Strategic Planning Can Make Your Business Stand Out from the Crowd

With a lot of businesses joining the internet marketing bandwagon, the realm of e-commerce is getting crowded. The pool of customers to tap is vast. Even with such competition, there are enough customers to sustain these online businesses. If this is the case, why are internet marketers closing shop before they even get to their first anniversary? The answer lies in their strategy and planning – or, in all likelihood, their lack of these two business pre-requisites.

business strategic planning

No internet marketer should go without a strategic plan. The focus of this plan is making the online business stand out from the crowd so that it can aggressively seek out its customers. There are a lot of factors involved in strategic planning. The first step is to know what you are offering. This goes beyond the specifications of your product. It’s easy enough to list down sizes, shapes, color, ingredients, and components. What you should pay more attention to are your product’s benefits. Focus on what your customers can get out of your product and why they should choose your product over your competitor.

Aside from identifying your product’s value to your customers, you should also think about who your customers are. You might think that you would be better off with a sea of customers to target. But, zooming into a specific segment of your market could yield more revenues for you. Strategically designing your marketing communications and campaigns to attract these customers could prove to be more profitable than having sweeping campaigns and crossing your fingers that you’ll get a good turnout.

Next comes crafting a message that screams out to your customers. You need to make some noise. But, you have to make sure that you create positive noise. This third step should not be all that hard when you have a clear idea of who you are talking to and what would likely draw them to your product. These days, you can stir excitement about your products without spending much in terms of financial resources. Utilize the resources that are within your reach. Make sure that you are present in your target customers’ online hubs and groups. Make sure that you are part of their regular conversations and interactions. When you forge “personal” relationships with your customers, you can be sure that you will be the first in your customers’ mind.

Image Credit:
Pat138241 – Free Digital Photos.Net

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Use Social Media to Promote your Online Store

If you’re looking for inexpensive ways to promote your website, you’ll want to make use of digital marketing opportunities such as blogging and social media. Creating social media profiles for an online business can help keep your customers excited about what you have to offer, while drawing in new customers at the same time. There are integration tools that can help you link your social media accounts directly to your ecommerce store, saving time and money.

social media

The Benefits of Social Media

There is a multitude of benefits associated with using social media to promote a business. Connecting your business website to social media profiles allows you to access the millions of users on these networks. You can engage with existing customers and reach out to potentially unlimited new ones. Customers trust peer recommendations far more than paid advertising, and this costs no money to your business.

Direct vs. Indirect Marketing

There are two main ways to use social media in a promotional sense. To begin with, you can use it for direct marketing. This includes promoting your products, services, or special events using your Facebook or Twitter account. You can share news about new products, or tell fans about special offers. This helps build an engaged following who will want to share their great deals with friends. For example, an online pet store could let customers know about seasonal discounts on dog coats with Dogs Corner, and provide a special code for customers to pass on to friends. This creates exclusivity, which customers love. Contests and special events are also great examples of direct marketing.Another use of social media is in more indirect marketing. By interacting with your customers, social media provides the chance to build trust and a feeling of loyalty to your brand. Keeping a blog helps you showcase your brand’s personality, and you can respond directly to readers’ comments and concerns directly. This makes your business seem more human, and can boost customer engagement.

How to Make the Most of Social Media

To make the most of social media, you’ll want to integrate it directly to your website. Place buttons on your ecommerce site that go directly to your social media networks, and allow customers to like or share your products. Set up profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+ to make use of all networking possibilities. Ask customers to share pictures of themselves using your products, and post polls to boost engagement. Using the pet shop example, you could run a contest asking customers to post photos of their dogs sleeping in dog beds from Dogs Corner. The cutest dog photo can be rewarded with special discounts or a free prize. Use multiple forms of media to spark interest, including photos and videos from your office.

Social media integration essentially gives a business free advertising, and allows you to show off how you are different from competitors. It’s considered a vital part of running an online business today, so it’s worth taking some time to put the right systems in place for both direct and indirect marketing opportunities.

Image Credit:
Stuart Miles – FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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