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Online Marketing – Where to Start

They say that for anything new to happen, someone with the right skills needs to take charge. My 15 years in the print sector, that underwent huge technological change, taught me that any new process or software system introduced always needed an in-house champion to ensure success. It’s not often the boss, but a trusted employee. Unfortunately this seldom occurred, hence most projects failed to meet expectations and was poorly utilised, with managers and staff each blaming each other. It’s the human condition.

For many businesses, promoting themselves online is a new experience and process too. But it’s no longer a simple management decision about ‘building a website’ based upon their old company brochure, then giving the job to a local web designer. Online promotion today is a totally different animal to the old internet and the offline world of radio, TV and print.

marketing_technology_decisionsThe simple, ‘let’s build a new website’ strategy and hand responsibility over to a web designer is doomed to fail. Creative design is never enough. The elements and decisions that need to be made to successfully promote a business online are mind numbing. (See chart).

Today companies successfully promoting themselves online will still involve a graphic designer. Visuals and branding are the first step, but thereafter these skilled designers have only a minor role to play.

In fact some recent research tells us the businesses should talk with an SEO expert first to determine the best market segment or opportunity, then a skilled copywriter, who provides the brief to the graphic designer….

As the new website must be content-managed, a good WordPress/CMS developer is needed early on to convert the static design, ensuring the site is well coded, Google-friendly and interactive with all the right forms, a blog etc

High traffic, sales-focused websites also need a good copywriter or marketer to optimise the message, offer and content, together with an SEO guru that ensures the site ranks high on Google, who also takes care of the Analytics, Keyword and Adwords management.

And when all this is in place there’s email marketing, social media, CRM, Video and mobile toolsets to consider, each playing a major role in boosting site traffic and sales over time. But bringing all this together at once can result in a needlessly complex and costly project. Introducing new tools and marketing systems is never easy. Arguments on what to do next are also common. Everyone has a ‘friend’ (or relative) with an opinion and a once promising web project can go off the rails very quickly.

Obviously, someone needs to take charge. A champion, with the right vision and guidebook, to keep things on track. Able to work to a pre-defined plan as well as monitoring results. Not be swayed by any single voice. But where does one start? How can it be made affordable? Many SMEs can’t afford to employ all these experts, especially with total costs of the ‘full package’ exceeding $30,000 pa.

Why is it this hard? Is there a worksheet available?

The secret for these types of projects is to do it in stages, over a 12 or 24 month timeframe. Details will be revealed next month in part two of this three-part series…. It’s really a question of defining a game plan that everyone adheres to and gets involved with.

p.s. It’s little wonder that businesses don’t do online well and become disheartened by the apparent complexity of the web. Many wish for the simple days where you left marketing in the hands of the yellow pages, radio or local newspaper reps and maybe printed a few brochures, then waited for the phone to ring…. Those days are long gone… However the rewards for those that build an online plan and execute well are immense. Far higher than was ever possible with traditional offline media. 

 

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