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Does my website fit my marketing plan?

A website should be considered an integral part of your overall marketing plan. Once you have created a website, your next task is to market the website, both on the internet and within more traditional channels.

Marketing plan

A marketing plan is a documented set of steps to accomplish a business objective. A marketing plan should be well-defined, realistic, and should be aligned with the wants and needs of potential customers. A commercial marketing plan may call for increasing product sales in a specific demographic sector, while a nonprofit plan may call for increasing membership, donations, and activism. In the political arena, it may call for increasing donations, supporters, and ultimately votes.

The marketing plan must define quantifiable objectives - for example, $50,000 in new sales or 2,000 new supporters. If the objectives can not be quantified, then the effectiveness of the plan can not be evaluated. Without measurable results, it will be more difficult to refine and improve the plan.

Integrated website marketing

A website should be considered an integral part of an overall marketing plan. Indeed, unless a website is strictly informational, the primary purpose of a website is to induce visitors to take a specific action - to contact the organization, register on the site, vote for a candidate, or purchase a product. It is therefore important to market the website along with the company, brand and product, both on the internet and within more traditional channels, such as print advertising, radio and TV.

A website that is consistent with the overall marketing plan and is appealing, easy to navigate and use will result in a higher sales conversion rate.

Quantifying website success

It is important to measure the success of your website in quantifiable terms so that you can observe the effect of changes you make to your product offerings, price, incentives, advertising, and marketing strategy. A basic measure of website success is an increase in the number of unique visitors to your website. Some organizations might believe that this alone is sufficient, however, increasing the number of visitors does not necessarily correlate with increased sales.

By tracking both website visits and sales conversions, whether they consist of product purchases, registrations, or votes, you can then calculate a meaningful conversion rate and track your website's performance - and your marketing plan - over time.

Search engine marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the process of promoting website visibility in search engine results pages (SER or SERPS). Search engine marketing includes:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): the art and science of creating web pages that will result in high search engine result visibility.
  • Paid inclusion: payment of a fee to be included in a directory or search engine. This will not necessarily result in higher visibility or page ranking.
  • Paid placement: payment of a fee to be included near the top of search engine results. Pay per click (PPC) advertising is a variation of paid placement where a fee is paid only when a visitor actually clicks on the listing or ad. (For more terms, see this glossary by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization.)

It is no longer sufficient to build a website and hope that people will find it; there is simply too much competition on the web. Search engine optimization (SEO) must be incorporated into the website beginning with the design process. For more information, see How do I get high search engine visibility?.

ECS works with our customers to design their websites from the ground up, ensuring that their website is optimized for search engine visibility. Contact Elbel Consulting Services to discuss creating, redesigning, and optimizing your website.

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