Marketing Plans and Goals: Website Essentials

    January 12, 2006

Every website needs a promotional and marketing plan to ensure that the goals and objectives of the business’s website are achieved.

The site also requires a clear definition of those goals to ensure the best plan is formulated to reach them.

In the make believe world of the movies, they may be able say, “if you build it, they will come”. In the real life world of business, however, a much more active approach to marketing and promotions is required. As they say, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.

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 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. 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 constitutes 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, and as a purely informational site.

All websites usually employ some combination of any two or three of these purposes. For promotional purposes, a more focussed 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.

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, and convince that person 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. Of course, online and offline sales are not mutually exclusive. The same products and services can very ogten be offered for purchase both online and offline.

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.

For informational websites, the best marketing and promotional plan should be to gain the maximum number of visitors possible. The more readers for your message or informational service, the better. Planning for an informational site should include acheiving volume visitor totals. The need to qualify the visitor traffic is not as essential as it would be for a sales and marketing site.

Think about the goals of your site, and what you hope the site will achieve. After the goals are established, a marketing plan can then be developed to make those goals into reality.

Wayne Hurlbert provides insigtful information about marketing, promotions, search engine optimization and public relations for websites and business blogs on the popular Blog Business World.

Check out Blog Business World for yourself.