Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Planning for Web Marketing

In this section of Entrepreneur's Blog

· Business Plans at a Glance
· Establishing Goals for Your Site
· Specifying Objectives for Your Web Site
· Understanding Market Segmentation
· Understanding Why People Buy
· Reaching Your Market Online


If you own an existing storefront you already have a business plan, which puts you ahead of the game. Creating a business plan is just as crucial for online presence as it provides a focus, combined with strategy, tactics, a marketing plan and financial forecasts, to mention just a few. Most business plans include some variation of the following sections:

1. Summary

2. Description of Business (type of business and goals)

3. Description of Product or Service

4. Competition (online and offline)

5. Marketing ( target market, needs, objectives, methods, promotion)

6. Sales Plan/Source of Income: (pricing, distribution channels, networks, associations)

7. Operations ( Facilities, staffing inventory) – if you are selling products

8. Operations (Advertising costs, membership/association fees) – if you provide a service

9. Management ( key players and board)

10. Financial Data (financing, financial projection, legal issues)

For more detailed information and sample business plans visit


To locate your area’s small business support office visit


Before you state the goals of your website, you must be clear about the goals of your business. Your website is the tail and your business is the dog. Let business needs drive your Web plans, not the other way around.

Your answers to a few basic questions establish the marketing framework for your site. Answer the questions is Website Planning Form here. www.dummies.com/go/webmarketing

These questions apply to any type of business and is a great way to give you clarity on what you are trying to achieve.

After all, only through clarity can you gain FOCUS!

Here are some examples of questions:

(A)General Profile:

>>Is the website for new or established business?
>>Does the company have an existing website/brick & mortar

>>What type of business is the website for?

(retail, service provider, professional)
>>What does the company sell (goods/services)? Describe it.
>>What type of range does the company have? (Local, regional,

national, international)

(B)Web Site goals: Ranked in order of importance to you.

__Lead Generation/ qualifying prospects
__Sales Revenue
__Ad Revenue
__Internal Needs

***Unless you have a large enough budget and staff to handle the demands of marketing to multiple audiences, select only one or two of these goals. You can add others later after benefits from your site start flowing to your bottom line.***

(C)Financial Profile:

Break Even Point................$________Within: ________
Return on Investment........._______% Within:________
Website Budget for First Year
Outside Development: $ __________
Special Elements (video) $ __________
Marketing: $ ___________
In-house labour $ ___________
Other Materials $ ___________
TOTAL $ ___________

(D)Sample Objectives:

Repeat for each goal within timeframe specified

(for example 1 year)
Traffic objective (#of viewers per month) ____ within _____
Conversion objective: __________ within ______
Sales Objectives: __________ within _____
Average $ per sale $_________ within ____
$ Revenue per month $ ________ within ____
Other objectives specific to your site $ ___ within _______

(E)Marketing Profile:

1.Describe your target markets. Give specific demographic or segment information. For B2B, segment by industry or job title.

2.What is your marketing tag? Imagine your slogan and business purpose combined in one sentence. If it helps, think of your tag as the essence of what your business is about. Here are some famous ones you will recognize, to jog your brain storming for your own TAG. Note how major brands do not combine their business purpose, as it is assumed people know what they are about. As a start up business, your tag will be your future branding pillar, so choose wisely. No pressure eh?!

I will give you the brand tag first, followed by ( >>) a Start -Up business version. Put your thinking cap on, and jot down any random ideas you have as you read the list. Don’t worry about repetition and off beat ideas. Keep writing. You can pick and chose the ones that are good later!

*Fido: The Home of Low Prices.
>>Mike’s Body Shop: Reliable Service at Affordable Prices. (show benefits not features to your audience)

*Bell: The Future is Friendly
>>C-Mart: Your Neighbourhood One Stop Shop

*Home Depot: The Know How People
>>Sparkle Window Cleaners: Enjoy your view.

*Maytag: The Blue Team. My personal favourite. I think 80% of people would figure out that it represents (Company) –washing machines, (Team) customer service of some type. Repair/installation to be exact.
>>Geek Squad: At Your Call Tech Support.

*Pentene: Salon Look Everyday
>>Cleopatra Salon: Beauty at Your Fingertips.

*Loreal: Beauty doesn’t have to hurt.

(targeted to a line of anti-wrinkle skin creams for females 50+)
>>Lee’s Nail Salon: When you want to look your best.

*Loreal: Because I’m worth it!

(hair color for females 30-40)
>>Healthy Living Outlet: Shine from within.

* Swifer: The Quicker Picker Upper.

( A disposable duster for all ya men !)
>>Laundry bags: We do it faster!

* Chivas: Live with Chivalry !

( if you have ever seen the commercial for this drink it is amazingly targeted not only to males 30+, but it appeals to the pride of men and the desires of women) I would love to shake the hand of the person that came up with this one!

*Desorono: Spread the pleasure! ( in the commercial, a 30 ish female is sipping a drink sensually with seductive eyes) again: Branding-positioning the product as pleasurable. It may not fit your taste pallet, but I bet if you saw the bottle at a bar...8/10 you will recognize and pick it, just to try. With a very specifically targeted message you got your audience hook-line-and sinker!

>>Luna Spa: The Home of Relaxation and Pleasure. If your business name already entails what you do, (spa) you will have an edge on maximizing your marketing tag. It is more functional when it comes to recognition and allows you to focus on your message. If Luna Spa was called Luna Retreat, your tag would change to...Luna Retreat: Total Body Care. Can you guess why? ..... Retreat can mean a vacation spot, time-share options, or an old folks home for all we know at first glance. So instead of focusing on my message (Relaxation and Pleasure) I now have to define what I do first. The devil hides in the details ladies and gentlemen. Remember the golden rule of 7? Marketing tags must be on the money within max 7 words!

*ING: Your Money Does Matter
>>Cornerstone Investments: Certainty in uncertain times.

*Ferrero Roche: Made by the Gods ...Pretty bold statement for wafers and chocolate. But in the grand scheme of things its where you position yourself that really counts.
>>Aunt Edna’s Cookies: For Life’s Little Temptations.

Learn from the pros! They already put the brain power and the huge amounts of money into research.

Keep your marketing tag focused and simple with a message that is universally understood. Once your company rises in the ranks and becomes a house hold name, than your tag will change to that of positioning in the market.

Worth noting when you write your own tag.

*Use action words that are descriptive.

*Keep it to max 5 words. This is important for many reasons. Average human recollection is 7 words. Your aim is to “imbed it” into people’s minds. In later stages of your business development this tag will act as your branding: it will appear in publications, you should consistently add it to your logo, business correspondence, the first page of your website, and any other place your customers see you at regularly. In short it has to be memorable and reproducible for publication.

*Get a very clear focus on what message you want it to convey. With major brands, they are merely positioning themselves according to market demand. Low prices, better service provider, no contracts, basically any aspect that reflects their edge over the competition. No one can please everybody, hence the importance of segmenting your offering to a niche market.

* Even if your business plans don’t include name recognition (though it should at any level of operation) tags help you define your exact business goal, which in turn feed further plans for marketing plans, sales plans, future developments, positioning in your specific industry and so on. I call my tag my holy grail. It reminds me every day what my focus is. (MyIdeaFactory: One Stop Solution to Business Growth) Your tag should do the same for you!

3. Value Proposition: Why should someone buy from your

company rather than another?

4. Name at least 4 competitors and their Web sites.

Now that you have outlined your business goals, you need to decide what your Web site must accomplish from a marketing perspective. The goals you set for your site plus the definition of your target market should drive both your Web design and marketing.


This is the part where the rubber hits the road. Your well defined goals come to life through specifying the criteria that satisfy them. That means establishing measurable objectives. First, plug in your numbers from your Financial Profile. (Break Even Point, Return on Investment, and Budget). Your budget and ROI expectations might constrain how much you can spend on marketing, hence how much traffic your Web site will receive. Take this into consideration as you specify numeric targets and time-frames to accomplish them. Don’t doom your site to failure from the get go by setting unrealistic objectives.

Tracking your data for a 13 month period so you can compare same date results. Almost all businesses experience some cyclical variation tied to the calendar. Here are some examples of goals and their measurable counterparts to help you get started.


*Managing Customer Service Number of phone calls/e-mails, amount of traffic to various pages, hours of site use, cost savings, time savings

*Branding Onsite traffic, time onsite, activities performed, coupons/offers downloaded, gross revenues

*Generating Qualified Leads Number of phone calls and e-mails. Conversion rate (CR) of visits to leads, CR of leads to sales as compared to other lead sources, traffic to various pages, number of e-mail addresses acquired, cost of customer acquision

*Generating Online Sales CR of visitors to buyers, sales revenue, average dollar value of sale, number of repeat buyers, profit from online sales, promo code use, sales closed offline that are generated form Web

*Generating Ad Revenue Ad revenue, click through rate, page views per ad, traffic to various pages, visitor demographics

*Measuring Internal Goals CR for various actions, site traffic, other measurements specific to your own goals

*Transforming the business Site revenue, costs, profits, time savings, costs savings, , other measurements specific to your own goals


Market Segmentation : dividing your prospects into smaller sets of prospects who share certain characteristics, takes many different forms. Select the one that best fits your business. For your online marketing plan you need to locate the various sites on the web where your target audiences hang out. You need to know who they are!

Here are a few forms of marketing segmentation:

1-Demographic Segmentation: Sorts by age, gender,

socioeconomic status, or education for B2C companies.

2-Lifecycle Segmentation: Acknowledges that consumers need different products at different stages of their life (teens, young singles, married couples, families with kids, empty nesters, active retirees, frail elderly)

3-Geographic Segmentation: Targets areas. Postal Code >City>Province> National>International

4-Vertical Industry Segmentation: Targets all elements within a defined industry as a B2B strategy.

5-Job Segmentation: Identifies different decision makers (such as engineers, purchasing agents, and managers) at specific point of the B2B sales cycle.

6-Specialty Segmentation: Targets a narrowly defined market ( such as 16-35 year old male owners of classic Mustangs)

Your online target audience may differ slightly from your offline audience. It might be more geographically diverse, wealthier, older, younger, more educated, more motivated by price than features or vice versa. The only way to discover these variations is from experience. Use the guerrilla tactic (one aim, or segment at a time).

Two reasons for this:

1. It is cheaper and more manageable to take on one segment at a time

2. It allows for true evaluation, and as you add new segments each will be measurable individually.

To give you an example of how to measure different segment successes, in terms of your marketing efforts, here are two scenarios.

1)Segment is Vertical industry: Web Marketing & New Media Websites with an aim of B2B strategy.

As part of my efforts to build readership I create online presence for my blog (MIF) on various Web sites. I do this through leaving comments with my blog link on industry specific pages. In my Website administration, I set up a system to track all incoming clicks from the sites I left the comments on. Also called “trackbacks”. But I prefer to call it “my little bread crumbs” that leads people to me. Let’s call these incoming trackbacks my : B2B-List. I further break it down to categories that suite me such as B2B List>Online service providers, B2B List>Resource & Content providers and so on. Since trackback gives me the page address it was generated from, I file it in each subcategory of my B2B List. In time this is what the results are.

B2B List:
Online service providers:

Website #1 52 hits
Website#2 35 hits
Website#3 63 hits

Resource & Content providers:

Website #1 85 hits
Website#2 64 hits
Website#3 98 hits

I can than conclude that leaving comments on Resource and Content providers’ Web sites—dealing with Web Marketing & New Media, will generate more incoming traffic for me. Which makes sense, because my Blog is geared towards providing content-not selling online services. I now have an audience of like minds and a specifically selected segment based on facts, not predictions!

2)Segment is Demographic: Online,paid advertising on special interest pages aimed at B2Cstrategy.

You are probably familiar with this method of tracking advertising responses. The CODE! Yup! It is your best friend. It comes in various forms: get a discount if you enter the code, have access to all my posts with the code, but in the end you have one aim. KNOW where you were seen! Each advertisement gets its own id tag. For example: Investmentgroup.com – Code: IG-128. Fishermansjournal.com –Code: FJ-128

Notice that its a good idea to make your codes logical, because in 1 year’s time you may not remember your campaign details. -128 is my version of hiding date reminders, 12- (December), 8 -(2008).

This may seem tedious at first, but if you keep your records updated consistently it gives you amazing leverage over picking the right segments, strategies, and tactics to work with. As the carpenters like to say, “measure twice, cut once”. It is the same for online business. Measure your results and ONLY than make a strategic decision!

Like in the first example, based on my best category responses I focus my efforts more on the specific Web Sites that bring me more traffic.

Understanding Why People Buy

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, everyone has to satisfy certain needs before they can achieve their maximum potential. In order of importance the needs are:

Physiological Needs > Safety Needs > Social Needs > Esteem Needs > Self-Actualization.

In marketing terms, people buy certain products or seek certain types of information to satisfy one or more of their needs. Of the five levels in Maslow’s Theory, the first two are basic needs, the last three are growing needs. At this point, people can find Web sites to satisfy every need in the five categories.

To increase your conversion rate ( the percent of site visitors who buy), match your message to the needs your products fulfill. If you identify the specific benefits that people are looking for, you are more likely to close the sale. For instance, an esteem message would talk about the exclusivity of owning jewellery from Tiffany’s, not about saving money.

Reaching Your Market Online

If you are sure how to define your market segments, check some of the online market research sites listed below. These sites offer a wealth of statistical data about the demographics of online users, what type of products sell well, and the growth of internet use by demographic segments.

If your target audience is not online, the Web should not be a part of your marketing mix for end user sales! It can still fulfill other functions .

ClickZ http://www.clickz.com/ Marketing, Stats, resources, articles and more
Internet System Consortium www.isc.org/index.pl?/ops/ds Internet domain survey host count
Internet.com http://www.internet.com/ Marketing Newsletter and Resource providers list
Marketing Sherpa http://www.marketingsherpa.com/ Case studies & free articles, fee based marketing library
Harris Interactive Report http://harrisinteractive.com/ Online market information

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