If you are reading this, I assume you are either an entrepreneur who is just starting out, or a business professional who is looking to grow your business.
Either way, you are in the right place. We’re going to share with you the exact steps to take to create a free online marketing plan that will propel your business to the next level.
Why An Online Marketing Plan?
It all started with SEO. Since its inception in the early 1990s, search engine optimization has been the bread and butter of online marketing. Getting your website optimized for key words (and demonstrating to search engines that those words are relevant to your site) is an essential part of growing your business on the internet.
Back in the 1990s, when web traffic was mostly focused on large corporates trying to sell products, SEO was all about getting your website to appear near (or at) the top of the search results for relevant key words. Back then, SEO was a good choice for getting leads – because you could manage what keywords people searched for and, thus, target the right audience – but it was pretty much considered an expense account which only big businesses could afford.
These days, SEO is much more affordable. Thanks to improved technologies and the evolution of the internet – which has made it a place for people to congregate, socialize, and conduct business – SEO is more important than ever before.
The Evolving Role Of SEO
Back in the day, SEO was mostly about getting your website to appear at the top of search results for relevant key words. These days, SEO is much more about creating engaging content that will keep your audience coming back for more.
According to HubSpot Blogs research, 77% of marketers plan to focus more heavily on SEO moving forward. However, only 17% plan to strictly rely on SEO to drive traffic to their websites.
While SEO has always been about getting your website to appear at the top of search results for relevant key words, today it’s also about providing your visitors with content that is both relevant and useful to them.
What Is Relevant And Useful Content?
This is one of the biggest changes to hit SEO in a long time. Back in the day, relevant content was simply content that was tied to key words. But, as search engines have become more discerning and sophisticated, relevant content has evolved to mean more than simply content that is associated with a certain theme or keyword. Today, relevant content is defined as:
- SEO-friendly and technically-sound content that is both educational and entertaining
- High-quality, original content that is both engaging and useful to your target audience
- Sell-oriented (but not forced) content that is backed by high-quality, relevant data
- Content that answers questions
- Content that provides value and is interesting to the user
- And, last but not least, content that is fresh, unique, and of high quality.
The types of content you create might not always fit into one of these categories, but it’s important to remember that search engines – and therefore, your potential customers – are looking for content that matches these criteria.
Find The Right Keywords
If you want to rank high in the search engines, you need to start by researching the keywords people are using to find your competitors’ websites. You’ll also need to research what keywords your ideal customers are using to find your product or service.
Once you have a list of keywords, you can start adding them to your content to see if that improves your search engine rankings. If it does, great! You’ll know you’re on the right track.
You can’t grow a business without knowing what’s going on. Having analytics at your fingertips – and being able to access this information anytime, anywhere – gives you the power to analyze the performance of your website, identify problems, and find solutions. In the digital marketing world, we can’t stress enough how important it is to monitor and analyze the performance of your website.
There are several tools you can use to track the performance of your website, from simple free tools like Google Analytics to much more sophisticated tools like HubSpot’s in-house developed Performance Analytics platform. Finding the right balance between being able to track the performance of your site and not having so much data that you lose sight of the forest for the trees is something every business person needs to consider.
Make A Plan
You need to have a plan. We’re not going to sugarcoat this part – making a plan is difficult. It’s not easy to put into practice everything you learn from all your marketing classes and put it into action without a guide to show you the way. This is why we’re here – to help. If you’re looking for a quick-start guide to help you create a solid online marketing plan, continue reading.
The Basics Of An SEO Plan
Like with any other business plan, you need to start by laying down the foundation. For your SEO plan, that means creating a list of the major elements you need to cover. These elements include:
- A description of your product or service
- Content strategy
- Links to build
- Metadata (such as the title, description, and keywords for each page)
- Traffic sources
- Online PR
- Optimization techniques
- People to engage with
- Marketing budget
Don’t worry – this is a short list. You don’t need to cover every aspect of an SEO plan in great detail. There are plenty of guides out there that can help you make the right choices. Once you have your list, you can start working on each item. Remember – everything you put down on paper will be used to create a workable plan. You can’t make any assumptions about what is or is not achievable based on your experience as an entrepreneur, salesperson, or marketer.
The Anatomy Of An SEO Strategy
Once you have your list of the major elements you need to cover in your SEO plan, you can start breaking it down into more detail. The strategy behind your work will be determined by a few major factors, including the size and maturity of your business.
If you’re just starting out, it might be a good idea to follow the tried and tested approach of a smaller, privately held business – perform SEO at the expense of your marketing budget and see how it goes. If your budget allows, start by setting up automated searches to identify profitable keywords and content ideas. These automated searches will help you find the best performing keywords and content ideas that can be monetized. Consider paying for advertisements if you’re looking to grow your business quickly.
As your business grows, you might want to consider investing in SEO. There are plenty of profitable keywords and content ideas out there, and it’s important to remember that the competition is typically low. It’s also a good idea to have a content schedule in place before you begin your SEO campaign. This way, you’ll be able to measure the results of your efforts and determine the level of success you’re having with your SEO strategy.
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for all your online marketing needs, you can’t go wrong with HubSpot’s Free Online Marketing Plan. The plan walks you through the steps to take to create a successful SEO strategy for your business. Once you’ve completed the plan, you can download the worksheet so you can follow it along as you develop your plan.