If only marketers are known to throw away money at different promotional tactics imaginable.
The reality is that bombarding the public with smart use of billboards, print materials, or even online ads for the products and services they're promoting is a pipe dream. Businesses have put a financial cap on marketers - they are forced to work on a limited budget in their attempt to meet their goals when they have better chances of bleeding blood from a stone.
However, have a limited budget to work with is never a bad thing. This is the reason why search engine optimization (SEO) became popular in the first place - it provided marketers an avenue to reach out to their target market online without spending as much. It has provided a way for businesses to eschew old practices in order to become successful.
Limited budget is also the reason why lean planning exists. This method often implemented by Silicon Valley startups aims to do away with bulky business plans with cumbersome, expensive, and time-consuming methodologies in exchange for developing minimal viable products (MVPs) instead.
From here, entrepreneurs can measure market interest for their product over a short period of time and use the insights gathered from their market to re-launch a better version of the product. The process repeats itself until growth is achieved at a rate faster than any other methodology.
Applying lean planning as done by startups is possible for marketers to their job. This can be done by hacking key components applied in lean planning and transposing it to a marketing framework.
Executive summary as...content strategy
Laying down the foundations of your online business through your content strategy will help you better understand the kind of website or blog you wish to run. Your content strategy will:
- State your mission statement and business objective to settle what you wish to achieve with your site or blog.
- Determine your target audience so you can develop and deliver content that will attract the type of visitors and readers you clamor for
- Create an editorial calendar so that you will have a schedule of posts that will be published evenly and consistently within a certain period of time
For more details on how to implement this, read up QuickSprout's Advanced Guide to Content Marketing. It explains to you step by step on how to build a content strategy as your site or blog's foundations.
Financial plan as...tools to use
Much of the planning that will take place on the financial side of your online business has to do with the tools you will be using to launch your business. We can divide this into different categories:
Website platform - While WordPress is arguably the most flexible and customizable content management system (CMS ) to date, there are other alternatives that offer something different to everyone.
There are website builders that allow you to simply drag and drop different elements onto a page and design beautiful websites without dropping a line of code. There are also blogging platforms that focus on content and has a minimalist approach to design, which is part of its charm. Some platforms are free to use while others will require you to purchase a hosting service to save all your files and run your website.
To help you decide which platforms to use in building your site, read this excellent piece at DearBlogger.
Publishing tools - Running a website is not as easy as it seems. Aside from maintaining the backend of the site or blog to ensure that it's running properly, you will also need to cover the content that will be published on the site. If you're not a writer, you can have someone do the writing for you so you can focus on other aspects of your site.
Aside from the usual culprits of job sites where you can reach out to writers (oDesk, Elance, Fiverr), there are other alternatives out there that provide better content quality. Copify and Contently are sites where you can reach out to reputable and credible online writers and journalists and ask to write content for your site.
Also, you need to reach out to writers who are best suited to the niche of your site. For instance, if you're running an education site, you can reach out for content from Bid4papers (bid4papers.com/write-my-essay.html), an essay writing service provide that produces academic papers for you. It really depends on your niche before you can determine which site you should find your writers from.
Enterprise tools - Digital marketing involves the use of different data gathering tools to help you speed up things and make the process streamlined and easier for you to implement. For starters, I point you to this resource post at NicheHacks which details the best free and paid tools to run your SEO campaigns on.
Also, due to the popularity of content marketing, there are a chockfull of tools that you can use to not only create better content, but also integrate your content assets to different marketing strategies. Read this post for a complete list of tool you can use.
Using the best tools possible, you can better gauge the amount of money you spend and the money you should be earning from your site. You can segregate your goals by month and track your earnings or losses by then to determine what you need to do to improve your status.
Action plan and performance tracking are...data analytics
Once you have determined the tools to use based off your content strategy, you can begin rolling out your strategy on your site or blog.
However, before doing so, you need to install the tracking code Google Analytics on your website. This allows you to record pertinent website data that you should observe and analyze upon collecting them. From here, you will be able to see the things you did right and those that you didn't get right.
Once you have interpreted the data, you can develop a brand new campaign that is an improvement over the previous once. In this campaign, you will account for the mistakes you made with your previous one by making the necessary tweaks to help you achieve your goals much better.
Doing this will help you compensate for the losses from your marketing mistakes in the hope of spending less on your succeeding campaigns.
Using Google Analytics is simple enough but there are LOTS of ways on how you can manipulate website analytics to provide you will better information about your site performance. To help you figure out how to use the tool to your advantage, check out this list of Google Analytics tutorials and resources from KISSmetrics.
Final thoughts: Referring to the lean methodology above for you marketing effort, you will be able to produce measurable results that you can use to tweak your site or blog into its latest iteration until you achieve perfection with it in no time!