How to Build an Internet Marketing Strategy for Small Business Step-by-Step

Specialists from CIMA digiagentuur explained how to effectively build internet promotion in a highly competitive environment.

The role of internet promotion for businesses is now hard to underestimate. Back in 2014, studies showed that over 60% of companies in Estonia had their own websites. That was the situation 5 years ago.

Previously, internet promotion was an advantage over competitors, but now it is a necessity. Simply having a website is not enough; you also need a smart promotion strategy. Otherwise, you risk losing customers and wasting your marketing budget.

In our work with small businesses, we often encounter this problem. Many entrepreneurs do not understand what internet marketing really involves. For them, it means creating "some sort of website" and "some sort of advertisement."

They overlook two important things:

  1. Analytics and Strategy. Without this, it's very difficult to understand which traffic channels to use, what kind of websites to implement, etc. You will blindly shuffle through different marketing tools hoping for luck.
  2. Brand Recognition. If you do not work on brand recognition, your advertising will be much less effective. However, building recognition requires investment: you need to develop a brand identity and positioning, engage in content marketing, etc. What is Internet Marketing? We understand marketing as building long-term relationships with the target audience. It's not just about generating leads here and now, but also about working on brand recognition, positioning, and the product line. The result of quality marketing is how people perceive your company.

Analytics and Strategy - The Foundation of Marketing Let’s move on to the actual stages of building internet marketing. Let's use the example of Martin, who owns a furniture company.

In the information field, Martin constantly sees news that one or another furniture company is attracting customers through the internet. He realizes that this is promising and decides to engage in it too.

Here's what we advise Martin to do:

  1. Competitor and Target Audience Analysis. Performing analytics just for the sake of it makes no sense, so here is a brief checklist of key tasks that are addressed at this stage:
    • See and evaluate between which companies your potential customers are choosing.
    • Compile a list of promotional tools that competitors use.
    • Study the strengths and weaknesses of competitors. You can turn their weaknesses into your strengths.
    • Identify and compare the positioning of competitors. Based on this, work on your market positioning.
    • Understand clearly how the target audience makes purchasing decisions: what is important to them.
    • Determine where to find the target audience: on which websites or social networks, on a smartphone or computer, day or night, etc. This analytical part is necessary for Martin to create a competitive offer. Without knowing your competitors and the needs of the audience, it will be impossible to do this.

Once the analytics are fully prepared, you can proceed to develop a marketing strategy.

  1. Company Promotion Strategy. The marketing strategy is a step-by-step plan for internet promotion. Usually, it is made for a quarter, six months, and a year. Let's briefly go through its main points.
    • Lead Generation. First, you need to work out the tools that can start generating leads right now. In Martin's case, this will be a simple combination of a landing page and Google ads. This way, he will begin to steadily receive clients from the internet while the following points of the strategy are being worked out.
    • Sales Optimization. Now it's time for optimizing sales, as the leads obtained still need to be properly processed. Implementing a CRM system, finding effective sales scripts, etc. This point we will not discuss in detail below, as it is not our specialization. But potentially it could be present in the strategy.
    • Branding. Next, you need to work on brand recognition. People should not just see your advertisement thinking "another furniture company." They should think: "ah, these guys I've already seen, I trust them more, I'll click on their advertisement." The effectiveness of advertising will be much higher. But for this, you will need to work hard: create a brand style, think through positioning, etc.
    • Content Marketing. At this stage, the company is already becoming a brand. Now you need to work out "marketing assets." They don't always bring cosmic results right away, but they pay off many times over in the future. Usually, these assets are created using content marketing tools (blog on the website, posts on social networks, etc.).

Summing up: first, quickly create the first flow of customers to have a profit. Then, form the company into a full-fledged brand, thereby increasing the efficiency of advertising. Now create long-term assets that will provide additional customers and audience loyalty.

Marketing Strategy Point #1. Lead Generation. Martin has spent some resources on preparation for promotion, so he has a logical desire to recoup everything as soon as possible. For this, he will use a landing page + Google advertising. From the competitor analysis, he understood that this is a promising way to get customers.

His task is not to make an expensive site with super-cool functionality and design. He just cannot do it yet because even the brand style is not yet developed. At this stage, it is enough for him to have a simple landing page with strong selling texts. It can even be made on a website builder.

A small note. Leads can be generated quickly not only through the combination of a landing page and Google advertising. There are many other tools: advertising on Facebook, Instagram, RTB, partner sites, news portals, etc. The strategy also specifies specific tools that are expected to work best in your niche. Initially, you can stop at one tool, but the faster you add new ones, the larger market share you will cover.

Marketing Strategy Point #2. Branding. Martin's company begins to steadily gain customers. He understands that the results can be greatly improved if he packages a full-fledged brand.

What will this give Martin?

Each new interaction with his company will increase audience loyalty. Moreover, this interaction can simply be the display of an advertising banner. But if the brand stands out and is memorable, the likelihood of a click on Martin's advertisement increases with each new such interaction. Brand recognition for Martin will grow. People begin to remember him. They may not buy now. But when they need Martin's chairs, they will remember his company and find it without any advertising. Branding involves managing how the audience perceives Martin's company. To manage this perception, it is necessary to approach the creation of a brand style (logo, colors, typography, etc.) and positioning (philosophy, values, product line, etc.) correctly.

Your brand style and positioning should immediately be implemented in all the materials you use: advertising banners, websites, social network pages, etc.

To emphasize the importance of this stage once again, let me give an example of promoting our agency in RTB (programmatic).

Our agency's promotion experience:

We advertised in RTB for 6 months and stopped doing so about six months ago. But customers from that advertising still come to this day. How? From surveying these people, we found out that they saw our ads 5-10 times. They remembered us because of striking advertising and a brand style. As soon as they needed marketing, they quickly found us by name and contacted us.

Marketing Strategy Point #3. Content Marketing. So, by this point, Martin has already set up several lead generation tools (ways to get leads). Moreover, these tools should already be packaged according to the new positioning and brand style. IMPORTANT: moving to the content marketing stage does not mean that you should stop adding new lead generation tools.

Next, Martin needs to build content marketing that will form loyalty to his target audience. There are a million examples of content marketing, but here are the main ones:

Shooting educational videos on Youtube with useful information for the target audience. Writing articles for his blog on social networks or on website pages. Moreover, this can be either Martin's personal blog or the company's blog. Building an E-mail newsletter or social network newsletter. Thus, Martin provides useful content to his potential customers, thereby increasing their trust in the brand.

Why choose Martin's company now? Now, when a person faces the choice of a furniture company, he will choose Martin's company for a number of reasons:

He constantly sees striking and memorable advertising for this company. He consumes expert content from this company. The company's products meet his needs. And so on... Conclusion This was CIMA digiagentuur. Save and share if it was helpful. And if you want us to prepare material on a specific stage from the article, write to us - we will share our experience!

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