With so many different ways to market our companies, services and products online nowadays it's often difficult to know which we should spend the most time on.
It would be nice if we had a framework, a guiding tool, to help us decide which way is best.
A very easy way to start to define your online marketing strategy is to follow our framework guidelines. We call this the Internet Marketing Landscape and at this stage it covers content only. i.e it does not cover advertising such as pay-per-click, banners or search marketing such as SEO etc.
The landscape starts with 4 main dimensions;
You can think of these dimensions as quadrants of the bigger picture. Our aim is to slot our online marketing activities into 1 or more of these, the more dimensions they hit, the more valuable they are.
Let's take a commercial website as an example. This is certainly part of the sales dimension but it's only a one way communication channel so it doesn't sit in support or conversions, just sales and profile. How about our linked-in account? Well this sits in profile and possibly, a little bit, in conversations but not support or sales.
Our blog crosses all dimensions, it has the ability to sell, support, encourage conversations through comments and also provide profile information. In actual fact blogs, if used well, are one of the strongest components of the landscape. What about Twitter? Well again it's a great conversation platform, it can also be used for support but we aren't using it for this.
Most businesses will use many different online strategies and systems, some may use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and others won't use any of these. The ways in which these systems are used are also quite different so it's important that you map your own businesses onto the landscape.
Once you're done, you should look for the items which cross the most dimensions. In our example above, our blog is the strongest. So we should look to publish content to it as frequently as possible, next is our website, so again we should look at updating the content on our website on a regular basis.
However, this is not to say that you should neglect things like eBay or Amazon, which produce sales. The landscape is more about allocation of resource for updates, so that you can divide your online marketing time and budget accordingly.