is to enhance the image of the product.  There are five main types of publicity.

  1. Interviews.  Private meetings of the business’s representatives with the media.
  2. Captioned photographs.  photographs plus brief explanation of a new product or service.
  3. Feature articles.  Larger articles outlining the benefits of a product or service.
  4. Press conferences.  Public meetings with the media where written and graphic materials are presented.
  5. News release.  A brief newspaper report sent to the media.

A business will use publicity to raise awareness of a product, highlight the organisation’s favourable features and help reduce any negative image that may be been created.

Public relations are those activities aimed at creating and maintaining favourable relations between a business and its customers.  It is the role of the public relations personnel to design, implement and manage the publicity events of the business.

Forms Of Advertising

Advertising is a paid, non-personal message communicated through a mass medium.  Its purpose is to inform, persuade and remind.

Advertising is one of the main forms of promotion used to attract potential customers by creating a demand for the product, informing and communicating essential information.  It can be classified into three broad groups, depending on its purpose and message:  selective or brand advertising; institutional advertising; or primary demand advertising.

  1. Selective or brand advertising.  This is used to sell a particular brand of a product and is the most common form of advertising.  Business use brand advertising to persuade consumers of the benefits of their products in order to entice the consumer to purchase their product.
  2. Institutional advertising.  This is used to enhance the image or reputation of a business rather than to sell a particular product.
  3. Primary demand advertising.  This type of advertising attempts to increase the total consumption of a product without distinguishing between brands.  These advertisements promote broad product categories.  For example, ‘trim pork’ and ‘got milk?’ campaigns.  This sort of advertising is often used with overall consumption of a product begins to decline.

Advertising media refers to the many forms of communications used to reach an audience.  There are four main types of advertising media:  television, radio, newspapers and magazines.

The type of medium selected, will depend on factors such as cost and the advertising budget, the geographic distribution of the product, advertising activities of competitors, expected response rate and the target market.  Large businesses often decide to use more than one method so as to reach as large an audience as possible.  A business may decide to advertise continuously or in cycles, and should analyse the response to each advertising strategy to determine what is most effective for their product.

Sales Promotion Activities

Sales promotions are activities that offer a direct inducement to consumers.  Examples of these are food tastings in supermarkets, a £2-off coupon with a packet of detergent, or ‘frequent flyer’ type bonus points for buying a particular product or more than two, or even shopping at a particular store.  Sales promotions can help increase the overall effectiveness of other promotional activities by reinforcing customer loyalty and enticing new customers.

The Personal Selling Method

Personal selling involves the activities of a sales representative directed to a customer in an attempt to make a sale.  The major advantage of this method is that the message can be modified to suit the individual customer’s circumstances.  Complex and technical products, in particular, require the personal contact of a sales representative to familiarise the customer with the product.

Because of the extensive time and resources involved in visiting individual customers, this strategy is the most expensive of all promotion methods, and that is its chief disadvantage.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing uses technology to interact directly with the customer.  This includes email, internet, fax etc.

Collateral Promotion

This includes a wide variety of indirect promotional material such a logos, merchandising material, packaging, brochures and corporate clothing.

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