Like most agency owners, you have undoubtedly developed a marketing plan for your agency's offline marketing efforts such as commercials and Yellow Page advertising. While this is an exceptionally good practice, most principals forget to include one of the largest segments of today's economy, online marketing.
To achieve your agency's online potential, you must develop an Internet marketing plan. Your plan must go far beyond having a fully functional, interactive website. It must become a comprehensive guide filled with budgets, tasks, and goals. Properly defined plans include most, if not all, of the following elements.
Your budget should include estimated costs for website hosting, lead generation services, search engine placement services, and pay-per-click campaigns. Going forward, consider placing even more funds towards your Internet budget as online leads often come with a lower cost of acquisition versus traditional means of lead development.
Most agencies in median-size cities can properly utilize an online marketing budget of one to two hundred dollars per month. While these numbers sounds daunting at first, it pales in comparison to the numbers most agencies spend on Yellow Page advertising alone.
Creating a task list is critical to building a successful plan. Internet marketing tasks are often easy ten to fifteen minute projects that you will do on a recurring basis. Possible tasks might include:
- Document and report referral sources within an agency management system
- Submit site URL to search engines and social networking sites
- Write an informative customer interest blog entry on your website
- Submit, review and update pay per click terms
- Request link sharing agreements with vendors and partners
- Update your website's content
- Design, write and send newsletters
- Develop mailing lists
- Update company signage, literature and e-mail signatures with company URL
Many of these tasks you will do on a monthly or even daily basis. In addition to the task list itself, you should include how often each task should occur, who will complete the task, and how long the task should take to complete.
Finally, unlike other marketing efforts such as radio, newspaper, television, or Yellow Page advertisements, which expire once you stop using them, Internet based marketing can grow exponentially. Each task you complete will be built upon by subsequent tasks.
Your new marketing plan should define your expected goals. As with any plan, your goals should be well defined and achievable. Each of your goals should also include a timeframe for which you want to complete or gauge the goal. Well designed campaigns often take five or six months to build initial momentum. However, your patience will be rewarded.
Start small; initially setup your goals to cover the costs of your efforts alone. Some samples of good initial goals include:
- Have a fully functional website presence on the Internet
- Update marketing materials with website address and value proposition
- Generate ten leads per month from Internet based sources
- Convert three Internet based leads per month
- Increase web traffic by 20%
Once you have achieved these goals, allow your energy to continue and expand your aim by setting newer, more aggressive goals.
Finally, just like the Internet, your plan should constantly evolve to meet your agency's overall needs. Analyze what works, and what does not. Make adjustments as needed, and once you have perfected your Internet marketing plan, your agency will begin to realize the economic possibilities upon the web.
About the Author
As president, Laird Rixford is responsible for sharing the vision and direction of the company with its customers, vendors and affiliate companies. He oversees the direction for each of ITC’s products and the company’s sales and marketing department. An expert in insurance technology and marketing, Laird is a recognized public speaker and has presented at industry events across the United States.Follow on Twitter More Content by Laird Rixford