Internet marketing itself appears very difficult because of the too frequent changes in the web space let alone the technicalities of search engine optimization (SEO), advertising, social media and others.
However, by understanding the ground rules of Internet marketing, you’d be able to scale these boring hurdles with less stress.
There are a few steps you may follow.
Stage 1: Analyze the Opportunities in the Market
A good start towards a superb overall Internet marketing process is to begin by analyzing the market opportunities; the demand and supply; and the extent to which demand or supply is being met.
For example, consider the wider niche of your Internet business area, and research the opportunities that are still untapped.
To start with,
Identify the customers you intend to satisfy (your target customers) including your existing and potential customers. You may need to ask,
- Who needs my product(s)? Are they individuals or organizations?
- Why should they, he or she buy my product(s)
Get to know the needs of your customers; their cultural, social and psychological influences and age.
This will help you determine what exactly you should offer them.
You can discover the customer behavior through various means. You can,
- Check your own data
- Gather intelligence in your area by visiting forums, reading white papers and reports
- Do research by yourself. You can use a ‘poll’ to do that.
- Follow trade journals and publications of established web portals
Keep a keen eye on your competitors. You need to analyze your competitive strengths.
- Find out your competitive threats: These are people offering similar products, products that can substitute your product, completely new players, options available to your customers and the extent of your supplier’s power.
- Check out your competitors’ strategies, goals, business models, strengths, and weaknesses.
Learn how to build an effective customer service strategy here.
Stage 2: Formulate an Internet Marketing Strategy
As you analyze your Internet market, you’d likely find loopholes where you can come in. Note down all these loopholes, and use it to develop a marketing strategy for yourself.
To do this,
- You should brainstorm to get new or creative ideas
- Define the advantage of your product or service you are offering over others.
- You can test your ideas within a smaller niche
As you strategize, you need to put a few things into consideration,
- What is the size of my target market?
- What is their typical behavior?
- What are my long-term plans?
The test of an effective internet marketing strategy is the ease of its implementation and not its sophistication.
Can you explain your strategy to a novice in two or three sentences? If not, check again to see if your strategy is not too complex.
Stage 3: Have a Sound Internet Marketing Plan
After strategizing, your ideas may appear scattered. What you should do at this time is to create a plan to guide you from one step to another. A good plan often precedes a sound execution strategy.
Choose exactly how you’d position yourself or business in the marketplace. Decide your pricing strategy, advertising platforms, and products promotion plans.
This is very important!
You may need to constantly develop new products to sustain the interests of your customers. Your success in marketing typically depends on your ability to constantly create innovative products and services.
As you already know, customers like to have new choices. To retain them, you need to constantly research and develop new offerings. Also, think about the popular theory of a ‘product’s life cycle’. As soon as sales trend begins to stabilize, your new product should be on its way.
For example, consider the overwhelming amount of innovations that have changed Facebook into what it is today? Little wonder, Six Facebook billionaires make it on to Forbes's latest rich list.
You can read about maximizing your social media plan here.
Stage 4: Execute Your Plan Tenaciously
Tenacity is required in your execution process. From time to time, you’d be faced with little problems (in Internet marketing) that would appear difficult at first. In cases like this, you should focus on getting results.
- Ensure you follow already established standards, and focus on your customer experience.
- Monitor the readiness of your market before launching your products.
- Tailor your marketing strategies along with your product lifecycle.
Stage 5: Monitor Your Results Constantly
Lastly, you need to constantly monitor your results and improve on your previous position.
A strategy is bad until it involves monitoring and improvement. Monitoring helps you see the loopholes in your Internet marketing strategy, and it opens your eyes to more opportunities. As you monitor, adjust your plan according to the trends you notice.
I wish you great success in your internet marketing efforts. Bear these tips in mind so that you won’t have to reinvent the wheel.