The Marketing Plan and Internet Marketing For Small to Medium Sized Businesses

How Internet Marketing fits in with your Marketing Plan.
 
Marketing covers many aspects of a business – corporate marketing is a long-term strategy to establish a good reputation and instant recognition by name or marque; product marketing usually involves research, product design, consumer testing and promotion.
 
Whilst the ultimate goal of a business is to make money, let’s get one thing clear: Marketing and Sales are NOT the same thing and, in most cases, should NOT be controlled by the same Director/Manager. In smaller businesses, this fusion of roles is unavoidable and marketing often takes a back seat to the all-important sales role. One way around this is to appoint a part-time Non-Executive Director to help the small business owner/salesman ensure that marketing is on track.
 
So, you have your Marketing Plan and a person responsible. Good.
 
A powerful marketing and sales tool is Internet presence. Without Internet presence, you probably have no business future. There are different levels of exposure on the Internet and different reasons for having a web site, which may be the equivalent of an information brochure or may be the sole source of sales. 

 
Let’s assume that you have or are in the process of generating a web site. The design looks good and the site functions as it should. If your web site is a promotional or sales tool for your company, this is where your marketing director/manager needs to have Internet marketing experience or access to someone who does. 
 
What is Internet Marketing and what are the special skills required?
 
The main goal of Internet Marketing is exposure. You can try for maximum hits or focus on potential clients. Either way, this is best achieved with a web site link from page 1 of Google (fact). Google remains most popular with well over 50% of market-share, then Bing and Yahoo Search Engines then others.
 
There are two main methods of web site links from Google search: organic results (also known as SERPS – Search Engine Results Pages) and Google-Ads (Pay-Per-Click); other methods include Google Images and Google Base shopping, etc. Google is always changing algorithms and introducing new ways of refining searches but following basic guidelines is the surest way of reaching your peak position.
 
There are many contributing factors to gaining a good ranking on Search Engines, the main ones being optimized code and high value inbound links. 
 
Optimizing code requires a knowledge of HTML, optimizing content requires good writing skills coupled with optimizing experience and some industry knowledge, much of which can be gained from researching successful competitor sites and from you, the client. 

 
Inbound links may be from listings (low value) or relative sites (high value). An e-Marketeer will target a number of ways to generate links from anchor-text keywords on popular sites. A link from a page that contains similar content to your site from a word or phrase that is significant to your site content is an anchor-text keyword.
 
Whilst much of the ranking process is automated, it is driven by human actions. If your site is interesting and therefore popular with human users, it will ultimately be recognized as such by Search Engines.
 
Internet Marketing is a specialized skill set that needs to be designated within the marketing budget and can be employed on outset, ad-hoc or as an ongoing regular service (weekly, monthly, quarterly), managed by your in-house Head of Marketing as part of the Business Sales and Marketing Plan.

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