Is your business is failing to achieve the profits you projected and were expecting.

The culprit just might be your marketing. More often than not, an effective Internet marketing plan is just what your business needs and is an integral part of the strategy used by any successful business. Identifying the best way to increase sales is the first step in developing an effective marketing plan.

For example, you need to determine whether your business should offer new products or services, increase its share of the market, improve customer service or simply increase the number of units sold. At least one of these should be your marketing objective.

The next step is to devise a marketing plan that will let you reach that objective and allow you to achieve your ultimate goal – increased profits.

Your marketing plan should always be developed with your marketing objectives in mind. Marketing strategies are one of the first things to consider when you’re developing your marketing plan. Your business might be helped significantly if you better define your target market.

Next, consider the effect of product positioning, promotion and pricing, all of which can have a critical effect on your sales. Unless your message is targeted to reach the right market and also the correct ‘persona’ your marketing efforts will more than likely waste time and money.

You need to identify your target precisely;

If your target market is too vague, such as “anyone who wants to buy,” your marketing efforts will probably fail. Avoid this mistake by honing in on your target. For example, if your business offers housecleaning services, your target market might be middle-aged working mothers who have very little free time to clean their own homes.

Identifying your target this way will allow you to aim your sales message to specifically present your products and services to that target at the exact moment they are searching for you. In this example, you’ll supply the time, effort and expertise needed to clean these women’s homes, solving their housecleaning problems.

Next, you need to develop an explanation of how YOUR products or services are better than those of your competitors.

In other words, you need to tell your prospective customers what makes your business, goods or services superior. In our housecleaning example, the difference between you and your competitors might be your prices, the speed or thoroughness of your services, the satisfaction guarantee you provide, your use of environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions, etc. Identify what sets you apart and build on it when tailoring your sales message.

Now, determine the best way to create customer awareness.

Promote your particular products or services, and while you’re at it, make sure to emphasize their benefits for buyers. Obviously, your choices for promotional tools include advertising using what ever channels are available to you based on the budget that you have available, but which types would be best? Email campaigns, online PR, article marketing, video marketing, blogging, social media and directory marketing can all be effective tools when done properly.

Your strategy can also incorporate sales prices, giveaways, contests and other promotional techniques. While all of these promotional tools require you to spend money and/or time, some will give you a bigger bang than others, so make your decision wisely. Don’t stretch yourself too thin; it’s smart to concentrate on only a few promotional tools so you’ll be able to give each one enough attention.

Next, carefully establish prices for your products or services.

Identify how much the market will bear, keeping in mind the current global downtrend in economic conditions. Set your prices so they’re low enough to tempt potential customers but high enough to include a markup that will give you a healthy profit margin.

The final step in creating an effective Internet marketing plan involves developing a marketing calendar.

A large, inexpensive wall calendar (the erasable kind works well) will let you slot each marketing task to be performed into the appropriate dates. When completed, your marketing calendar will let you quickly see which particular task or promotion you should be working on at any given time.

If you create and implement an Internet marketing plan that’s truly effective, you’ll soon be amazed at your soaring profits and should you need assistance WSI works with our clients to develop a full strategic plan right down to the selection of appropriate channels and budget spreadsheets to help manage the process and get realise the full potential.

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