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
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.
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
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 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
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 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