Developing a Promotional Plan

This article takes a look at the overall goals of your site and why a plan is needed for its success. Whether your site is designed to send traffic to an offline business, convert traffic to online sales, sign up people for further information, or is an exclusively informational site, you need to determine those overall goals and objectives.

Every website needs a promotional plan to ensure that the goals and objectives of a business’s website are achieved. In the make believe world of the movies, they may be able say, “if you build it, they will come”. In the real life of business, however, a much more active approach to marketing and promotions is required.

Your site needs a promotional plan to reach its goals. In order to formulate a strong promotional plan, you need to know what those goals are for you and for your website.

Your website needs a goal and a purpose. What you have to do is to decide what your site is supposed to be doing for you and your business. While most promotional articles offer the nuts and bolts, we will take this opportunity to look at the overall goals of your site, and why a plan is needed for its success.

For many people the website is a tool to gain added business for an offline company. For others, the website may be the entire venture in itself. Still other websites may be designed as informational sites and targeted and qualified traffic is not a concern. A good promotional plan needs to consider these factors.

You must know who, either businesses, or consumers, or even both, constitute the target market for your business. If you are going to use your website as a vehicle to convert those potential prospects into paying customers and clients, you need to identify who they are first. Some preliminary market research will be required to answer that question.

Another need is to decide where and how you are going to communicate your promotional and marketing message to your identified target audience. There are virtually unlimited methods to reach your potential customers. You must select the avenues that are right for you, your business, and your promotional budget.

Once you have answered these basic questions, you are ready to begin developing a promotional plan, for your own website.

A major part of any website promotional plan involves setting the goals your website is trying to achieve. Without previously decided upon goals in place, your promotional and marketing program can drift aimlessly from one idea to the next. A lack of focus will mean greatly diminished results.

The major categories of website goals include sending traffic to an offline bricks and mortar business, direct product sales from the website itself, sign-up for further information usually by newsletter, or as a purely informational site. All websites usually employ some combination of any two or three of these purposes. For promotional purposes, a more focused campaign is best. Failing to target the efforts could result in a dilution of the desired results.

Before you decide on the means, you have to select the goal of your website. If your goal is building offline traffic, you will want to develop a strategy that emphasises the product line and qualifying potential customers and clients. Since the product and service offered requires qualified prospective buyers, the promotional technique will have to be chosen for the website traffic to self select. Your site will benefit from a strategy that funnels qualified buyers in your direction.

If your website is in a highly competitive and optimized category, your site may not be able to rise high in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for really difficult search terms. Your better bet, in those cases, would be to concentrate on targeting localized business. That means ignoring a more global reach, and thinking about dominating your own neighborhood and city.

You should determine if your business requires large volumes of lower priced sales, or fewer sales at higher prices. That dichotomy is important in deciding whether to try to gain wider keyword coverage, or if a highly specific set of conversions is sufficient.

Following that preselection process, your site will then help convince the visitor to choose your company’s products and services. The promotional methods employed should flow naturally into that marketing process, as a logical next step. Your site should attract the buyer to select your product, if comparison shopping. If your product offering is what is desired by the purchaser, then your offline business should be the point of sale.

If the purpose of your website is the actual end sales point, your promotional goal should be to bring as many prospects as possible to your site. Selecting promotional strategies that maximize traffic will work well for this type of site. Simply target the marketing efforts where potential customers can be found to improve the level of conversions.

An informational website will benefit most from a less targeted wide ranging marketing and promotional campaign. You want as much visitor traffic as possible to gain maximum exposure for your website.

When you select your various promotional and marketing campaigns, be certain to keep your website’s overall goals in mind. If you are seeking preselected prospects, your methods should be highly targeted to the most effective areas.

For websites seeking a more general readership with the goal of onsite sales, your marketing strategy should be to gain a wide range of qualified visitor traffic, keeping a high level of conversions in mind. The techniques employed could include a combination of free and paid promotional ideas.

For informational websites, the best marketing and promotional plan should be to gain the maximum number of visitors possible. By their very nature, purely informational websites should concentrate on free or very low cost promotional methods.

A starting point for any website, whether profit or purely informational, should be the employment of a solid link building program. Links can be added from submissions of your site to the various general and niche directories available. Decide which directories are important and potentially valuable for your industry. Gain entry into the most relevant niche directories as well as the most influential mainstream directories.

For-profit sites should examine the many specialized paid directories to determine their benefits versus their costs. If the inclusion fee is low, consideration should be given to inclusion in that directory. Free directories provide some traffic, plus important one-way themed links, that provide a boost in the search engine rankings.

Links can be added from providing good and useful content, although the so-called natural linking process is slower than many webmasters would like. On the other hand, those usually themed and one-way links are often very powerful qualified traffic generators. The links also build Google PageRank and provide a link popularity boost. There are many ways to tackle the problem of adding more incoming links. You need to determine which one is right for the achieving the goals of your website.

Once you have planned your techniques, you need to be certain of hitting your targets of choice. Often that is easier planned than achieved. Start at the end and plan backwards. Picture your business and your website teeming with online and offline customers. You need to know how they got there. If you have no idea where or how they arrived, your plan needs tweaking. Make certain your goals have the means for achieving the desired results.

If you are in highly competitive keyword categories, target lower competitive search terms. There is much income to be gained by being the dominant business for less competitive keyword phrases. Some research shows that the longer, and hence less competitive keyword phrases, may in fact be the ones where the buyer has already made the product decision. Make certain your business becomes the chosen vendor. Dominating those less competitive longer phrases might be a solid strategy for your website.

Most research shows that the number of people clicking through to page two is fewer than remain on page one. Those going on to the third and subsequent pages is even fewer. Your promotional and marketing goals should take that research into consideration. Make it a goal to pick all of the easier search traffic. As your site gains strength in the SERPs, you can widen your net accordingly.

There may be some justification, if you are in a highly competitive keyword environment, to consider a pay per click or Google Adwords program. If the keywords for your industry are difficult to rank for effectively, then purchase of keywords and paid search engine placement may be the right promotional approach to consider. Since only the clicked-on keywords require payment, it may be a cost-effective method of gaining additional visitor traffic. As always, your site will require good sales copy to convert the traffic into paying customers.

Programs like Trusted Feed and Site Match might pay dividends for sites that would otherwise be lost in the depths of the search results. Paid placement can get your site to the top of some of the major search engines, and literally buy time, for you to improve your organic keyword rankings.

If your business has the budget, paid placement might be a way to achieve your site’s goals. As with paid keywords, calculate a cost versus benefits analysis to find out if a paid placement program will earn the needed revenues.

Your site needs a promotional and marketing plan to achieve the overall goals for your business. Whether your site is designed to send traffic to an offline business, convert traffic to online sales, sign up people for further information, or is an exclusively informational site, you need to determine those overall goals and objectives.

Visitor traffic simply won’t arrive on its own. It requires hard work, planning, and patience. With a solid promotional plan in place, your business can reach those desired business goals.

Once those goals are set as a result of your market research, you are ready to decide upon your promotional techniques. They are many and varied and must relate to your overall objectives.

When the techniques have been decided upon, make certain that you hit the target market for which you are aiming. Failing that hit of your target, you may need to reassess your chosen techniques and aim your bow to send the arrow more carefully.

With a solid marketing and promotional plan established, and good reliable techniques in place, your site will achieve its business goals.

Your aim will be true.

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