In order to stack all the odds in your favour, you will have to define a realistic marketing strategy before developing the website.
The marketing strategy will obviously have a significant impact on the website design: landing pages & customer processes, content integration, internal animation, etc. Above all, preparing a web marketing plan, and of course doing it your way, is a structuring approach that will help you earn maturity at the time of concretely implementing your first actions.
You will find an estimated budget sample devised for an e-commerce website and the Excel model it has been prepared from at the end of this article.
What exactly is the web marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a document that defines the marketing strategy of a project, and the implementation of this strategy through concrete actions, on different levels, over a given period.
Of course, the marketing plan might take a very different form depending on the context, and especially on the company’s dimension.
Just so as to give you an idea of the content, the following elements are commonly found in a marketing plan.
- Market Analysis : Market size, segmentation, customer profiles, competition, etc.
- Objectives and Strategy : Context, targets, strategic lines, product policy, price policy, distribution and communication policy (see mix-marketing )
- Action plan : list of actions, divided on the basis of the business unit and / or the function and / or the channel, with targets and possible control mechanisms
- Financial forecasts : costs and incomes assumptions on the actions and, then, on the business units level
All the classic elements of the marketing plan listed above retain their meaning, provided of course that they are compatible with the specific mechanisms and practices of digital marketing.
We’ll zoom in on three key concepts of the marketing plan to see how to adapt them to a digital business context.
Three key concepts: positioning, marketing activities and budget
In traditional marketing, the word “positioning” is used to describe how a company is qualified by its traditional customers.
The concept of positioning and the models used to study it (4P, SWOT, Porter, etc.) all retain their meaning with respect to a website.
Some differentiation levers, such as browsing experience, are specific to the Internet.
Like in any new field, one will have to take the time to understand the lines of perception on the customer’s level in order to be able to comprehend the strategic positioning of companies.
- Marketing actions:
In the case of a website, one can not only use traditional marketing levers (RP, TV, billposting, events, etc.), but of course specific Internet channels (Google Adwords, SEO, e-mailing, etc. ) as well.
As far as specific web marketing actions are concerned, we can distinguish three levels.
- Traffic acquisition:
Establishing or improving direct acquisition channels, for which you directly buy traffic (Google Adwords, Affiliaton, Display marketing), or indirect ones (SEO, press, etc.)
- Conversion optimisation:
A / B tests, chat with an adviser, etc.
increasing the purchase frequency, via smart e-mail reminders or other direct marketing levers
Digital marketing has the advantage of allowing you to measure the ROI of your campaigns in a very precise way, and in any case on direct acquisition channels.
As you will see by opening the Excel downloadable sample here below, the estimated budget of a website is based on assumptions specific to each channel, such as the average Cost per Click on Adwords, and especially on traffic distribution between different traffic sources.
Some assumptions, particularly on the SEO level, are very difficult to evaluate, but a credible estimate is always reached by thoroughly analysing competition and by asking for advice from field experts.
An approach more than a document
This is an important point to be underlined when you know how long the formalisation of a comprehensive marketing plan can take.
- How to ask oneself the right questions
The implementation of a marketing plan will lead you to ask yourselves many interesting questions: strategy consistency, differentiation, brand, budget and actions distribution, etc. This is particularly the opportunity to spend some time studying the competitors and the market with a less focused eye on the offer only. Above all, preparing a marketing plan is a collective exercise. There is nothing better than comparing the points of view and tuning the violins before the curtain opens.
- How to set the targets / hypotheses
The forecast will not be respected into detail, and it does not have to be, the marketing plan should never prevent a project manager from being pragmatic. The convenience of a budget estimate lies on the one hand in the analysis process that will make you split your revenues and costs up in this or that way, and on the other hand in the preceding work needed to more or less correctly evaluate the main assumptions, particularly in terms of acquisition costs.
Preparation of an estimated budget, e-commerce website case
This is normally the result of the marketing plan, but the work on the assumptions often leads to reconsider some elements of the overall strategy.
We have prepared the estimated budget of an e-commerce website as an example (see below).
Internationalisation at the end of one year, one million euros in revenue for the second year, in short, we have put all the ambition and the naivety of the new e-retailer in this estimated budget.
A few months of work will probably bring us back to reality … Again, it is not the revenues assumptions that matter (Excel allows us to dream for free ..), but rather the approach to define the assumptions themselves (in blue in the sample).
The Net Factory suggests that you download the Excel template for free.
It is up to you to take some time to adapt it and to define the assumptions in blue!