A crucial part of any marketing plan is the creation of the marketing mix which best attracts a businesses target customers and which allows the organisation to meet its declared objectives.
Kotler defined the marketing mix as the four Ps; Product, Price, Promotion and Place. This has since been extended by the addition of three more categories; Process, People and Physical Evidence.
Most businesses should know the product or service they are proposing to deliver. They should have worked out an appropriate price for that product, the process of delivering it to target customers and the people who are going to deliver it. Then comes the question promoting the business and increasingly the place of delivery and the associated physical evidence. Increasingly the answer to these questions for small businesses is a website.
A website can be a cheap and efficient way of promoting a business. An internet shop can allow a business to save on property costs and the internet can allow a small business an instant profile over a large geographic area. Unfortunately, in the case of many small businesses, the creation of the website is seen as an end in itself and not a means to an end. The website is created and basically treated as a static advertisement similar to a page in a magazine or as billboard. Such an approach is unlikely to lead to a successful internet presence that wotrks for your business.
The internet is not a static medium. It is constantly changing as players in the market come and go. To ensure that your website is working for your business, it is important that a strategy is applied to the website which ensure that the site is optimised for search engines and adapts to meet the changing needs and wants of target groups.
A website in itself is unlikely to draw large numbers of potential consumers. The internet is global and there are thousands of sites competing for the attention of surfers. It is very easy for a small business website to get lost in the crowd. Signposts to the site need to be erected, often using more traditional methods of promotion such as print advertising, bulk emails, flyers or vehicle banners. Search engine optimisation, the process of keeping your website near or at the top of search engine rankings is a constant battle.
Then there are those businesses who use website meta data (the code which lies behind website content) to try and fool search engines into listing the site near the top of their rankings. These businesses are using out of date methods of search engine optimisation which ignores the fact that the algorithms used by the likes of Google have been changed to concentrate on site content not meta data.
If you propose that your business website is to be your primary method of promoting your business it is important that you realise that significant planning and strategy needs to be applied to ensure that the site remains viable.
Philmus Consulting Ltd can help you develop a marketing plan and a marketing mix which ensures that your business gets the most out of its website and that it remains a viable and relevant marketing tool.