Before you can create an online promotion plan for your business, it’s important to ask yourself the following fundamental questions:
- What are my goals for the future of my company?
- What do I want to achieve through my online promotion efforts?
- What do I want people to know or perceive about my brand?
- What action do I want people to take as a result of my efforts?
Once you have a clear understanding of what you want your online promotion efforts to accomplish, it’s time to create a strategic plan. Some people find planning dull, overwhelming, or downright boring. I can assure you, the more you plan, the more you are clear about what you want and where you want to go, the easier your efforts will be, and you’ll achieve the results you want more easily and quickly.
Here are 4 steps to creating a promotion plan that delivers results:
Step I: First, you have to know what you want to achieve. You must define success. If you have a strategic objective, use that as a guide. In addition, I suggest you sit down and interview yourself.
Some of these questions might include…
- Do I want to attract new clients? And what type of clients?
- Do I want to build solid relationships with a handful of key bloggers?
- Do I want my Tweets mentioned in The New York Times?
- Do I want to be featured in Martha Stewart Weddings online?
Be honest with yourself. What is it that you really want? Write it down.
It’s important to note that success isn’t always about having 4,000 fans or 8 million followers. What’s more important is the connection you build with your online network. If you only have 100 fans or followers and a handful are retweeting your posts, that’s much better than having 300 fans or followers and no one interacting with you or sharing your information.
Step II: Depending on your goals and the nature of your company, decide how you will promote your company online. By no means are you expected to use every possible online platform—you’d end up pulling your hair out.
Instead, use vehicles and platforms that will meet your needs and objectives. This sounds simple enough, but you’d be amazed how many companies are unclear why they’re doing what they’re doing. Do you know why you’re on LinkedIn and Digg, or even have a blog? Do you have a Twitter account because you were told that’s what attracts clients, or are you Tweeting with a purpose? Again, this goes back to step one—you have to set goals and know what you want.
In deciding how you will promote and what online platforms are best for your company, take inventory of what you’re doing now. Make a list of what’s working and what isn’t. Look over the list and ask yourself why that is. Are you actually connecting with your target market or key influencers? How can you better engage your network? Are you on the right platforms to connect and engage?
Once you are clear, choose a set of 2 – 3 social media platforms that you plan to be active on. If you’re already on a few and they work for you, stick with these social media sites. Remember, it’s better to be active on a few than to be on too many and never participate or add to the conversation.
Step III: If you have a business blog or plan on starting one, create a blog editorial calendar. Eliminate last minute blogging, topic searching, and optimizing by creating an editorial calendar in advance. Here you can break down each topic you would like to discuss on your blog over the course 1 – 3 months.
When you have a blog schedule, sit down and write a few blogs at once, remembering to incorporate key phrases in the first paragraph of your post—without being unnatural. Batching is always a great way to hone in on your writing skills and get a few posts out of the way.
It’s also extremely helpful to create an organized blog promotion schedule in your plan. Each week, set aside time to comment on like-minded blogs, ask other bloggers if you can be a guest blogger, or ask others to guest blog for you, and request to be on like-minded blogrolls.
Step IV: Set time durations for each task. When creating a plan, you want to ensure you set specific time durations you will spend on each task. If you don’t do this, you’ll quickly find yourself over stressed and unclear of the time you’re spending on these tasks. In your plan, write the specific time you will spend on each platform and what days you will post on these platforms. Often, setting weekly tasks is the best way to digest a larger promotion plan.
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