If you own a website or an online business, you likely already know how important Internet marketing is. You have to market your site if you want people to be aware of it (meaning you’ll get visitors, customers, and / or ad revenue). Yet many site owners and online business owners go about it all wrong. Then they wonder why their Internet marketing efforts aren’t paying off quite as they hoped.
Let’s take a quick look at one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to Internet marketing, and then we can see what an Internet marketing campaign should actually look like. Hopefully this will help you outline your own plan without making a common campaign-killing mistake.
The #1 Internet Marketing Mistake
You’ve tried every Internet marketing tactic you can think of. You’ve tried article marketing, PPC ads, affiliate marketing, link building, guest posting, blog commenting, on-site SEO, social bookmarking, social networking, tweeting, blogging, online videos, email marketing, and offering mobile content. Yet you’re still not getting the traffic you want. Or maybe it’s not well-targeted traffic. Or perhaps you’re getting the traffic, but your site metrics suck (like visitors leaving your site immediately and rarely coming back).
Hold on there cowboy! You need to slow down, back it up, and start at the beginning.
If that scenario sounds like you, you’ve probably just committed the most common Internet marketing mistake out there — trying to do too much, and doing it with a lack of focus. Marketing campaigns aren’t about dabbling in every tactic you can. They’re about planning, targeting, and evaluation. In many cases, less really is more!
The Internet Marketing Campaign Process
If you neglect the planning phase, your marketing campaign will likely fail. If you don’t stick with a tactic for more than a few weeks because you’re moving onto something else, your marketing campaign will probably fail. If you spread yourself too thin, your marketing plan will — you guessed it — likely fail!
To make sure your Internet marketing campaign is a success, you should outline a plan, stick to it, and evaluate your progress along the way so you can make changes if and when it’s appropriate. Even more importantly, your tactics should be planned with two things in mind:
- Each tactic should be in support of a particular strategy you’ve planned to reach a specific goal;
- Every Internet marketing tactic you incorporate in your campaign should actually reach your target market.
Let’s take a look at a simple outline for an Internet marketing campaign, which you can use to map out your own.
Internet Marketing Campaign Outline
Think of your marketing campaign outline as a short-form marketing plan. You’ll need to include much of the same information. Here is a simple outline to get you started. Just answer the following questions or fill in the blanks with your own information.
- Who is your marketing campaign targeting? (If you say “everyone,” you’re wrong. No site or campaign targets everyone. Think about demographics — gender, nationalities, age ranges, income levels, etc.)
- What are your campaign goals? (Try to make your goals specific and measureable. For example “increase traffic” is not a goal. “Reach 100,000 monthly visitors within three months” is a decent marketing goal — it involves a specific goal level, and a measurable one not only in the number of visitors but also through a time limit).
- What are your strategies for reaching those goals? (Strategies are broad approaches for reaching each specific goal you listed in the previous step. For example, you might have a strategy of offering freebies to entice people to visit your site and tell others about it so you can reach your traffic goal. You can have more than one strategy for each goal of your Internet marketing campaign.)
- What tactics work within your strategic plan? (Look at your strategies and the target market you established previously. Each tactic should work within your strategies, and they should all appeal to your specific target market. For example, if you run a site on dog training you might decide to release a free e-book to get traffic. It fits within the example strategy we gave earlier. But you can’t release just any e-book. It has to be relevant to your audience. A free e-book on wedding planning for example will not appeal to your target market, bringing in the type of traffic you really want on your site. A free e-book on house training a puppy would fit very well within your strategic plan and be very relevant to your target market. It’s the better tactic. Create a list of tactics you could pursue for each strategy. As another example, if your site targets senior citizens, social media tactics will probably be much less effective than they would be in targeting the college-aged crowd.)
How will you evaluate your campaign progress? (Before you pursue any Internet marketing tactic, you need to know how you’ll evaluate it. Otherwise, you won’t know when to measure results, how to do it, or when to decide if it’s time to move on to something else. How long will you give each tactic to start showing results? Some might take weeks or even months to be fully effective. Others might offer results more quickly.)
Creating an Internet marketing campaign plan does mean you’ll leave some marketing tactics behind. You don’t want to do everything. You just want the best of the best, and that’s where you’ll want to put your time and money. By spreading yourself too thin, you’ll never fully enjoy the benefits of any single tactic because you can’t pursue everything fairly when you’re trying to do too much.
This Internet marketing campaign outline isn’t meant to be a substitute for a marketing plan. It’s highly recommended that you complete a marketing plan first, where you’ll more thoroughly evaluate your target market, competition, budget, and other things that will influence any Internet marketing campaign you run.
Do you have tips on running more effective Internet marketing campaigns? Share them in the comments below!