Strategic Internet Marketing

A strategic Internet marketing plan will more likely set a business up for success, rather than failure, if it is outlined carefully through proper research and thoughtful preparation. For any venture in life, planning is usually the key to a successful execution of the desired activity and a strategic marketing plan for success is no less important than for any other new venture. There are some similarities in online business strategies with offline endeavors, but business opportunities online require certain fundamental strategies for effective Internet marketing that must be implemented in order insure success. The very first place to start in mapping out an effective strategy is to produce a well designed business plan.

There are several things to consider when writing out any business plan and especially an online business plan. Simply put, a strategic marketing plan will outline business objectives and the subsequent ways to achieve those objectives. A business design should be fully structured, yet flexible enough to allow changes when an unexpected challenge occurs. Plans are especially important when other parties are involved who want to know exactly what the proposed venture will entail with regards to financial investment, personnel requirements and possible profits. Good planning helps keep a business venture on track from the get-go without allowing for distractions that are inherent in poor planning. Focus, accountability and realistic requirements are what good business plans offer anyone who is considering starting an online business. "The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious." (Proverbs 12:27)

Determining the target consumer group or niche audience is perhaps the most important aspect of producing an effective business model. Time and time again, successful online businesses have proven that strategic Internet marketing to a specified niche group is the bread and butter of any venture. While there are many broadly placed business structures on the web such as shopping portals and online malls, the smaller web business must be targeted at a specific niche in order to be highly successful. Large corporations and highly funded investors can provide the massive marketing techniques that may prove successful for broad business ventures. However, by and large, most successful Internet businesses are those that are moderately sized or small companies that have found a specific group who has a need that they can fulfill.

When analyzing any potential target group within a business model, there are several aspects to consider such as age, gender, marital status, income level, and education. Other issues can have a bearing on which direction a strategic marketing plan is channeled within these considerations such as health, specific interests and size of a family unit. A determination of what commonality is possible between a certain group and the proposed commercial offering to that group is important for strategic Internet marketing. After a proper determination is made, about who the niche or target consumer will be in relationship to what a business will offer, a web site must then be appropriately designed. The temptation to develop a site that is too broad in appeal is common among novice online business owners. The desire to reach a large audience is a natural inclination, but within online strategies, accommodating the smaller target group is always the smartest business move.

Web sites that are designed to meet their interests or needs can still offer a wide array of products and services that can translate into profits as well as an increasing consumer base. Niche marketing is the best way not to get lost in the huge, virtual world of ecommerce by establishing an important one-and-only business that will draw in specialized consumers from around the world. Strategic Internet marketing techniques that build relationships with the consumer niche should be included within a well built web site that caters to that specialized group. Newsletters, emails, emagazines, ebooks and other methods of free access can engender goodwill and help build consumer relationships over time. Consumers will begin to know a business and trust the products or services. They will reward any online business by returning time and again to purchase products from a trusted source.

An important aspect of designing the final business model for an online endeavor is to determine how all the financial transactions will be processed, secured and tracked by the business. Virtual crime is no laughing matter and consumers are becoming more aware of the hidden dangers in giving out personal information about their credit cards or bank accounts. A strategic marketing plan will include the best in online transaction abilities for the peace of mind of the business owner and customer alike. An ecommerce venture will include decisions about shopping carts, payment gateways, security certificates and merchandise tracking methods. The options for each necessary function are varied and must be thoroughly explored before the final decision is added to any strategic Internet marketing model. It is very important to make wise decisions about financial transaction methods because no matter how good a product or how effective the service is, if the end financial transaction is less than satisfactory, first-time customers will not return. For success in on line marketing, every aspect of a business venture must be itemized and planned within the best of strategic marketing plans.

Strategic Marketing Services

In practically any industry, strategic marketing services can provide vital information and specialized assistance to those businesses that want to stand out from the competition. Many advertising companies offer a variety of packages that can be customized to a particular business's specific goals and objectives for promoting their products. An increasingly popular and effective trend is for an advertising firm to design a niche marketing strategy for a client. Such a strategy is one response to the overwhelming advertisement clutter that consumers are exposed to every day. The excessiveness of commercials and ads creates a visual overload that most people tend to ignore. That's not good for business -- advertisements cost money and savvy business owners want to know that they will receive a return on the money spent on promoting their goods and services. This return most often comes in the form of sales which leads to profits, though sometimes a company may have a different objective. Even then, the outcome must be measurable so that management knows whether or not the objective has been achieved.

Businesses may hire strategic marketing services to perform a variety of specialized tasks. Perhaps the business needs assistance in assessing its objectives or analyzing its pricing structure. The firm may offer recommendations on such fundamentals as distribution channels or analyze the cost-effectiveness of the business's media buys. Product research is an important service offered by many advertising firms. By conducting surveys and utilizing focus groups, the firm can determine how a particular product or service is viewed by consumers, what new products or services appeal to consumers, and even such important information as what needs potential customers may have that are not being met. This last element can be vital for innovative companies seeking to design and develop new products. Whatever the goal of the required research, a competent firm will devise appropriate means for obtaining relevant data that they can then assess and analyze. Then the firm presents the client with the results of the research and a proposal for implementing the recommendations. The firm may even be hired to assist in the implementation process and to support the business throughout a product launch or a new advertising campaign.

A niche marketing strategy will focus on a specialized target audience instead of the general population. Though many entrepreneurs may be so excited about their new products that they see a new customer in every person they meet, the reality is that most goods and services appeal to segments of the consumer population. To some extent, the smaller the segment, the more profitable the new business venture may be. By targeting a niche in an industry instead of the industry as a whole, the entrepreneur may avoid competing against the major players who have the means to advertise and deliver goods to a broader customer base. For example, people who buy books can easily go to the giants. An individual who wants to open a bookstore is going to find it difficult to compete against the big guys who already have overwhelming name recognition and positive reputations for service. An advertising campaign to reach potential customers would be prohibitively expensive and not at all cost-effective. Besides, think about what wise King Solomon said: "And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh" (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Solomon was certainly right about the making of books -- and avid readers throughout the ages are thankful.

But back to the book-loving entrepreneur: what if she decided to sell only books about pets? The segment of the population has narrowed to people who have pets, want to have pets, and perhaps those who work with pets, such as veterinarians and kennel owners. But even this is a broad market. A savvy entrepreneur, in developing a niche marketing strategy, may choose to narrow this population even more until she ends up with an online store selling books, videos, and DVDs to owners of the giant breeds, such as the Irish Wolfhound and Great Danes. Her website may include articles on the specialized nutrition requirements of puppies that grow so big so quickly and helpful training techniques for handling a dog that's bigger than the trainer. Her company's narrow focus requires an advertising campaign geared to people who own, train, or work with giant breeds of dogs. This is a much smaller segment than the entire population of dog owners. The strategic marketing services required by this entrepreneur will target this specific audience instead of all dog owners. The niche marketing strategy may include designing an advertisement campaign that includes banner ads on websites frequented by owners of large breeds.

Business owners and entrepreneurs may also retain strategic marketing services for assistance in branding and product positioning. Marketing consultants stress that branding, whether of a good or service, is much more than a company name, logo, and trademark. Appropriate branding goes beyond these particular details to the creation of a relationship with current and prospective customers. Some companies work diligently to promote a reputation for outstanding customer service and find that, because they live up to the expectations of their reputation, they can charge higher prices than their competitors. Other companies may promote lower pricing structures and advertise bargain prices to appeal to budget-minded consumers. All these strategies can be analyzed and assessed by marketing professionals so that business owners can make cost-effective advertising decisions.

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