Writing Your Online Marketing Plan - dummies

By Jan Zimmerman

Your business might have a formal marketing plan, or perhaps you have been in business so long that your marketing basics are second nature. For the sake of completeness and easy communication with others, think about the following marketing items:

  • Marketing tag: Define your marketing tag, which is the five- to seven-word phrase that describes what your business offers or who you are. This phrase probably appears (or should) on almost all your stationery, business cards, advertising, and packaging. Like your logo, your marketing tag helps define your public image.

    Your marketing tag should appear on your website as well. Many companies include a tag in their header graphic to reinforce branding. You can see an example tag (“Live, Work, Play”) on the city of SantaFe’s website, shown in the following illustration.

  • Value proposition: Why should someone buy from your company rather than from a competitor?

  • Competitors: Make a list of the names of at least six competitors and their web addresses.

    After you go online, your universe of competitors expands phenomenally. If you’ve been selling locally but plan to expand your market size, you’ll find lots of other competitors online. You’ll find competitors for your type of business in search engines, online Yellow Pages, or online business directories. This effort can be a bit sobering, but it’s better to be prepared than surprised.

    The relaunch of SantaFe.com as an advertising-supported website required a new business plan. [Cred
    Credit: Courtesy of SantaFe.com, Hutton Broadcasting LLC
    The relaunch of SantaFe.com as an advertising-supported website required a new business plan.

Before writing an online marketing plan, consider how other traditional marketing concepts apply in cyberspace: the classic four Ps of marketing and the obvious, but often-forgotten, need to fish where the fish are. Use these tools as part of your planning process to resolve problems before they impede your online success.