Step-by-step guide for creating an online marketing strategy

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We can be sure that online marketing is becoming very important for companies.

No matter if is a banner advertising, social media, affiliate marketing or blogging there are always many possibilities.

Companies are increasingly using them for their own purposes. So, the competition is huge.

That is why it is important to do everything with a good strategy.

However, setting up a good online marketing strategy is not that easy.

It is not certain whether everything will work as planned or if changes in the market will destroy the whole strategy.

Therefore one thing is clear to you: strategies are never set in stone.

This should always be tailored to suit the circumstances. But it shall still provide you with the opportunity to plan your online marketing completely ahead.

In order to rock your online marketing, we will show you how to set up the right strategy with the help of the SOSTAC model and what to look for.

Step 1: Analysis of the situation

First of all, examine the conditions and prerequisites of your company.

Decisions in marketing depend on your company’s business model, its market and environmental situation and the resources and skills available. Analyzing the situation of your company and the environment.

In this context, two popular methods are resource analysis and opportunity or risk analysis:

In the process, the resource analysis analyses the internal strengths and weaknesses of the company.
By contrast, the opportunity or risk analysis identifies an external environmental influence that can influence decisions.
There are internal factors relating to the circumstances and requirements within your company. These can be directly influenced. Some examples are the available budget, the company’s technical requirements (software, operating systems, etc.) or the expertise of the employees.

The company is affected by external factors that usually cannot be changed. These may be regulations, predominant technologies or innovative products.

By the way, the combination of resources analysis and opportunity or risk analysis is the well-known SWOT analysis.

The abbreviation SWOT stands for:

  • Strenghts (Strengths)
  • Weaknesses (weaknesses)
  • Opportunities and
  • Threats (Threats)

Such analyses will form a basis for further strategic considerations.

Step 2: Objectives

Which objectives do you intend to achieve through your online marketing?

The targets vary from company to company.

But the following goals often play a role:

  • Notification of the company and its services
  • Acquiring and retaining customers
  • Brand development
  • Aims in online marketing can often be classified as “5-S”:

Sell: Customer acquisition and retention
Serve: Customer satisfaction
Sizzle: Enthusiasm, duration of stay
Speak: Number of customers actively joining the company
Save: Efficiency targets

The 5-S may also help you to define your own goals:

Have a look at the areas and see if they play a role in your strategy. You should be able to define at least one goal for each area.

What for?

In this way you make sure that you do not set your goals too unilaterally, for instance, you focus only on winning new customers, but ignore customer satisfaction.

This can lead to overriding and subordinated goals, which may be classified in a kind of hierarchy and partly also influence each other.

This is an example:

Satisfied customers -> Increase in the number of customers who report positively on the company -> Increase in new customers

Step 3: Strategy

This step involves forging a “battle plan” in accordance with the previously defined goals.

What do you want to do online in the future? Which promises of benefit can you use to reach your customers? What digital channels are chosen for this and why?

The following measures can be selected, for example:

  • display advertising
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEO and SEA)
  • email marketing
  • Affiliate Programs
  • Mobile Marketing
  • social media marketing
  • corporate blogging

All these measures have their very own strengths and weaknesses.

Carefully consider which measures suit you and your goal. Here, too, you should think about how you can integrate your measures to get the most out of them.

Step 4: Tactics

Specify your strategy more precisely. Which tools should be used and in what form?

For instance, the corporate blog could be the core of the tactic and social media marketing and email marketing could be used to direct visitors to the blog.

The selected instruments are networked and you increase the efficiency of your measures.

You can go into more detail here.

Let’s take our example further, which topics are covered on the blog? How do you communicate with fans and followers? Which e-mail addresses do you receive from your customers and what content should the mails have?

Step 5: Action

After the tactics have been determined, you decide how to implement them.

You should answer the following questions:

  • What structures are necessary?
  • Whose responsibility is what?
  • What should the processes be like in the future? For example, the release of a blog article?
  • Are the tools used? For example, do you work with an editorial plan? Or with a social media management tool?
    Will external service providers be involved?

You should answer the questions as completely as possible.

There are things you may not yet be able to plan exactly. If so, you can also sketch ideals or assumptions here and adapt them later.

It is important that you think about the details and recognize potential problems before they are implemented.

Step 6: Control

Now that the previous step was about implementation, you have to start thinking about how to control your success.

The following should be specified:

  • What are the relevant KPIs to be measured? Examples of this are conversions, page impressions or sales.
  • How and how often do reports take place?
  • How are the findings of the reports applied?
  • The last question already shows it and I pointed it out briefly at the beginning: A strategy is never set in stone. It is much more a constant cycle of improvement.

The SOSTAC model follows the core of the PDCA cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act, i.e. planning, then implementation and control and finally improvement).

And that is good and important, because only with continuous improvements and adjustments you can really rock your online marketing.

Hopefully we could help you a little bit to get your online marketing strategy up and running. All the best for the implementation!


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