Alan Lakein famously said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.

Online marketing is a key component of a company’s marketing mix. Without a plan, activities are often unfocused and good results, if any, come by luck rather than design.

Here are some tips to get the best out of your online marketing plan:

1. Set goals – and yes it’s okay to set some (fairly) ambitious goals, as long as you have some way to measure the outcome and track KPIs, and revise accordingly.

2.  Budget – make sure the budget matches the goals, and make sure the spend is measurable. If outsourced, ensure you invest with a results-driven organisation.

3. Set benchmarks early on – whether it be the volume of traffic to your website (let’s call them brand awareness goals), or leads and conversions (saleable leads or converted orders). Set a timeline to achieve these goals.

Once the above is established and squared away, it’s time to knuckle down and focus on the website itself – often your company’s most valuable resource.

Does your website comply with best SEO practices according to the latest Google Guidelines? It’s best to start with a detailed analysis with one of the many online tools available. Focus on the architecture of the site; are the title tags, headers, sitemap etc all up to best SEO specification? Is there enough unique content on the site (250-500 words of quality content per page – remember, content is still king!)? These are only a few of the important elements that need to be optimal to get the most relevant and important content on the website visible to the search engines for indexing.

Once the architecture of the website is up to spec, it’s time to analyse the backlink profile of the website. Not all links are created equal! Ensure the current backlinks are all adding value to the website (Are they relevant to the industry? Are they from reputable and high Domain Authority resources?). Nullifying the links assessed as bad for the health and ranking of the website is the next step. Then it’s time to move to the link building process  – a sometimes maligned but essential part of the online marketing of a website. For a closer look at the process, check out What is link building?.

Backlinks are digital word of mouth referrals – make them count!

Once the link building campaign has started, the backlink profile needs to be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure the links being built are beneficial to the website and the rankings. Good SEO is not a set-and–forget scenario. Constant reviewing of the onsite and offsite components of the website are essential as the search engines algorithms are constantly updated, and people’s search patterns become more and more educated and refined.

Having a good marketing plan, then implementing it in a timely and systematic manner will yield the results you are seeking for your company’s online profile.

For a detailed analysis and help with your marketing plan, click here.