Having an ‘Online marketing strategy’ describes a thought-through means of generating a high volume of traffic to a particular website. But what does having an online marketing strategy really mean? For ‘Strategy’ read ‘Plan’ – A plan has to have aims, objectives and tactics (the employed methods for achieving the aims and objectives). Aims are broad. imagine an archer aiming for a target 50 metres away. Objectives are researched, factual and measureable.
Businesses have three basic aims, the same applies to their websites. These are:
An Online Marketing Strategy should definitely address number 3 in the list above. For certain sites, it will address all three aims, for instance, e-commerce websites and websites reliant on advertising return. The Audience aim will include unique visitors, site visits, page views and time spent on site. The strategy lies in prioritising the aims and objectives and thinking about what happens next.
Which tactics can be used?
Each online marketing tactic will require a different amount of time, energy and sometimes money spent. Eight tactics are listed below in order of priority.
1. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Search engine traffic is the life-blood of any business website and Google is the dominant source. This makes SEO a most valuable tactic. Time and attention should be given to doing this well.
2. Link building
When analytics software is installed on a site, it often provides a list of ‘Referring Sites’ as a source of traffic. These are usually links that someone has clicked. Referring sites will either put up a link on their own, or after being asked to do such. Good quality links act as votes for the landing page on the other site, thereby improving the sites search engine rank.
The best quality traffic is that of returning visitors. These don’t cost anything in resources or money. The more of this kind of traffic, the stronger the brand and the more valuable the audience.
4. Social media
Focussed use of social media for your business can strengthen your brand and drive traffic. For instance, Facebook is great for building your brand whereas Twitter focusses more on interaction with your audience.
Banner ads and Facebook ads are good for brand-development and Pay Per Click (PPC) is good for getting a response and boosting site visits.
Blogs are a great way of keeping your site fresh and holding interest. Propagation of your blog posts via RSS to other sites adds to your site’s SEO.
7. Content marketing
This involves contributing to online magazine columns, blog posts and forums etc. Post to as many high profile sites as possible.
8. Email marketing
Spammers, social media, SMS and instant messenging have meant email marketing has fallen to last place. However it is still possible to build a good mailing list via careful attention to content and mailshot frequency. Some sites have email newsletters with hundreds and thousands of subscribers.
The definition of strategy
Strategy is not just a list of tactics, but a thorough process of achieving the most important, relevant and lucrative results for your business.