Achieve your 2010 Web marketing goals

Yield Software · December 22, 2009 · Short URL:

First and foremost: Have a written plan!

Plan!Now that you’ve solicited ideas from your co-workers and you’ve evaluated your 2009 marketing efforts, it’s time to roll this data into a Web marketing plan for 2010.  Follow this basic plan for setting up a credible plan before moving into the new year.

Establish Objectives

To be effective, your Web marketing plan should tie into measurable, realistic and time-based business objectives. For instance, let’s say you want to increase the number of readers to your blog because you’ve noticed that once people find your blog, they stick around and perform other actions on your website.

Instead of using the vague phrase “Increase number of visitors to the blog,” state your objective this way: “Increase the number of visitors to the blog who download our e-book by 10% for Q1.” You can then base your marketing tactics on this objective. These tactics could include:

• Posting comments on other blogs (to drive traffic to your blog)
• Developing a PPC campaign to promote your e-book
• Posting links to your blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
• Publicizing your blog posts in your e-newsletter

Develop a Web Marketing Plan Format

You can format your Web marketing plan in whichever way makes most sense to you and your team. At a minimum, fire up Excel or a spreadsheet in Google Docs and start by listing your objectives, tactics, and timelines, and any associated costs for each tactic.  You can use a table format with columns for:

(a) objectives

(b) tactics

(c) budgeted costs

(d) actual costs

(e) results, and

(f) status.

Or, you can list each month in a linear format and then bullet your marketing tactics as a list of “to-dos” for each month.  If you’re using Google Docs, make sure each stakeholder has been invited to the spreadsheet so it becomes a living, accessible roadmap — and transparent accountability measure — for how it is you and your team achieve stated objectives throughout 2010.

Divide Web marketing tactics or “to-dos” into categories like:

• Social Media (including Twitter campaigns, and video or podcast publishing)
• Website (including your blog and landing pages)
• Search Marketing (including SEO, local search initiatives and PPC campaigns)
• Display Advertising (for Web publications, ad networks, social networks, and the like)
• Email Marketing (including your newsletter and promotional emails)

Set Up Accountability Measures

Whether you’re accountable to no one, a single boss or a whole team, it’s critical you set up regular mechanisms for evaluating your progress against stated goals throughout the year.  I also advise that you include deadlines for all of your marketing initiatives – big and small. As we all know, marketing projects tend to get shifted to the back burner due to the every day challenges of running a growing business.  The biggest issue for all those running Web marketing campaigns, however, is the tendency to “set it and forget it”.  The Web is a constantly shifting, ever-changing beast, and marketing on the Web requires your regular attention.

For instance, if you want to revamp your PPC campaign, set a deadline for that.  If you want your PPC campaign to deliver increases in traffic, traffic quality or conversions, set your goals and the dates by which you’d like to see incremental progress toward those goals. (Be sure to use the tools available to you in the Yield Web Marketing Suite if this happens to be one of your objectives.)  Depending on the types and number of goals you set for yourself or team, you may want to check in daily, or weekly, or monthly, or quarterly.  In no case, however, should you put off evaluating your progress any longer than quarterly; it’s hard to remain accountable for an objective when you check in on your status once or twice a year!

Plan for Big Events

If you’re developing a new product or service, you’ll want to incorporate deadlines for developing the corresponding marketing collateral, PR, advertising, tradeshow materials, and online content for blogs, landing pages, website pages (which will help with SEO), and PPC campaigns.  If you participate in events like tradeshows, make sure those are called out in your plan so you have all the elements in place to take full advantage of your participation.

Set your deadline for tradeshows or when you anticipate the new product or service being available, then work backward. If your event or product is set to go on July 1, you really need to begin developing the marketing and PR materials around it in January. (Trust me: too many companies make the mistake of thinking about marketing an event or product until the last minute – when it’s often too late.)  Make sure you have some goals associated with an event or the launch of a new product or service.  Are there product brand awareness objectives?  Or lead generation goals?  How about sales objectives?  Set reasonable, achievable, but nevertheless “stretch” objectives for your events andnew initiative and then regularly measure your progress against those objectives.

In Summary

Develop a plan for making gains in 2010.

Remember: don’t file your plan away and forget about it.  Be invested in it.

Once you have your written plan in place, refer to it often to ensure you’re on track. It also helps to meet with your team shortly after each quarter ends to see where you stand with projects; if objectives are being met; and, any challenges you’re facing. You can then make course corrections and/or revise deadlines — but only after you understand why such corrections are necessary.

Keeping your team in the loop helps keep them accountable and allows them to provide customer feedback or insights you might not have had when you first developed your plan.

We hope you’ll make improving your Web marketing campaigns part of your business objectives for 2010.  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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