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Why You Need an Online Marketing Plan Before a Website

Online Marketing PlanBy Gloria Rand

Launching a new business and need a website? Don’t spend a dime until you decide how you’re going to market your business. Online marketing needs a combination of SEO, social media and email to be successful.

Questions to consider are:

Who is our target audience?
Are they in our local area, or national?
Do our prospects use social media? If so, which network(s)?
How will our prospects contact us? Phone? Email?
Who will design the web site?
Who will write copy and optimize the site? 

“Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

I recently met with a group of women who wanted my help getting their new business found online. Great, right? Yes and no. I love writing keyword-rich copy that enables a business to attract its target audience. But these women already had a website built for them. I prefer to do SEO copywriting before the website is built. Whoever is in charge of updating the website will have to do more work now, if significant changes have to be made.

I also discovered that this new website was built using the Wix platform. Wix websites are flash-based, so they are not strictly SEO-friendly, despite claims to the contrary by the company. I won’t get into the technical aspects here; you can read about them in this article.

If this group of women had consulted with online marketing experts before the site was built, they could have learned about the pitfalls of Wix. I, for one, would have recommended a site built on WordPress, which is very SEO-friendly.

I prefer to work hand-in-hand with a web designer and a client so that everybody is on the same page as the site gets built. This is how I work with a client who’s launching a new site:

Consult, Plan and Proceed

1. I ask the client to fill out a web creative brief. This brief identifies key messages for the client’s target audience such as:

type of product/service
who their target audience is
what problem keeps their audience up at night
the purpose of the website (educational, ecommerce, etc.)

The brief also requires the client to submit a list of keywords their target customers use to search for the company’s product or service online.

2. Once I’ve reviewed the brief, I will talk with the client about their marketing plans. I’ll ask whether they plan to use social media. Have they thought about writing a blog? Do they want to capture email addresses on the website? If so, what incentive will they provide for a visitor to opt-in to their list?  How will they stay in contact with their prospects? Will they send out an enewsletter?

3. Ideally, I’ll work with the web designer on the look of the site, as it pertains to marketing. For instance, I’ll make sure the company’s phone number can be readily seen (the upper right hand corner of the website, for instance). I’ll recommend placement of an opt-in form, and social media buttons.

4. Then, I’ll do keyword research,  write title and description tags for each web page, and write (or edit) copy for the website. I’ll ensure the site is listed in local directories like Google Places. And I’ll make sure that the website is set up for Google Analytics.

Of course, we don’t live in an ideal world, do we? That’s why I am also happy to work with clients who have an existing website. Nothing gives me more pleasure than when a client calls me to say he’s getting more targeted leads as a result of the changes I’ve made to the company’s website.

If your website isn’t generating the leads you expected, contact me today for a free, no-obligation online marketing consultation.

About the Author
Gloria Grace Rand is an award-winning SEO blogger, former writer/producer for the PBS-TV news program, “Nightly Business Report,” and the owner of Web to Wealth Marketing. As an internationally known leading expert in internet marketing, Gloria develops innovative workshops and masterminds that help creative professionals and service providers improve their online visibility and profitability. She is also a Contributing Author of three best-selling books, “Unscripted: How Entrepreneurs Leap and Find Success,” “Conceived to Lead,” and “Connect: 100+ Mind-Blowing Strategies to Use Social Media and Drive Business Growth.”

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