Develop a Marketing Plan for a New Website - dummies

Develop a Marketing Plan for a New Website

By Lisa Lopuck

The marketing plan for a website can begin to happen in parallel to the site’s development. Do not underestimate the importance of marketing websites. The Internet simply has too many websites for anyone to find or care about your site unless you bring it to their attention.

Therefore you or a dedicated marketing person on your team must sit down with the client and brainstorm a plan. Although some clients may not know the best way to market their website, they do know a lot about reaching their customers. Together, your team and the client should develop a list of ideas, a set of action items, and a budget.

Offline marketing for a website

The most effective way to market a website is to combine online and offline marketing campaigns. Offline marketing refers to all media that’s not on the web. Wherever a client currently advertises its product or service should always include the company’s web and social media addresses.

Online web marketing

Online marketing refers to a web-based campaign (for example, buying those banners at the top of web pages or ads that get inserted inside YouTube videos). What is significant and superior about online advertising is that the measuring tools are so good that you can really “keep score” of how well your campaign is doing and see in real time who is responding to your message. Also unique to online advertising is the trend toward content-based advertising, where the ad itself is entertaining and informative, and not purely a sales pitch. Here are some common outlets for your creative online marketing campaign:

  • Facebook marketing. Buying a Facebook “sponsored story” ad is highly effective because when someone — say “Linda” — “likes” your page, her network of friends will see your ad appear. Facebook “page ads” are less personal but have a wider reach because you determine the demographic and geographic that should see your ad.

  • YouTube marketing. YouTube also offers many ways advertisers can reach a targeted demographic. You can either purchase an in-video ad that plays before a video starts or as a little pop-up during the video, or you can pay to promote your own video by purchasing keywords (words that people might enter into a search field to find your company, product, or service).

  • Twitter advertising. On Twitter, you can purchase a Promoted Tweet, a Promoted Trend, or a Promoted Account to target users based on their geographical location, interests, or keyword searches. Promoted Trends are a little different in that they are topics of conversation. Topics occur organically, but you can purchase a topic and have it appear in the list to hopefully start a conversation around your brand.

  • Mobile and device marketing. With iAd, Apple offers advertisers a way to target iPhone and iPad users, based on demographics, geographical location, and their interests. These unique ads can be highly interactive mini applications that allow users to do things like get instant coupons or even configure an outfit and have it set aside at the nearest store for pick up. Another popular marketing tactic is the use of QR (quick response) codes. These are the funny symbols you can print in your offline marketing materials. Users scan these codes with their phones, which brings them to whatever web page you desire — a content entry form, a video, or even an instant discount coupon.

    [Credit: © PhotoARTZ.]
    Credit: © PhotoARTZ.
  • Search engine marketing. Most people find new websites by using a search engine such as Google. When you type a term in the Search field of one of these sites, up comes a listing of sites that match your key words and phrases.

  • E-mail marketing. Depending on your customer demographic, e-mail marketing may or may not be an effective tool. When you register at a website and give them your e-mail address, unless you specifically uncheck all the hidden boxes, expect to be bombarded with daily or weekly e-mails. If you do decide on an e-mail campaign, your e-mails must contain a link that the customer can use to unsubscribe.

  • Link exchanges. In the past, exchanging links with partner sites was a key way to navigate the Internet. Today, with modern search engines, link exchanges are primarily important for SEO purposes.

    Be sure to limit your inbound links to the genuine article — and that you have a reasonable number of them. If a site uses too many link exchanges, search engines see that as link farming — in effect, spamming with links — and penalize such sites with lower ranking.