Incorporating internet marketing in business plans has become an imperative as opposed to an option. That probably became true when even the large storefront businesses began to do internet marketing. Judging by the number of websites, online accounts and emails sent with discounts for online shopping, the internet is playing a larger and larger role in all business models.
The implication is that internet marketing should not be a separate strategy. It needs to be integrated in the total marketing plan. It should not be a standalone subsection in the marketing plan. It needs to be weaved into the various marketing efforts, in addition to be being a unique effort.
For example, the business plan can include the development of a website and a discount campaign. However, the offline marketing efforts need to incorporate the website and the discount campaign also. For example, direct mailing of advertisements can be integrated with online marketing by developing the tactics the big department stores have successfully developed. The offline direct mail advertisements encourage online shopping by offering discounts, and the online emails encourage offline shopping with special discounts.
Of course, you can have a description in the business plan for specific internet only strategies. For example, you can discuss strategies for obtaining client leads and set goals for the lead-to-customer conversion rate, the number of transactions and the targeted average dollar sale. Yet there is still integration needed with offline marketing needed. Offline marketing will play a supporting role in driving people to the website to find the online-only discounts.
There are a number of online marketing strategies that can be addressed in business plans. They include developing the business website, participating in social media and blogging, and so on. The important point to keep in mind is that the marketing plan needs to be a cohesive integrated plan and not a disjointed set of offline and offline activities.
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