In the article 10 ways to increase your web traffic, I talked about the importance of an online marketing strategy. For any business right now, it is essential that an Online Marketing plan is built into your regular marketing plan. So what is an online marketing strategy (also called Internet Marketing by some) and how do you create one? Follow these steps.

Target market

Who is your target market? One way easy way to do this, is pull the info from your business plan. Don’t have a business plan? Think of your clients and pick your top three. How old are they? What do they do for a living? What do they do in their free time? Or are you starting from scratch? Install Google Analytics to your website and start a Facebook page. Both can deliver statistics on who your visitors and fans are. Every message you send out think of your target person.

What is your goal?

Is it to increase traffic? Brand awareness? Have people sign-up for your email newsletter? Buy a product? Have people attend an event? If you don’t pick a goal, you can not measure its success.

Keep your branding consistent

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. Can your customers or clients tell your business by a glance at a brochure and at your website? Do they match? The core elements need to be there: logo, color scheme, fonts, images and tone of voice.

Who is going to manage it?

Before you start your facebook page or sign up for Google ads, make sure you have a dedicated person to monitor and make updates. If you, as the small business owner, are taking on this task, plan to dedicating at least an hour per day to get everything set up. Once you get the hang of writing blogs, tweeting, checking stats and sending messages you can spend as little as 5-15  minutes per day.

What is your plan going to cover?

Types of online media to consider for your small business:

  • User-friendly website
  • Blog
  • Facebook fan page
  • Twitter
  • Email newsletter
  • Online Ads

What is the budget?

Decide ahead of time how much you are going to invest in the above. Remember the marketing rule is it takes 7 times for a person to see something before they buy. Which way makes the most sense to reach your ideal customer? Some costs to consider:
Website: Is your site user-friendly? Is it easy for a potential customer to find what they are looking for? Are your customers exiting on your goal page, such as a shopping cart purchase or email newsletter sign-up? Do you have links with all of the different ways people can contact or follow you, such as email newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and blog RSS? If the answer isn’t yes to these questions, it may be time for a site re-design.
Blogs: To keep a consistent brand make sure your blog matches the look of the rest of your website. Need a custom design? I offer custom blog designs.
Facebook: Free to set up, but to stand out from the competition you can add a custom “Welcome” page or a special page for a specific promotion. For a “Welcome” page example, view my Bauerhaus Design Facebook fan page. To see a great example of a special promotion page that they changes monthly, look at the Gap’s Facebook fan page. You can set it up  so new visitors are automatically directed to your custom page.
Twitter: Free to set up. To keep branding consistent have a custom background with your look.
Emails: Don’t forget to research the cost of email marketing clients such as Constant Contact or MailChimp. This fee will depend on how many people you are mailing to & the frequency at which you send. Make your branding consistant with a custom email template that matches your website and print collateral. Make sure you only email people who have opted-in to your email list.
Ads: Are you going to invest in Google ads or Facebook ads? Or other sites? Set a daily budget on whichever you choose, so you don’t get any unwelcome surprise bills.


How often are you going to post, blog or tweet? I recommend to my clients to start out slow with a message on each type of social media once a week, until they feel more comfortable doing more. Gradually increase it to 3 times a week than daily. For email marketing, again start slow with once a month. To keep track of when you are doing what, make a spreadsheet or add it to your calendar.


Stumped for what to say? Research your competition. What do they write about on Facebook and Twitter? Is their tone of voice different in their emails? Once you have researched others, make a list of 3-5 topics you are an expert on. Now for each topic, list 5 questions that people ask you the most about. Talk about an upcoming event, a special promotion, or post a photo of a new product. And don’t forget to work in the keywords that I wrote about in 10 ways to increase your web traffic.

Need help with any of the above? Want a free estimate? Contact me at [email protected]