Internet Marketing: Strategies & Plans

Instructor: Sean Kennedy

Sean has 8 years experience as a supervisor and has an MBA with a concentration in marketing.

Developing an internet marketing strategy is essential to staying competitive. Here we will discuss setting a budget, creating a website, researching target markets and social media channels, launching campaigns, and maintaining your online presence.

Fools Rush in to Internet Marketing

Imagine you own a small retail company called Beach Brim Hats. You are trying to enter into the online world by utilizing internet marketing. You decide it is only essential to use one channel of internet marketing - Facebook. After awhile, Beach Brim Hats is not seeing the high level of sales you were expecting. What's wrong with your approach?

Well, first, you did not research your competitors or your target market to see which social media avenues they were utilizing. But before even that, you'll need a budget and a website. Let's see how you could go about this better.

Set A Budget

Internet marketing does take money, but it can be cheaper than other avenues of traditional marketing. Set a budget that is best for the company, and as sales increase, you can increase the marketing budget.

Once you know how much you can spend, look into what it would cost to have a website, start social media accounts, and promote your brand on those accounts. It's helpful to budget your time as well, so you know how much time you are prepared to spend maintaining your online presence. If you find you're spending too much time on it, you may need to hire help or cut down on involvement.

Some channels are free to sign up, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Even on these sites though, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. You can 'boost' a post on Facebook for only $5, which means that post will reach more people's newsfeeds, and you can even tell Facebook what types of people you want it to go to (parents, women of certain ages, etc). You can even set it up to spend a weekly amount to increase your reach in this way.

On Twitter you can promote tweets or trends for a small (or large if you desire) fee. Various other platforms will have their own ways of going about promotions, so look into them before signing up.

Websites and Matching Your Brand

Creating a website is essential. If you do only one thing with internet marketing, do this. In this modern age, customers expect you to be online and are much more likely to interact with you, buy from you, and develop opinions about you if you have one.

If possible, the url should be the name of your company, so it is easy to find for customers. Your website should be easy to navigate, giving detailed information about the company, and offer products for online sale. You can start a website for free, but often there are features you will want (like a custom url, unlimited items to offer for sale, etc) that will require you to pay a yearly fee.

Make sure to keep your brand's theme as you build websites or use social media. Your brand is a logo, symbol, and name that differentiates itself from competitors. Keep to the same fonts, colors, and voice in all media channels. Make sure your same logo is on the website, is the avatar for your accounts, and shows up at the end of your emails.

Try to increase your search engine optimization as much as possible. Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to ways of increasing your site's relevance, visibility on search engines, and traffic. When people search your company or product, you want your website to be the first thing to come up. SEO helps lead customers directly to your website and analytics programs can help you to track their demographic, what pages they viewed, and what they are doing on your website. There are lot of ways (both free and paid) to increase your SEO, but we'll talk about that in another lesson.

Social Media

After you create your website, you should focus on creating social media accounts. This will help you get the word out about your company, interact with new and old customers, and allow them to give you feedback and even promote your brand for you!

You don't want to sign up for every platform - you'll find it difficult to stay active on so many different channels. See how much time you have, and pick just a couple. Research which ones are used by your target market the most. Finding out which channels your competitors are using helps too.

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