When you look at your product or service, you should consider how suited it is to Internet marketing. A marketing strategy that
Marketing and sales strategies
When you look at your product or service, you should consider how suited it is to Internet marketing. A marketing strategy that includes an online component is almost always a benefit to business efforts.
Outline how you want to market and/or sell your product online. This can be as simple as developing a basic brochure style website to provide information about your product or service. It can be as complex as a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy that includes a well-optimized, e-commerce website with an online advertising campaign including banner and affiliate advertising.
Consider your target market, your product and your long-range goals. What do you want to achieve online? Consider your budget. How much do you have to spend on the online portion of your marketing strategy? If you are on a tight budget, you may want to develop a long-range plan of action which outlines a step-by-step approach to grow your revenue.
If you are going to develop a website, you will need an action plan for the task. This plan can be included in the marketing section of your business plan.
Your website plan will want to address:
- Purpose of the website: Review your reasons for bringing your business online. The purpose of your site will determine how the site will look and function.
- Style: How will your website look and feel?
- Site evolution: What are your plans for your website in the long term?
- Domain names and hosting: What will your domain name be? Who will host the site? Will you buy and run your own server and host it yourself?
- Security: What security measures will you use to protect your customers privacy and your business records online?
There are e-business strategies for automating aspects of your business operations. They will let you streamline your operations and collect and use customer information to your advantage. There is customer relationship management software, accounting software, shipping software, database and email applications. Consider:
- Implementation schedule: Set out what needs to be done to get Internet ready. Who will be responsible for what? What are the deadlines? Plan for what might happen if and when tasks aren't completed on time.
- Evaluation and metrics: How will your website traffic and e-business activities be evaluated and monitored?
- Logistics: If you are selling products, how you will ship your products to their destination? How will your shipping expenses be reflected in your pricing? How will you deal with product returns?
- Review and updates: Implement a schedule for reviewing and updating your plan as your business grows and changes.
When you work out your budget each year, make sure your e-business spending is on track with your plan. E-business in your budget should be handled the same way you would budget for traditional items. You can allocate an e-business activity as a unique item, such as a website, or you could spread it across other departments. For example, put Internet marketing in with overall marketing costs.
A budget is not a static thing. Yearly revisions will be necessary. You may have upfront costs, such as initial website development, which will not be spread out over the long term. You may have maintenance costs, such as website testing, updating, and enhancing, which may not come into play in year one.
Estimating costs for e-business adoption can be the most difficult aspect of developing your business plan. Seek out quotes from suppliers to estimate what your costs might be.
Knowing what you want to get out of e-business and having a well thought out plan will make the implementation and use of e-business much easier.