Choosing Effective Programs for Your Internet Marketing Plan


Objectives, strategies, and tactics (i.e. programs or action plans) - 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 and "work" your marketing mix.

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 and, together, incorporate all elements of the four p's. 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.

A key to knowing which tactics to choose involves thoroughly understanding your target markets 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 Market

A target market 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 market(s) according to some combination of behavior, demographics, psychology, and/or social influences. You are likely to have several potential target markets; focus on those you can most profitably help.

Marketing to a target market involves understanding how you can help them, developing effective messages, then reaching them via appropriate tactics that use all of the four p's. By using this approach you can focus your marketing mix 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 market. It sets the stage for your image - how your target market perceives your business - and shows your market the benefits you provide.

The positioning process involves first understanding the needs and wants of your target market. 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 Website marketing plan, consider *each* of the four P's (4 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 (4 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 mailorder, 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 (4 P's), your target market(s), and positioning, you can be better prepared to choose effective tactics for your Website marketing plan. Once your tactics are chosen, you are ready to begin implementing and evaluating results.

Bobette Kyle draws upon 12+ years of Marketing/Executive experience, Marketing MBA, and online marketing research in her writing. Bobette is proprietor of the Web Site Marketing Plan Network, http://www.websitemarketingplan.com, and author of the marketing plan and Web promotion book "How Much For Just the Spider? Strategic Website Marketing For Small Budget Business": http://www.HowMuchForSpider.com

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