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Choosing Tactics for Your Web Site Marketing Plan
By Bobette Kyle

Objectives, strategies, and tactics - these are the parts of a solid strategic marketing plan. Your site objective defines the big picture, strategies provide the framework, and tactics fill in the details. Tactics are where the action takes place - these are the things you will do to bring your plans to life.

There is no shortage of Internet- related marketing tactics. Many have great potential. The challenge is to sift through and choose the ones that are right for your situation - the ones that have the *greatest* potential to support your strategies. Randomly ricocheting from one "proven technique" to another will frazzle and disjoint both you and your business.

Examples of promotional tactics are numerous, as are sources of advice. Public relations, search engine optimization, affiliate programs, reciprocal linking, advertising, direct email, newsletters, and customer incentives are all promotional tactics that may be appropriate for your plan. (You can learn more on each of these in the small business resources here.)

A key to knowing which tactics to choose involves thoroughly understanding your target audience(s) and your positioning relative to each. Other elements in your marketing mix (price, product, and place/distribution) come into play as well. Once you have addressed these strategic issues, you will be better able to choose tactics with the most potential to increase your business.

Target Audience

A target audience is an identifiable group of people that could benefit from purchasing your product, visiting your site, and/or responding to some other call to action. You can define your target audience(s) according to some combination of behavior, demographics, psychology, and/or social influences. You are likely to have several potential target audiences; focus on those you can most profitably help.

Marketing to a target audience involves understanding how you can help them, developing effective messages, then reaching them via appropriate tactics. By using this approach you can focus your resources on tactics that are most likely to increase sales for your business. Hence, earning the greatest return from your marketing activities.

Positioning

Positioning defines your product, business, and/or site for those in your target audience. It sets the stage for your image - how your target audience perceives your business - and shows your audience the benefits you provide.

The positioning process involves first understanding the needs and wants of your target audience. You should also know the positioning strategies of your competitors and have a thorough knowledge of your own product's features. Armed with that information, you can better develop tactics that will most closely fit your positioning.

Another factor to keep in mind is your online positioning will be tightly interwoven with your off-line positioning. Because your business and products are a reality in both the physical and virtual worlds, your positioning should be consistent across both. Accordingly, your marketing tactics should be consistent as well.

The Four P's - Price, Product, Place, and Promotion

Too often, we tend to focus on "promotion" to the detriment of the other marketing mix elements. When choosing tactics for your Web site marketing plan, consider *each* of the four P's in your marketing mix - price, product, place (distribution), and promotion. You are likely to find the results much better than if you include promotions alone.

The opportunities for incorporating all four P's into your plan are numerous. You may find, after studying the competition, that increasing or decreasing your price is likely to result in better profits for your business. Perhaps there is a distribution channel (electronic delivery or mail order, for example) you haven't fully integrated into your business. With respect to products, developing a new product or giving an existing product a facelift may be an effective business-building tactic.

By considering the Four P's, your target audience(s), and positioning, you can be better prepared to choose effective tactics for your Web site marketing plan. Once your tactics are chosen, you are ready to begin implementing and evaluating results.

Related Articles:

Developing a Web Site Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan is the compass by which you navigate. As opportunities arise or your business environment changes, the objective and strategies in your marketing plan will point you toward the best action. Without a marketing plan, you risk becoming unfocused in your marketing and are only guessing what might be best for your business.

Your Web Site's Objective
Think of a Web site objective as the "big picture". In general terms, the objective answers the question "How can I use the site to overcome my business's main Internet related challenge?" or "What is the purpose of my site?".

Strategies for Your Web Site Marketing Plan
How strong are your Web site strategies? Do they move your business toward achieving your objectives or overall goals? Think of your strategies as a framework that clarifies the approaches you will take in meeting your Web site's objectives. They are more specific than the objective, but do not include exact details. After developing the strategic framework, you will fill in the details with tactics.


Copyright 2002 Bobette Kyle. All rights reserved.

This article is based on Bobette's book "How Much For Just the Spider? Strategic Web Site Marketing for Small-Budget Businesses", http://www.booklocker.com/books/711.html

Bobette Kyle has over 10 years experience in Corporate Marketing; Brand and Product Marketing; Field Marketing and Sales; and Management. Through her newsletter, site, and marketing services she helps businesses integrate traditional and Internet marketing strategies, http://www.WebSiteMarketingPlan.com

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