Developing An Effective Web Presence & Ad Campaign Strategy

Planning A Successful Online Presence

Developing An Effective Web Presence & Ad Campaign Strategy

by Jason Runyan, Advertising Solutions
Revised May 9, 2019
Originally Published April 23, 2009

Whether a company has an existing online presence, or developing their first, an important first step to success, is to develop an effective online presence and marketing strategy.

Having a strategy of what a business hopes to accomplish online, will effectively create goals and a road-map to achieve the desired end-result.

With proper strategy outline and implementation, a company's online campaigns and presence can achieve success and profitability; in most cases a company's online presence is its most valuable tool in generating business, leads, and assisting the company's clients.

Getting Started

Begin developing an online presence and campaign strategy by:

  • Completing some generic online research
  • Implementing customer surveys
  • Analyze initial results
  • Continue with deeper research based on reports

Because the research is so important, a majority of time developing an online presence strategy should be spent in gathering research and consumer input. While the initial research will be generic, it will become more specific and detailed as new information becomes available.

Two of the most important aspects of the initial research should be centered on:

  1. what competitors are doing online
  2. what customers want and need

Reviewing competitor sites (as well as unrelated industry websites) is important for learning the availability of:

By viewing various industries, one can learn the pro's and con's to gain a sense of what overall online marketing strategies are best to pursue.

Asking the Important Questions

After gathering a bit of generic research and knowing what technologies and medias are available today, the next step is to develop detailed questions that will help gain more specific insight.

A successful planning session will ask the following questions to determine the company's campaign needs:

  • What is the budget for additional research, design, development, ongoing maintenance, and marketing?

    • The available budget affects strategy and campaign development; whether to utilize free-template solutions, or more intensive customized system requirements.

    • What informational channels will be available to consumers/employees? Such as:
      • website
      • social media platforms
      • other sales channels, etc

    • Will there be online e-commerce needs?
      • online shopping
      • payments, etc

    • Are there any collateral development needs?
      • graphics
      • written copy
      • pdf forms
      • other materials, etc

    • What are associated short and long-term expenses?
      • maintenance
      • upgrades
      • hosting
      • memberships
      • equipment costs
      • security
      • marketing efforts, etc

  • Who's the target market?

    Many might think that it will be the same target market as the existing brick and mortar business. However, when it comes to the internet, there's a whole new target market of potential new customers

    With today's extensive online channel availability, including social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Alignable & LinkedIN; knowing the target demographics are essential to creating campaigns that appeal to the market.

  • What function(s) will the online presence play for visitors and customers?

    Decide what function & role each online presence (website, social channels, etc) will provide for visitors and customers:

    • Simply provide information about the company or industry to visitors?

    • Will customers be able to fill out estimate requests online?

    • Will estimates be interactive and provide immediate results, or will it send the information to the company, and a representative will respond with an estimate?

    • Selling any of the company's products or services to visitors online?

    • Offer order tracking?

    • Other account related functions online?

    • Storing information online for customers to securely access over the internet?

    • Will online information be accessible and editable by customers via the web or just viewable?

    Knowing all functions the business will need available, is necessary to keep the campaign flowing smoothly once underway.

If the campaign is large enough, it's often necessary to create a flow diagram of the different online areas & functionalities envisioned.

If the campaign is extremely large, it may be best to look at developing the website strategy in phases.

Developing in phases can ease not only the initial up-front investment, but make it easier to see how different strategies will play out, what's working, and what still needs to be addressed or modified.

  • What function(s) will the online presence play for the company and its employees?

    Again, decide what exact function & role a website and online presence is going to play for the company and employees:
    • Will employees be able to access company documents online, outside the office?

    • Will the website or presence allow employees to enter sales orders?

    • Will the site provide secure access to consumer information online for employees?

    • If securely storing online, will it be accessible and editable by employees via the web, or just viewable?

As with customer functions, it's important to note all the functionality necessary to keep the project flowing smoothly once development begins.

Again, if the project is large enough, it's often necessary to create a flow diagram, and note the potential need for phased development.

  • What are other companies in the industry doing for web design, marketing, and online presence?

    It's always important to know what the competition is up to and how they're doing it:
    • If the competition is selling on the web, then one should consider selling online in order to stay competitive.

    • If the competition is giving 'how-to' seminars, or allowing online application for loans, or even allowing online estimates for services to potential clients on the web, the business should consider staying competitive.

    • If competitors are participating in social medias and other forums, then the company should as well.

Whatever the industry, complete research to see what the competition is doing. By utilizing Google, one can literally look up any industry and find out who the major players are, review their sites, target markets, and see what needs to be done to stay competitive.

  • What is the best plan to acquire the necessary target market for leads and sales?

    The last step before beginning any campaign development & implementation, is to figure out how to reach the desired target market. This may include implementing multiple options:
    • The most recognized method of acquiring free-online traffic, is the use of search engine optimization (SEO):

      • SEO helps websites get better ranking in all major engines such as Google, Bing, et al.
      • For regional markets, Local SEO, Near Me & Around Me optimization is extremely important.

        For a new campaign, it can take several weeks before a company will begin to see the the new website in any search results; (if the business properly optimized for search engines).

    • Some additional methods to help generate free traffic to a new web presence or online campaign immediately include:

      • Viral marketing (a type of word of mouth via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Alignable & LinkedIN) can bring in traffic within minutes of posting; pending the posts are relative and catch the users attention.

      • Direct mail is still VERY much alive and effective in reinforcing other related marketing channels and methods of advertising. Utilizing multiple offline methods keeps the business fresh in the consumers mind whether online or offline.

      • Permission-based emails to targeted prospects are still extremely effective. It is discouraged to use mass email lists purchased off the internet.

        • Often these lists are not legitimate (in that each of the individuals did not give express consent to market to).

        • Mass email marketing often annoys users, and can be thought of as a nuisance detouring some prospective clients from utilizing a company's services.

      • Use Google to look-up directories that specialize in similar industries; often they will list the website as a resource in the directory.

      • Enclose notifications of new products and services in billings or mailings to current clients. Companies tend to forget about current customers after the initial sale; existing clients have a lower cost to obtain additional revenues, since the customer is already doing business.

    • There are also low-cost methods of advertising using a PPC (Pay-per-click) service such as Google Ads program, or Facebook Ads.

      • Most of the programs today allow one to specify a monthly budget to pick and choose which keywords to sponsor; all at very affordable rates! Cost per clicks can run as little as just a few cents per click.

      • Google has excellent programs that help estimate how many clicks to expect per keyword per month for the budget specified. (These tools can also be used to help pick out good keywords to use for website content as well.)

Putting It All Together

Once the research is completed, it's time to put together the outline and plan. When compiling the plan, it's best to organize it in phases.

Rarely would one want to go for the most complex right from the start. Instead, start small & simple, and build up.

For example:

First start with a nice, professional, informational website presence. Then, market & build as needs dictate, adding in social medias, perhaps e-commerce in one phase; later perhaps the need for video or audio, interactive customer service options in another phase, and so on.

An online presence offers unlimited possibilities, and can grow as the company's needs grow. The biggest hurdle is to realize that success online is not built in a day, nor even a year. Developing a successful online presence is a very strategic, and orderly process; one that must be completed piece-by-piece over time.

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