How to Create a Marketing Plan for Your Online Business

In today’s world, everyone is a marketer. Whether you’re managing a social media account or creating digital marketing content for a business, marketing is something we all do more or less effortlessly. But what is marketing and why should you be making this effort? In this article, we’ll discuss the many different types of marketing for digital marketers and webmasters, and how you can put together a solid digital marketing strategy.

Traditional Versus Digital Marketing

The first and most important thing to understand about marketing is that it is constantly evolving. Like many other areas of business, marketing constantly looks for ways to improve and gain more traction. Because of this, we can expect that the types of marketing activities we see today won’t be the same as tomorrow’s marketing plan. Which is great for digital marketers, because this means we can constantly update our strategies as new trends emerge and old ones fall out of favor.

Broadly Defined, Marketing Includes Everything

When talking about marketing, many people think about TV ads, billboards, magazine spreads, and other traditional media. While these are all part of traditional marketing, they are really just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, marketing is much broader than this. According to HubSpot Blogs, marketing includes:

  • Innovations in marketing technology
  • Marketing analytics
  • Marketing research
  • Marketing strategy
  • Marketing measurements and analysis
  • Decisions about marketing budget and the allocation of resources
  • Sales outreach, cross-sell, and up-selling

Marketing Research: Why Are You Doing This?

Marketing research is a process of gathering (usually through surveys or questionnaires) information about a specific audience, group, or market segment. This research then informs the decisions you make as a marketer, whether those decisions are tactical (e.g., which marketing tactics to use) or strategic (e.g., which products to offer).

While there are many techniques and tools for doing market research, from simply wanting to know more about your customers to identifying the best-fit products for your niche, the most effective and efficient method is through an online survey.

Surveys Are A Great Way To Gain Insight

In the last decade, surveys have become a common and valuable tool in the digital marketing toolkit. The growth in mobile usage has made it easier than ever to conduct surveys online. With a few taps and clicks, you can have an entire survey filled out in seconds by a volunteer from your audience.

You can use this tool to gather information about many different areas, from customers’ general attitudes and opinions to their buying behavior and the types of products or services they use. You can even ask them how they found out about your product or service.

Survey Monkey, a leading free survey tool, claims to have over a million users and the capacity to quickly and efficiently run surveys for you. While there are other similar tools out there, Survey Monkey is definitely the market leader in this space. If you’re looking for a free tool to quickly and easily launch surveys for your marketing campaigns, you can’t go wrong with Survey Monkey.

Why Should You Be Using Online Surveys?

There are several reasons why you should be using online surveys over traditional paper surveys, the most important being that you can easily and quickly expand your sample size. Paper surveys usually only have a few hundred surveys to choose from, whereas with online surveys, the options are nearly limitless.

Also, online surveys are much more convenient for respondents. It is much easier for someone to sit down and complete an extensive survey than it is to sit down and fill out a few pages of questions in a professional manner. Lastly, with paper surveys, you have the issue of storage. Even the most organized busy professional is bound to lose important documents and/or forms, especially if they are not in a safe and secure place. With online surveys, you don’t have to worry about this issue, as all the information is stored securely and available to you whenever you need it.

Survey Tips From Expertise

If you’re just getting started with surveys or if you’re looking for some tips on how to improve your existing survey-taking experience, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ll discuss some tips and best practices from experts on survey usage.

Firstly, make sure that you tailor your surveys to your target audience. If you’re not sure whom you’re talking to or if you want to create a more personal connection, you can start by asking questions about demographic and psychographic information (e.g., age, gender, education, marital status, number of children, etc.).

Secondly, make sure that you don’t ask leading questions. If you want to prompt specific responses, you can ask open-ended questions. When you ask leading questions, you are essentially telling the respondent what you want to hear, which often results in skewed or inaccurate data. For example, if you ask, “Do you like cats?” you are probably going to get a “yes” response, even if the person doesn’t actually like cats.

Thirdly, use clear language and avoid marketing or sales language. If you are using a survey to capture customer feedback or to gain market insights, it is generally accepted that you are asking for opinions and not statements of fact. Using language that is familiar to your respondents (e.g., “customers,” “patrons,” “affiliates,” “individuals,” etc.) helps remove any ambiguity and ensures you are getting an accurate picture of what is happening.

Fourthly, give respondents the option of skipping questions they don’t want to answer. Sometimes, surveys can be a bit of an interrogation, especially if they are long and winding. You can allow respondents to simply navigate to a different part of the survey if they don’t want to answer a certain question. This prevents forced answers and fraudulent responses.

Fifthly, assess the quality of your data by randomly selecting a few percent of your responses and running them through a quality control check. You should do this every few months to ensure the reliability of your data. This also helps you identify potential patterns and errors in your data and allows you to correct any inaccuracies as soon as possible.

Types Of Marketing

Traditional marketing, also known as “brand marketing,” is still very popular and has been around for quite some time. It usually entails spending money on expensive ads in traditional media, such as radio and TV stations, magazine spreads, and billboards. While these tactics may work, they usually aren’t the most efficient or effective way to spread the word about your business or product. Today, many businesses use various forms of social media to spread their message and engage with customers.

Omnichannel Marketing

Since most businesses today market their products online, marketers often refer to this model as “omnichannel marketing.” Essentially, omnichannel marketing encompasses all the ways you can engage with and persuade customers to action through different platforms and devices, whether that’s online or mobile.

For example, if you are a clothing brand, you could use online marketplaces like Pinterest to promote your products. Or, if you are targeting business travelers, you could create online travel guides or web pages that are both informative and interesting. You can also use social media to get customers to come back to your website or app for further information or to purchase your product.

Omnichannel marketing allows you to target specific groups of individuals depending on the platform or device they are using. This targeted messaging can be highly efficient and help you gain more traction than broad-reaching ads in traditional media. Additionally, with most businesses migrating to online marketing, surveys become even more valuable, as you can reach more people this way than you can in a traditional newspaper ad.

Direct Marketing

Unlike traditional marketing, direct marketing is often used in conjunction with sales representatives who visit customers in person. In a nutshell, direct marketing is doing everything possible to reach your audience and engage with them, usually through the use of printed material.

The most prominent and well-known example of direct marketing is, of course, direct mail. Companies such as Amazon, Netflix, and Starbucks have all gained a lot of popularity and revenue by using direct marketing, mainly through email marketing and its variants, such as texts and social media.

While these tactics are effective and can generate lots of sales, they are very expensive and many businesses can’t physically do this. Luckily, the digital marketer can replicate this model virtually, using automation and sophisticated list segmentation to reach customers where they are, regardless of their physical location.