Marketing Plan

Key Questions for Crafting a Successful Online Marketing Strategy

Author:  Debra Murphy


Reading Time: 5 minutes
Online Marketing Strategy Questions to Answer Before You Execute

For a small business to be effective with its online marketing, you need to take a strategic approach to determine what truly will work for your business. This means answering five pivotal questions that will shape the activities you undertake in your marketing execution. And if you are seeking outside help with your online marketing, make sure they begin your engagement by asking these five online marketing strategy questions because the answers will pave the way for a comprehensive and impactful marketing strategy.

Strategic vs. tactical marketing activities

To be effective with your online marketing, you need to understand that having a strategy will dictate the tactical efforts you will need to provide. Understand that both are important, but implementing tactics before you understand the needs of your target audience can waste important time and resources.

Tactical marketing includes:

  • Building a WordPress website
  • Implementing search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Developing a Google Ads or Facebook advertising campaign
  • Sending out an email marketing campaign
  • Providing detailed Google Analytics reporting

All good stuff and important because digital marketing is complex. But how do you know if what you are doing is hitting the mark?

5 key questions that provide direction

Understanding who your target market is and how to best reach them is the main piece of knowledge you need to develop a sound digital marketing strategy. By understanding who you are trying to reach and how they search for products and services, you can then pick the best and most effective and practical options to get their attention given your time and resource constraints.

1. What is the vision for your business?

Every business needs a vision that helps drive the direction of all activities. Planning marketing activities that are not aligned with your vision is a waste of time. If your vision is to grow extensively, then your marketing activities needed to drive that growth is most likely different than if you are interested in maintaining a lifestyle business. Make sure you know this so you can plan your marketing accordingly.

Further reading:

Roadmap to Success: Mission, Vision, Goals, Strategies, Tactics

2. What is the goal of your online marketing?

Understanding what you are trying to accomplish with your online marketing can guide the activities so that you achieve results. Do you want to:

  • Drive quality inbound leads
  • Build your mailing list
  • Develop your expert reputation
  • Cultivate relationships for the future
  • Increase brand awareness

Without knowing the answers to this question, you can’t select the right activities to ensure you achieve your goal. Make sure the person implementing your online marketing knows the answer to this as well.

Further reading:

Marketing Goals: Optimizing Your Path to Success

3. Who are your target customers and why should they do business with you?

Creating visibility for your business is a combination of understanding:

  • Who is your ideal client
  • Where can you find them online
  • What makes you different

Selecting the right online marketing tools is only accomplished when you know the answers to those questions. Creating a Facebook Page for your business does you little good if your target market spends little time on Facebook. Is there some benefit of having a Facebook Page for your business? Yes, but it may not be the first thing you work on given your limited resources and time. You may be better off spending your time on creating a LinkedIn group that discusses the challenges your target market faces, creating visibility for you and a valuable forum for them. But the only way to determine the priorities of your action plan is to truly understand the needs of your ideal client.

Further reading:

Finding Your Niche through an Effective Target Market Strategy

Stand Out and Shine: 8 Ways to Differentiate Your Business

4. How would your customers search to find you?

Understanding how your target market searches online for your products or services helps you develop your top keyword phrase list for all of your marketing efforts. If you don’t know what your top keyword phrase list is, make sure these marketing experts can help you develop your list. Then make sure they use that information to provide search engine optimization across your website and your other web properties.

Further reading:

Unlocking SEO Success: A Guide to Effective Keyword Research

5. What are your resources, both time and money?

There are many things we can do to market our businesses online. However, your action plan must be in line with your resources. You must know how much time you can spend personally verses what you will need to outsource in order to succeed. If your plan says that you need to blog 3 times a week and spend an hour a day on your social media activities, can you devote that time? Or do you have the budget to hire a resource to manage your online marketing? Marketing your business is a balancing act between working on your business and in your business.

Further reading:

Marketing Action Plan: Roadmap to Achieve Your Goals

Crafting a Simple Marketing Plan for a Small Business

Strategy before Tactics

If your small business needs to outsource your marketing activities to help you achieve their online visibility, make sure you choose your resources wisely. Executing tactics before you understand what you want to accomplish and how may cost your small business time, money and results. Many online marketing experts are great at execution for a specific tactical area, but lack the skills and experience to help you develop your online marketing strategy and plan. So before you sign that contract, ensure you have a plan first.

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2 thoughts on “Key Questions for Crafting a Successful Online Marketing Strategy”

  1. Hi Debra, really nice useful post , thank you , just wanted to ask you if we have done all these and we get enough people online in our website but we don’t sell as much as we expect  , so i have two questions for you ..
    first one is , is there any specific formula for different businesses to see how many people have to visit you site so for example you will sell X much products or not ?!!!!!
    and second question is how to understand why people visit the website but not buying any ?!

    Kindest Regards


    • Hello Arta,

      You ask some great questions. The first one, is there a formula to see how many people have to visit before you sell so much product, I’d say no. There is no magic formula so to speak! Your second question is more important – why are people visiting the site and not buying. That could take a huge post but here’s a couple of ideas:

      1. You don’t have a call to action – people are finding your site but don’t know what to do next. You have no landing page and people aren’t sure of what is expected.
      2. You are attracting the wrong market – it’s great people are coming but are they your target audience?
      3. Pricing is not correct for the product you are selling – how do you compare to your competitors? Are you providing more value for the money?
      4. Does your site give people confidence or scare them away? This isn’t a mean question but if I get to a site but it doesn’t look trustworthy, I won’t buy from them.

      There are a lot of reasons why people don’t buy – you need to do a market strategy for your product to be sure you are selling the right product to the right audience at the right price.

      Hope this helps.

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