For those doing business in the Dot Com lifestyle, summer signals the beginning of budget season.
This is the first line of demarcation between treating e-commerce as an enterprise or a hobby. Are you committing money to make money or spending because you’re going to try to make money?
Only if your commitment is total will you achieve the Dot Com lifestyle.
And that starts with determining a realistic marketing budget.
Before making marketing investment decisions, analyze how you’re going to utilize the three must-haves of e-commerce:
- social media,
- content marketing, and
While aspects of these marketing formats may not have direct costs, they all require budget and resources.
Social media provides platforms, enabling marketers to interact with their target audience. Social media involves more than a Facebook page or Twitter account. It requires an integrated social media strategy including a social media persona to ensure it’s an integral part of your marketing.
- Assess current social media presence. Is your brand present on appropriate social media networks? Are you actively managing your presence? Are there emerging social media platforms relevant to your firm, focus, or target market where you must establish your presence?
- Evaluate your brand’s portrayal across social media platforms. Is your brand consistently presented? Do your branding guidelines need to be enhanced?
- Determine the engagement level you need on social media platforms. Remember, you can’t rely on three tweets a day written by your outsource. You need a human face behind your social media presence. Ensure you’ve got appropriate in-house resources to respond to social media requests.
- Create relevant content to feed social media needs. Assess requirements across content formats and social media platforms. Include formal content marketing as well as social media interactions like Facebook comments and Twitter responses.
- Support your social media presence with targeted advertising. Do you need to enhance your social media presence with related paid advertising? Consider the use of social media ads.
Content marketing is promotion-free information that fuels social media and overcomes purchase decision hurdles. (Here’s an outline of content marketing’s basic steps.)
- Analyze content marketing needs. Assess the existing content within your organization. Then determine where you have content marketing needs and where you have holes in your existing offering. Specifically examine the entire purchase process and social media interactions.
- Integrate content marketing into an editorial calendar. Determine where content is needed, the format and topic required, and the timing of its creation based on your assessment. Incorporate this information into a plan across platforms to ensure it’s synched with your promotional calendar. Plan for content reuse to extend the life of each element.
- Acquire appropriate resources for your content creation. At a minimum, you need skills as an editor. Otherwise, outsource it. Don’t underestimate the need for design, graphics, writers, and technology support. These resources can be internal, freelance, or agency-based.
- Expand content marketing reach. Make it easy for readers to share your information with social sharing buttons. Where appropriate, use advertising to promote your content and build an audience.
- Ensure content marketing closes sales. Content marketing by itself can’t drive sales. It needs calls-to-action and related dedicated promotional codes. Furthermore, create tailored landing pages and streamline the sales process to efficiently convert prospects to sales.
Mobile is a must-have for every business with a retail presence or that competes with a business that has a retail presence, since mobiles and tablets go shopping.
- Be present on mobile search. Mobile search is separate from web search. Local businesses that people seek on-the-go must be findable on mobile search.
- Build a mobile website. Don’t just assume people can read your web-optimized site on a mobile device. Create a streamlined mobile website focused on the information customers want on-the-go.
- Build a mobile phone number house file. If you don’t have a mobile phone list, start building one now.
- Optimize your e-mailings for mobile devices. Email is the primary content consumed on mobile devices. Ensure readers can easily read and take action on your e-mailings via a connected device.
- Assess need for a mobile app. Year after year, mobile app usage has surged ahead of mobile web, according to Flurry. Depending on your business, this shift may require investment in a mobile app.
This is no surprise, given social media’s exponential growth, increased smartphone usage, and the quick adoption of tablets. These elements require new ways of engaging and selling prospects and customers through content marketing and social media delivered via various mobile devices.
At a time when marketers need additional funds to test these emerging channels and platforms, more than a quarter of those surveyed believe their biggest challenge is financial constraints and ROI accountability.
There are strong promotional systems out there that include campaign tracking with their services. One worth considering is My Dot Com Business.
Virtually anyone who makes money online is well-invested in these areas. They’ve planned their budgets after doing their research and consulting with their mentors, and they monitor their endeavors constantly. One their entire e-commerce framework is in place, it doesn’t take that long to do.
And, assembled efficiently, it’s a framework that keeps churning revenues, enough to make the Dot Com lifestyle a reality.
This article originally published at ClickZ