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| In this edition: Marketing Strategies for the New Year - Is Internet Marketing Part of Your Plan? |

Marketing Strategies for the New Year

...Is Internet Marketing Part of Your Plan?

Welcome to the latest edition of the Inside Edge--your monthly report on Internet trends and advancements that can turn your business into a more profitable e-business. In this month's edition we share with you some universal trends and statistics about online marketing that can help you fine tune your e-business. As you get ready to ring in the New Year and plan future marketing strategies, don't forget to include Internet marketing as an integral part of your planning.

Another year is on its way out and many business owners like you are reflecting on the successes and failures their business has experienced over the last twelve months. It is also a time when goals and objectives are being set for the coming year. Strategic marketing planning in the small and medium sized business world is increasingly becoming a vital business function. As market orientation changes with customers defining higher levels of expected customer service, organizations need to focus heavily on product and service quality and availability, competitive pricing and access to information. Your business, no doubt, will also review and refine marketing methodology for the next year with a view to retaining customers, attracting new ones and increasing overall profitability.

Typically, a marketing plan for most businesses involves five basic steps of:

  • Setting goals and objectives
  • Defining marketing methodology – tools, techniques and go-to-market strategies
  • Resource planning and deployment - manpower, budget allocation, infrastructure
  • Reviewing targets – accomplishments, shortfalls
  • Measuring Return on Investment (RoI)

Interestingly, each of the steps mentioned above, can and ideally, should have an online component. If Internet marketing wasn't a significant part of your marketing planning until now, you may have missed the flight, but you might still be able to get on the boat! Maybe you have used online marketing techniques already, in which case, it's time to take a close look at the behavioral patterns of your online customers in order to attract more targeted traffic and convert more customers.

FutureNow's "2007 Retail Customer Experience Study" shows that online retailers (US) are failing to execute on many e-commerce basics. FutureNow sent mystery shoppers and analysts to over 300 retail websites. Of those sites,

  • 74% offered estimated delivery times
  • 61% did not offer any information on the product page regarding in-stock availability
  • Only 58% correctly answered an email question within 24 hours
  • 52% of retailers had physical stores; only 10% of all retailers offered in-store pickup of orders
  • Less than half (43%) offered free shipping
  • Only 42% provided shipping costs early in the checkout process
  • 35% had a checkout process with more than four steps
  • As little as 33% offered customer reviews

Take a moment to think about how your website would rate on all of the above expected best practices. It would be worthwhile to meet with your WSI Internet Marketing Consultant and discuss areas of improvement and how they can be achieved in the near future.

The fundamental questions you should aim to answer in your Internet marketing plan are:

  • Based on your business goals and objectives, what results do you want your website to accomplish? Think in terms of expanded reach to a greater audience, increased targeted traffic, enhanced customer conversion and bigger, better, ongoing profits.
  • How much are you willing to invest in order to achieve those results? Aim to ensure that your cost per new conversion or cost per customer retention is justified not only by the overall revenue but also by the level of spending per customer. For example, an email marketing database of high net-worth prospects should not cost you more than the income potential that these prospective buyers have to offer you. Also, if you have been using Internet marketing techniques like Pay-per-Click (PPC) by doing it yourself, analyze whether it is worth spending the kind of time you would for the results you can achieve on your own. Or would it make better business sense to outsource a highly effective, yet inexpensive online marketing technique to an expert who can guarantee optimal results and ongoing RoI?
  • Internet marketing aims to create effective "call-to-action". Have you defined the desired "action"(s)? What do you want visitors to do when they come to your website? To turn visitors into customers, you need to know your target audience and give them reasons to work with you instead of the competition. Use Web analytics reporting to study customer behavior and pay attention to the areas of "high abandonment" in your site.

Over the last year, the WSI Inside Edge newsletter has covered several Internet marketing fundamentals, trends, techniques and best practices such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-per-Click (PPC), Email marketing, Web Analytics, e-Commerce, Online brand building and so on. To find out more about how you can leverage any or all of these Internet marketing methodologies by including them in your marketing plan, contact your WSI Consultant today. This could be an important meeting for your business.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

This edition of the Inside Edge has been brought to you by Ron McArthur, Certified Internet Consultant.

For more information about WSI Internet Solutions for your business contact us today!
mailto:[email protected]
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Mississauga, ON L4W 4Y1

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