Get Online Week: Getting Strategic

Objectives Strategy graphic

Just as ignoring web and social media opportunities could be a serious mistake, rushing out and jumping into the first thing that presents itself could also be a big mistake.

You need to look at all stages of the strategic planning process and decide what your needs are and how potential solutions work for you. Not how they work for the shop down the road.

Your audience

Be clear about your target audiences:

  • Who they are
  • Where you can find them
  • Who influences them
  • Who they influence

Listen to what they are saying. Contribute to their conversations. Don’t just spam them with irrelevant messages. Communicate with them, don’t just talk at them.

Your brand

Your brand is more than just your logo and housestyle, it includes the very values that made you go into business and what you offer your customers and how you communicate with them. You need to be clear about your brand before you create a website or dip into social media.

Marketing mix

Don’t just think of online technology as promotion — it can affect, and may be able to leverage, all aspects of your marketing mix.

Here are some thoughts — just some thoughts. What could apply to your business?

Product

  • Are there new products/services you could deliver
    with the benefit of online technology?
  • Or deliver existing products and services in better
    ways?
  • For example, if you are a small retailer you may not
    be able to compete easily on price but could you perhaps offer post-sale support using email and Skype and stealing a march on your bigger competitors?

Price

  • Can you use IT led solutions to reduce marketing
    costs to make your product/service more competitive?

Promotion

  •  Are you paying for door drops, Yellow Pages and traditional media? Do they work for you? How do you know?
  • What do customers feel about your business if they
    try to find you online and you’re not there? Do they lose
    confidence/trust?

Place

  • Small businesses struggle to operate the long hours
    now expected in the retail sector. Your website is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you don’t have to be there.
  • Online media also reach much further than just people
    walking past your front door. Could you be reaching out further for new business?  Are your competitors reaching into your traditional ‘territory’?

Processes

  • Online media can be invaluable for collecting data on
    your prospects and customers. What processes do you have/need to exploit this data to generate more sales and stay within the law?
  • How do you store, access and share your company information — are you aware of the many free ways you can create an ‘office on the move’?

People

  • How do you get training and keep your skills in
    online technologies and techniques up to date? If you are not up to date, will you be able to recruit and retain the best staff to give your business a future?

Physical evidence

  • Web and social media analytics can provide insights
    into who is looking for your business and what they want to find that you won’t get elsewhere

How many friends and likes do I need?

There’s a fallacy amongst some social media users that the aim of social media is to collect as many ‘friends’ on your profile and ‘likes’ on your page. It’s true that in search engine rankings high numbers can be a bonus. But having too many friends/likes can be a drawback too.

If you’re an international brand, numbers count. But, if you’re a shop in Leytonstone which realistically is never going to draw its customers from more than a few miles’ radius, suddenly collecting hundreds of followers from Australia and Greenland isn’t really going to prove very much. In fact, they’ll mess up your statistics as you try to monitor if you really are becoming more successful online. Worse still, if they start posting or emailing you they will take up time that you could have spent making money. So be wary of those who promote numbers: it’s quality not quantity that counts.

Leigh Horton
LDH Marketing
www.ldhmarketing.co.uk

Blog articles in this series

Look out for these blog articles which I will be producing during 15-21 October 2012.

Starting out with social media
Setting up your first website
E-publications and other ways to get online
Getting strategic
Some free ways for Leytonstone businesses to promote themselves

See also these new pages:

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