Deciding on an online marketing strategy for your business is one of the most difficult tasks you will undertake on the web. There are many factors to consider including what stage of the lifecycle your products are at – launch, growth, maturity or decline – and how you will target customers effectively.
You also need to make decisions on what your online marketing objectives are and then choose the promotional tactics and product, price and place tactics that will help you achieve them.
To help you decide on which strategy to follow, you should take a closer look at your products, target markets, competitors, budgets and stakeholders and then review the following online marketing strategy solutions:
1. Market Penetration
A market penetration strategy involves increasing share of the current market by selling more of the existing product to the existing customer base. One online channel to implement this strategy is email marketing through your customer database. So, email can be used to encourage customers to buy more of your products or services – and recommend family and friends too.
Social media is another channel to use for a market penetration strategy because many followers and fans will be existing customers and you can use offers and discounts to encourage more repeat purchases.
Remarketing is another tactic to use, and here you can retarget existing clients and remind them of your offers and encourage them to return to your website. Two platforms to launch a remarketing campaign are the Google Display Network (GDN) and Facebook. With Facebook, you can upload your email list or database of customers and target them with tailored banners and ads as they use the Facebook site.
Overall, a database of customers is essential to this online marketing strategy and it is one of the profitable ones because you are targeting individuals and businesses with which you have an existing relationship.
2. Market Development
If you have achieved high brand awareness with your target segments and your products are at the mature stage of the product lifecycle and there is little or no growth prospects; then a market development strategy should be considered.
This online marketing strategy involves looking for new market segments for existing products, and some effective ways include selling to an international market, or targeting new markets with an updated version of your product.
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is an online channel that allows you to target easily international markets by creating new campaigns on Google Adwords or Bing Ads for example. So, with little or no modification of products, you can target prospects in other markets with similar needs to domestic markets.
3. Product Development
It’s easier to target existing customers with new products because you already have a relationship with them, and they are aware of the level of service and have positive product perceptions.
One of the most effective online channels for targeting existing customers with new products is email marketing. As mentioned earlier, your customer database includes people and businesses that have purchased once or more times in the past and will be receptive to any product offers that you push to them.
This is especially true if you have launched a new version of a product and customers have to upgrade – for example, with an antivirus software that is upgraded yearly and operating system software that is released every few years. These customers are unlikely to defect to rivals when it is time to upgrade, and you can incentivise them with discounts and vouchers.
Diversification is the riskiest marketing strategy because it involves creating new products and targeting new markets. A lot of research is required here into the buying habits of customers and there are online channels and tools that can help you do this.
Advertising is effective at raising awareness quickly and some online channels to use when you have launched a new product and want to target new customers are online press releases, banner advertising and pay per click advertising. Online press releases can prove to be very profitable because there is no charge to distribute them to news sites, except maybe hiring a PR expert to craft your messages.
Social media is also effective at raising brand awareness. However, targeting can at times be difficult, and you are likely to market to people who are outside your geographic location and, therefore, unable to benefit from your offers.
However, with pay per click advertising and banner advertising too, you can target people who are searching for products like yours to fulfill their needs.