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5 Major Mistakes Made By An Internet Marketing Business

The surge of billions being spent on the internet has sparked many entrepreneurs to set up their own online marketing business and when you have good online marketing strategies in place your business will prosper and grow. Here are 5 online marketing blunders to watch out for.

1. The Product Benefits Are Not Clear.

If your audience does not fully grasp the information you are delivering, they won’t try to decipher it. They will shift their focus someplace else. You need to clearly show the benefits of the product or service you are marketing and explain how it can make your customers’ life much easier or resolve a problem for them and why they should buy it from you.

2. You Don’t Know Your Target Market.

If you try to sell to everyone, you’ll sell to no one. Knowing who your target market are is very important for all internet marketing strategies. Take the time to research who your products or services are aimed towards. It’s not always the group that you first had as the primary goal. Understand how they work, how they think, their wants and needs. By doing this you will uncover ways that you can easily market to them.

3. You Rely On One Marketing Strategy.

When you are marketing a business you cannot rely one marketing and promotional strategy. If, for some reason, the marketing method that you are using stops sending your messages, you won’t have a back up plan. Also, you don’t want to spread yourself to widely. Get proficient at a couple of internet marketing methods that reach your audience and then learn and test another, so that you’ve always got an alternative option.

4. You’re Not Consistent.

A good marketing strategy will offer consistency. This includes ensuring that your branding and any promotional materials are all consistent. This way your potential customers will know who is sending the message. Use the same image and logo across all of your social sites. Keep the branding in place on your website or blog. Eventually customers will associate this look with your business name.

5. You’re Not Building A List.

List building is one of the key internet marketing strategies for beginners and experienced online entrepreneurs alike. Building a list means developing a list of prospective and actual customers who you can email with information about your products and services that they may want to buy from you. One of the main causes of failure for an online marketing business is not building a list.

6 Tips To Create A Marketing Plan For Online Success

Whether you run an e-commerce store, have recently launched an online startup or you run a local service business that targets people who use the web to search for your services, you need an online marketing plan that sets out your activities.

First, you need to carry out an audit and analysis of your business and the marketing environment. That means you need to research your target markets and identify segments that are interested in your products or services and assess if you have the resources.

Your audit will also include analysing your competitive forces to see how well resourced they are and if you can take them head on or use a flanking or guerrilla marketing strategy. Finally, you will look at the macro forces like technology, politics and social factors that are outside your control and that could impact your business.

So, here are 6 tips to help you create your marketing plan:

1. Create Marketing Objectives

From your audit, you will discover what is most important to your business and that will form the basis of your objectives. Your objectives are unique to your business and are statements of what you want to achieve.

They are short-term goals usually covering a period between 6-12 months and they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-related (SMART). An example of a SMART Objective is:

“Increase organic traffic by 20% with Millennials by 31 December 2015″

Now that you’ve created your objectives, you will move on to the next stages of your online marketing plan and focus only on activities that help you achieve your objectives.

2. Know Your Customers

Your audit will help you identify potential segments that you can target with your products or services. Very few businesses have the financial and people resources to target all segments in the market, so you should pick the segments that you have identified as having the most potential.

A potential market is one that has the money to afford your products and is large enough for you to make sales to cover your operational costs and also make profits. So, to maximise your revenue or sales, you could opt for a multi-segment strategy that you target multiple groups with your products or services.

There are many online tools you can use to identify your target demographics and where they are based and some of these you can find in Google AdWords, such as the keyword and display planner tools. Also, you can use survey tools like Survey Monkey to understand the needs of your target markets.

3. Monitor Your Competitors

Having identified your competitors from the audit, now you need to pick three or four that you will monitor and benchmark against your business metrics. This is where your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) become more relevant because you are comparing your progress against business rivals.

The web provides many tools to monitor competitors and one of the popular ones is Alexa. Another one is Compete and these tools and others provide you with details about your competitors’ visitor demographic and geographic data and how they are performing on metrics such as traffic volumes, time on site and popular keywords.

For social media, a tool like Social Bakers is handy to assess and monitor your competitors’ performance in the social sphere, which is now more important than ever.

4. Decide On Your Promotional Strategy

The strategy section of your marketing plan is an in-depth section on how you reach your target markets with your offers. It covers your positioning in the market and marketing mix tactics like product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence.

With promotion for example, you will identify all the online channels and tools that are relevant in your industry and some popular ones include PPC advertising, SEO, affiliate marketing, blogging, email marketing, social media and so on.

The tactics you choose as part of your strategy will depend on what financial and people resources you have and this will feed into your budget.

5. Create An Effective Budget

Your marketing budget should be large enough to allow you to implement your strategy. If it’s not, then you should prioritise your tactics and activities and focus first on those that will help you achieve your objectives, while meeting customers’ needs.

Budget setting is a specialised skill and you should get assistance from a financial expert if you struggle developing this part of your marketing plan.

6. Control Your Activities

Finally, your marketing plan should include details of how you monitor your progress towards achieving your mission and goals and what you will do if things go wrong. This is an interesting part of the plan because it lists all the activities and who will be assigned to what activity and what the cost will be.

Remember to get senior-level buy-in and ensure that everyone in your team understands what their roles and duties are. So, you should have a calendar or timeline that lists all these activities and continue to change it as things progress.

How To Create A Digital Marketing Plan

So you’ve decided to create a digital marketing plan to help you achieve your business goals and mission, but do not know where to start? Fear not! Creating a plan is easier than you think and in no time you will have your own plan that will guide your online marketing activities and boost your ROI (Return On Investment).

Here are the most important elements of a digital marketing plan, that you can use to create your own:

Marketing Audit

You should carry out an internal audit of your organisation that covers all your stakeholders, to ensure you have the resources in place to launch your strategy. This will include your customers, what they need and what devices and online channels they use. You will also audit your competitors to see where they are advertising online and how well resourced they are.

Many tools will be handy here including Moz tools, Alexa, Compete and many others.

You will also carry out an external audit which covers details that are outside the control of your organisation like cookie usage legislation, trends in smartphone usage by customers and many others that you need to constantly review.


Now you will look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and this is your SWOT Analysis. Based on your audit findings, you will have identified your strengths relative to your competitors and combined with your unique selling point, this will form your basis for competing.

You will also need to work on your weaknesses and minimise them and ultimately work towards turning them into strengths. Your opportunities and threats will be external to your business and you will list the most important ones and decide on how to capitalise on them and minimise the threats.


You will identify your direct and indirect competitors and study their digital marketing strategies to make yours unique and offer greater value to customers. There are many resources available online to study competitors including search engines, Hitwise, eMarketer and many others.

Target Marketing

Having identified the market segments that you want to target, now you should decide on which ones to target based on your resources (financial and time). It’s usually not possible to target all segments because of resource constraints so you should pick the most viable.

Ultimately, you want to build a relationship with your customers and the Internet is a great channel to do this compared to traditional bricks and mortar which is harder to build a relationship. Then you will work towards turning your loyal customers into advocates that bring more customers to your business.

Social media and online reviews are ways that your customers can become advocates for your brand and business.

Marketing strategy

The marketing strategy covers all the tactics of your plan and includes the 7 Ps of the marketing mix: product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence. You will describe your products or services, what prices you will charge and what online promotional tools and channels you will use to reach your target markets.

Some promotional tools you will include are SEO, PPC, social media, affiliate marketing, email marketing, online sponsorship, blogging and many others.

Your strategy could be short-term like 6 – 12 months, or long-term like 2 – 5 years or a combination of both. However, with the rapid changes in the online world, short-term strategies are often more suitable.

Overall, the strategy sets out the activities you will do to achieve your objectives and ultimately your goals and mission.

Budgets and Control

With the information you have gathered about your objectives, target markets, your competitors, marketing strategy, you can now set a budget to implement your tactics. So your budget will list all tactics relating to your products or services, promotions and processes and what the cost of each will be.

It’s important that you have a sufficient budget to be able to implement strategy and achieve your objectives and if you have a limited one, you can always prioritise your tactics.

How To Hire An Online Marketing Consultant

Working with a digital marketing consultant for the first time can be a challenge due to the various factors that you need to consider. Will they understand your business or products? How will they work with you and your team? Will they deliver on what they promise and will they be affordable?

These are all important questions that you will be seeking answers for and by doing some due diligence, you are sure to find the right person for your business.

Here are 9 points you should consider as you look to hire a digital marketing consultant:

1. What is their experience?

There are different types of online marketing consultants working in different sectors and you need to be sure the person you hire has experience within your industry. For example, a B2B marketer will have different skills and experience from one that is in the consumer retail sector.

So, this is an important point to consider and you should ensure that they understand the nature of your business, industry trends and what your goals are.

2. Who have they worked with in the past?

Ask for references from past clients and check out the full list of clients they’ve worked for. This should give you a clue of their experience because if they have worked with similar businesses then you are at an advantage.

3. Which sectors have they worked in?

Some sectors overlap and an online marketing consultant that has worked within the B2B services sector will likely bring valuable skills to the consumer services sector. That’s because many of the issues around the nature of services like their being intangible and being consumed at the time they are produced are very similar.

4. Are they a freelancer or agency marketer?

With the growth in Internet access around the world and fast connection speeds, it has become much easier to work with clients and partners who are across the world. So an SEO freelancer in India for example is able to offer the same or an even better service than a local marketer.

This has also been helped by freelance websites such as People Per Hour and Elance that have thousands of registered marketers who offer a great service. Also, the rating and review systems on these sites make it easier to choose a freelancer that has the skills you require.

The other two options include employing a digital marketer or hiring an agency that has a wide range of skills and a team of experts that can help in creating online campaigns, digital copywriting, email marketing, social media and more.

5. Where are they based?

If you decide to work with a freelancer, it’s a benefit if you can meet up face-to-face to discuss strategy. That way you will build a stronger relationship and it will ensure that you are both on the same page as regarding plans for your business.

6. What qualifications do they hold?

A degree or diploma in marketing is a good start, however it is not essential especially in the online world where experience and technical skills are more important. However, it’s important to have the fundamental marketing skills of market research, customer and competitor analysis strategy and other skills which are taught at colleges and universities.

7. Do they have online reviews?

If you plan to work with a freelancer or agency, then it’s likely that they have reviews for work they’ve carried out in the past. Check out these reviews to see what other clients have to say about their skills, work ethic, experience, response times and so on. Also, if you can get references from past clients that would be extra helpful to you as you make your decision.

8. What do they charge for their services?

Hiring a consultant should be affordable for your business and no matter how excellent they are, if you cannot meet their costs then it’s better to look elsewhere. Freelancers are available at affordable rates on sites like Elance, however these sites are more suited for one-off projects and tasks.

9. Are they published or an author?

This one is not as important as the other points because there are many marketing experts that have not published articles or a book. Of course a marketing practitioner that is recognised as an expert and is published is a bonus over one that is not, because they will have demonstrated deep knowledge in their field and be respected too.