You should also remember that planning is about the results, not the plan itself. A marketing plan must be measured by the results it produces. The implementation of your plan is much more important than its brilliant ideas or massive market research. You can influence implementation by building a plan full of specific, measurable and concrete plans that can be tracked and followed up. Plan-vs.-actual analysis is critical to the eventual results, and you should build it into your plan.
As we know from interactions with our own friends, they can be full of surprises. So one of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating a buyer persona is to constantly make assumptions. Actually put these personas to the test, hit the pavement, and start interviewing people and get some real data. After all, there’s that saying about assumptions making a donkey out of you and me.

Motivate people to want to change their behavior. The recipient has to form an intention to act on the basis of that attitude. It's not enough to just convince people that something is a good idea. A leap needs to be made from thinking something is a "good idea" to the stage of "I will do that." Think about it--how many of us think it would be a really good idea to cut down on our fat intake, or get up at 5:00 a.m. to exercise? Social marketing helps people move from attitude to intention, and beyond. For African women, this might mean taking the leap to find out about birth control or planning to postpone intercourse.
There can be considerable benefit in comparing these figures with those achieved by other organizations (especially those in the same industry); using, for instance, the figures which can be obtained (in the UK) from `The Centre for Interfirm Comparison'. The most sophisticated use of this approach, however, is typically by those making use of PIMS (Profit Impact of Management Strategies), initiated by the General Electric Company and then developed by Harvard Business School, but now run by the Strategic Planning Institute.

In one page or less, list your company's marketing goals for the coming year. The key is to make your goals realistic and measurable so that you can easily evaluate your performance. "Increase sales of peripherals" is an example of an ineffective goal. You'd be in a much better position to gauge your marketing progress with a goal such as, "Increase sales of peripherals 10 percent in the first quarter, 15 percent in the second quarter, 15 percent in the third quarter and 10 percent in fourth quarter."
Price can quite simply be the quantitative price the company’s customers must pay to acquire its product. However, thorough market plans will also consider other sacrifices a customer must make, such as travel time, shipping costs, or research time before they find the product. Customer perceived value is also a key consideration when it comes to price. Key decisions under this umbrella include price-setting, pricing strategies, discounts, accepted payment methods, and more.

And what about joining another company's affiliate program? It's all about extra revenue. Think about your customers' needs: What other products or services would interest your site visitors? Join those affiliate programs. Affiliate programs can increase your sales with no upfront cost to you. It just takes a little time to plan your strategy and select the partners that will have the greatest impact on your business.


The United Support of Artists for Africa, or simply USA for Africa, was founded to help relieve famine and disease in Africa—specifically the 1984-1985 Ethiopia famine that led to more than 400,000 deaths. This group was actually a “super band” composed of 47 U.S. recording artists, who came together to record one song and donate the profits to famine relief in Africa.
The best way to think about affiliate marketing is quality over quantity. There are a lot of small websites that will promote your product, but the key is finding a small number of partners that will deliver conversions. For example, an equity management services firm has over 20,000 affiliates in its system, but only about 25 affiliates generate 85 percent of revenue.
Act-On isn't a CRM, but it is a solid choice for small and growing companies who want to provide their sales teams with information allowing them to focus on prospects that are most ready to buy. The Act-On platform offers tools to help your team with email and newsletter marketing, media prospecting, web page optimization and lead management and conversion efforts. Particularly notable is Act-On's simple CRM integration, which can make it a good tool for businesses who want to start small, focusing on lead-management capabilities and grow their marketing efforts over time.
In the new world of inbound marketing there are a handful of strategies that are paramount. These strategies can also be useful when researching competitors. Using email and social media, and surveying the content landscape, will give you an immense amount of knowledge about your competition. Here are some quick tips on understanding who you’re up against:
Deliver value no matter what: Regardless of who you are and what you're trying to promote, always deliver value, first and foremost. Go out of your way to help others by carefully curating information that will assist them in their journey. The more you focus on delivering value, the quicker you'll reach that proverbial tipping point when it comes to exploding your fans or followers.

By using Internet platforms, businesses can create competitive advantage through various means. To reach the maximum potential of digital marketing, firms use social media as its main tool to create a channel of information. Through this a business can create a system in which they are able to pinpoint behavioral patterns of clients and feedback on their needs.[30] This means of content has shown to have a larger impingement on those who have a long-standing relationship with the firm and with consumers who are relatively active social media users. Relative to this, creating a social media page will further increase relation quality between new consumers and existing consumers as well as consistent brand reinforcement therefore improving brand awareness resulting in a possible rise for consumers up the Brand Awareness Pyramid.[31] Although there may be inconstancy with product images;[32] maintaining a successful social media presence requires a business to be consistent in interactions through creating a two way feed of information; firms consider their content based on the feedback received through this channel, this is a result of the environment being dynamic due to the global nature of the internet.[29] Effective use of digital marketing can result in relatively lowered costs in relation to traditional means of marketing; Lowered external service costs, advertising costs, promotion costs, processing costs, interface design costs and control costs.[32]


Also known as a publisher, the affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers. In other words, the affiliate promotes the product to persuade consumers that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer does end up buying the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.

I find that companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don't have a clear strategic goal for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. And if you don't have goals with SMART digital marketing objectives you likely don't put enough resources to reach the goals and you don't evaluate through analytics whether you're achieving those goals.


"Jim Boykin blows my mind every time I talk to him. I have been doing SEO for 15 years and yet I am amazed at the deep stuff Jim comes up with. Simply amazing insights and always on the cutting edge. He cuts through the BS and tells you what really works and what doesn't. After our chat, I grabbed my main SEO guy and took him to lunch and said 'you have to help me process all this new info...' I was literally pacing around the room...I have so many new ideas to experiment with that I would never have stumbled onto on my own. He is the Michael Jordan or the Jerry Garcia of links...Hope to go to NY again to Jim's amazing SEO classes. Thanks Jim!" Michael G.
A good amount of marketing on the internet can be done for free, but sometimes it's worth spending some money on effective and professional looking options. For example, although you can get free web hosting, it's not recommended. Ideally, you should pay for web hosting to make sure that your website doesn't experience downtime, as well as a professional domain name. Fortunately, you can buy both for less than $100 a year.
Conversion rate optimization is all about testing. Many companies get too bogged down in design and what they think looks best and will convert. At the end of the day, you don’t know until you test. At IMI, we have the tools, technology, and expertise to not only build well-optimized web pages but to test them once they go live. Our conversion rate optimization can not only save our client’s money but generate millions in revenue.
Most online marketers mistakenly attribute 100% of a sale or lead to the Last Clicked source. The main reason for this is that analytic solutions only provide last click analysis. 93% to 95% of marketing touch points are ignored when you only attribute success to the last click. That is why multi-attribution is required to properly source sales or leads.
There are several core qualities to look for in strategic marketing freelancers. As well as a passion for creating effective marketing campaigns, the ideal marketing strategist will be experienced in marketing planning, and any other marketing techniques you plan to use. A successful marketing consultant should be able to prove their experience with certifications and past examples of work. Ideally, a digital marketing specialist will be knowledgeable, creative, and well-organised. The best strategic marketers are also great at understanding their client’s business, and communicate progress regularly.
It's all too common for digital marketing activities to be completed in silos whether that's a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT or a separate digital agency. It's easier that way to package digital marketing into a convenient chunk. But of course, it's less effective. Everyone agrees that digital media work best when integrated with traditional media and response channels. We always recommend developing an integrated digital marketing strategy and once Digital Transformation is complete digital marketing activities will be part of your marketing plan and part of business as usual.
2. Improved brand loyalty. According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” Another study published by Convince&Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands.
Joint ventures and partnerships are agreements you forge with other organizations to help reach new customers or better monetize existing customers. For example, if you sold replacement guitar strings, it could be quite lucrative to partner with a guitar manufacturer who had a list of thousands of customers to whom it sold guitars (and who probably need replacement strings in the future).

Our leadership philosophy is to both lead and be led. We derive guidance and strength from every team-member in the company no matter what rank or experience level. We invest a great deal of time and resources in recruiting and developing the best talent in the industry. Every team member at IMI is encouraged to be an emerging leader and take on responsibility outside of their normal role. That is what makes IMI great and why we continue to flourish.


The process consisted of a membership trawl to develop a set of agreed principles of Social Marketing to underpin the definition. The process also included an online members vote on these principles; a summary of the survey results is set out in annex two. All members of the participating associations were given opportunities to see the developing definition, comment and make suggestions for improvements. The definition was further refined through an iterative process of drafting and comment by the working group and input from the Boards of the supporting associations. Five considerations were taken into account when developing the definition:
In addition to completing a SWOT for your overall marketing plan, it is often helpful to do a SWOT analysis for the different segments within your marketing plan. For example, as we will discuss further down in this piece, content marketing, social media and SEO will all be important parts of your overall inbound marketing plan and would benefit from SWOTs of their own.
We combine our sophisticated Search Engine Optimization skills with our ORM tools such as social media, social bookmarking, PR, video optimization, and content marketing to decrease the visibility of potentially damaging content. We also work with our clients to create rebuttal pages, micro-sites, positive reviews, social media profiles, and blogs in order to increase the volume of positive content that can be optimized for great search results.
Though it's not clear, behind the corporate objectives, which in themselves offer the main context for the marketing plan, will lie the "corporate mission," in turn provides the context for these corporate objectives. In a sales-oriented organization, the marketing planning function designs incentive pay plans to not only motivate and reward frontline staff fairly but also to align marketing activities with corporate mission. The marketing plan basically aims to make the business provide the solution with the awareness with the expected customers.
But I'm not talking about any kind of link building. I'm talking about organic link building by getting out there and creating insatiable "anchor content" on your website, then linking to that content with equally-great content that's created on authority sites like Medium, Quora, LinkedIn and other publishing platforms. It's not easy by any measure. Google is far more wary of newcomers these days than it once used to be.
Social Media Marketing: In an increasingly connected world where consumers expect the companies they do business with to engage with them, social media is an ideal way to interact with prospects and customers. The key to social media marketing success is focusing on the platforms where you're most likely to find your target market, whether it's Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Pinterest. To make sure you're not wasting time with your social media efforts, develop a strategy and content plan, and research tools that will help make the posting easier, such as Hootsuite or Buffer.
Email marketing is yet another tactic in your inbound marketing arsenal. Email is used most effectively as a lead nurturing tool, in that it is used to engage with potential customers as they interact with specific content on your website. For example, should a prospect visit your website and download an eBook, they will then begin to receive a set of triggered emails related to the eBook topic, encouraging them to further interact with the brand. Email is also commonly used for announcements, newsletters and promotions. Just as with social media, email frequency and timing matters. While incorporating email into your marketing plan is important, overdoing it can backfire. People don’t want to be overrun with emails and if you are overzealous you could risk losing potential buyers.
5. Higher Brand Authority. Interacting with your customers regularly is a show of good faith for other customers. When people go to compliment or brag about a product or service, they turn to social media. And when they post your brand name, new audience members will want to follow you for updates. The more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to new users. Not to mention, if you can interact with major influencers on Twitter or other social networks, your visible authority and reach will skyrocket.
Take advantage of affiliate program freebies when available. Many affiliate programs provide free printables, guides, webinars or other lead magnets designed to get potential customers in their sales funnel. As an affiliate, you can share these freebies with your audience using your affiliate link so if they eventually make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission, but if they don’t they still get value upfront.

In one page or less, list your company's marketing goals for the coming year. The key is to make your goals realistic and measurable so that you can easily evaluate your performance. "Increase sales of peripherals" is an example of an ineffective goal. You'd be in a much better position to gauge your marketing progress with a goal such as, "Increase sales of peripherals 10 percent in the first quarter, 15 percent in the second quarter, 15 percent in the third quarter and 10 percent in fourth quarter."
Not promoting the right products is a common issue with newbie affiliates. Would you purchase the product you are promoting through a website? Think about it. You can advertise a Ford dealership on your website until the cows come home, but will anyone seriously purchase a brand new car via a website without visiting a garage? I don’t think so. Don’t market cars, houses, wedding venues, perfume or dogs online. Do market products people will actually buy from a website without seeing them in the flesh!
With a thorough competitive analysis from Blue Corona, we will identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities from a digital marketing perspective—including actionable insights you can take to close any gaps and get ahead of your competition. We’ll provide custom-tailored recommendations for how you can improve your online presence and performance.
Second, it's scalable. Some campaigns are quite large, such as the National High Blood Pressure campaign discussed in the Examples at the end of this section. However, social marketing campaigns can also be quite a bit smaller. That is, you can do it on a local level, when you have limited resources. Just because your group doesn't run the Hyatt Regency, or hasn't resources anywhere in the same ballpark, that doesn't mean you can't take the same principles and put into effect the change that you want to see in your community.
That doesn't mean you won't make any money at the outset. No, as long as you configure the right free offer to capture those all-important email addresses on your squeeze pages, and you build a great value chain with excellent sales funnels, you'll succeed. If all that sounds confusing to you, don't worry, you'll learn over time. That's what internet marketing is all about. It's a constant and never-ending education into an oftentimes-convoluted field filled with less-than-scrupulous individuals.
Motivate people to want to change their behavior. The recipient has to form an intention to act on the basis of that attitude. It's not enough to just convince people that something is a good idea. A leap needs to be made from thinking something is a "good idea" to the stage of "I will do that." Think about it--how many of us think it would be a really good idea to cut down on our fat intake, or get up at 5:00 a.m. to exercise? Social marketing helps people move from attitude to intention, and beyond. For African women, this might mean taking the leap to find out about birth control or planning to postpone intercourse.
Social marketing is also being explored as a method for social innovation, a framework to increase the adoption of evidence-based practices among professionals and organizations, and as a core skill for public sector managers and social entrepreneurs. It is being viewed as an approach to design more effective, efficient, equitable and sustainable approaches to enhance social well-being that extends beyond individual behavior change to include creating positive shifts in social networks and social norms, businesses, markets and public policy.[36]
How can you get prospective customers to stay at your site instead of clicking away? A lot will depend on the setup and how easy it is for customers to find what they are looking for. Take a look at this website usability checklist and make sure you're doing all you can to keep customers where you want them -- at your site instead of the competition's.
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[10] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[11] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[12]
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