What's the relationship between your marketing plan and your business plan or vision statement? Your business plan spells out what your business is about--what you do and don't do, and what your ultimate goals are. It encompasses more than marketing; it can include discussions of locations, staffing, financing, strategic alliances and so on. It includes "the vision thing," the resounding words that spell out the glorious purpose of your company in stirring language. Your business plan is the U.S. Constitution of your business: If you want to do something that's outside the business plan, you need to either change your mind or change the plan. Your company's business plan provides the environment in which your marketing plan must flourish. The two documents must be consistent.
Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
The first thing you need to do is to identify what you hope to achieve from online marketing. This may include getting more than 5,000 Twitter or Facebook followers, increasing traffic to 50 leads per month, improving the rebound rates or obtaining more leads. The next step is to ensure that you have the right infrastructure for effective marketing. This includes a fully optimized website, social media account, strong network and conducive work environment.
Non-profit corporations and political entities use Internet marketing to raise awareness about the issues they address and engage individuals in their campaigns. They strongly favor social networking platforms because they are more personal than websites and they are easy to share, increasing the “viral” word-of-mouth effect that is so prevalent in online media.
Social marketing aimed at changing health behaviour encounters external and internal competition. Digital communications proffer countless unhealthy eating messages along with seductive lifestyle images associated with cigarette brands. Cable television, the web, and video games offer endless opportunities for comorbid behaviour. At the same time, product marketers add to the confusion by marketing “reduced risk” cigarettes or obscure benefits of foods (such as low salt content in foods high in saturated fat).
Communication channels for health information have changed greatly in recent years. One-way dissemination of information has given way to a multimodal transactional model of communication. Social marketers face challenges such as increased numbers and types of health issues competing for the public's attention; limitations on people's time; and increased numbers and types of communication channels, including the internet.4 A multimodal approach is the most effective way to reach audiences about health issues.5
Looked at from a different perspective, however, it comes down to one thing. At the root of all of the group's work is one basic principle: change people's behavior. This is true not only for a child hunger campaign, but for almost any health or community development initiative. A coalition against violence wants people to stop committing acts of violence. A teen pregnancy initiative tries to put an end to children having children. And an organization for peace looks for the day when world peace is more than a lovely thought on holiday greeting cards.
Online reviews have become one of the most important components in purchasing decisions by consumers in North America. According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research which included over 1000 participants, 90% of respondents said that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions and 94% will use a business with at least four stars. Interestingly, negative reviews typically came from online review sites whereas Facebook was the main source of positive reviews. Forrester Research predicts that by 2020, 42% of in-store sales will be from customers who are influenced by web product research.
Standard to any business or marketing plan is the SWOT analysis. The SWOT analysis should help you clearly define your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats so that you can develop goals and objectives that are on point and tied to your overall mission. The SWOT analysis will also enable you to understand what differentiates you from your competition and how you should position yourself in the market. It will also help in developing your messaging and your unique selling proposition. Brutal honesty is imperative to a truly insightful SWOT. Use bullets and aim for 4–5 in each section. Limiting your lists will help you to focus on the most critical points and help retain focus.
Since 2012 we have run an informal poll to see how widely used digital marketing strategies are. The results have shown some big improvements over the years. A few years ago we found around two-thirds to three-quarters did not have a digital marketing plan. Now that number has shrunk to 45% in latest survey, although that is still quite high, and means almost half are still doing digital with no strategy in place.
Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.