When setting out to develop an Internet Marketing strategy, you need to connect the dots between a wide range of business,  marketing, technology and project elements.

A web strategy today involves a lot more than your web site. In the late 1990s it was very much about defining your branded online presence via the web site and related web services and online applications. Today, with the important roll of  Search and Social Media, your brand presence must now consider delivering impact and engagement across the broader social web and involves a far more sophisticated strategy for inbound marketing and lead capture.  With that in mind, if you are about to embark on a comprehensive Internet Marketing Strategy, you might want to get answers to a range of questions. So, here is a list, but let’s add to the list- what have you found as critical success factors and key issues that should be addressed in developing your internet strategy.

1) Market, Audience and Sales Model – You need to define the underlying business model for marketing and sales so that you can tie your Internet Marketing Strategy to business goals:

  • What is your revenue generation strategy?
  • How will you capture market share?
  • Who is your customer and what are their needs, intents and values?
  • What are the major market segments we wish to target?
  • What defines these segments and what are their major characteristics?
  • What is the typical customer life cycle for each segment?
  • What are the various dialogue needs across the life cycle chain and what implications does that have for the business operations model?
  • What are the demographic, psychographic, and channel preference factors of the targeted audience segments?
  • What capabilities will be needed to meet this targeted audience’s needs?
  • Who is the competition and what are their strengths, weaknesses?
  • What is the overall differentiating business strategy to capture market share?
  • What is the closed-loop marketing model and funnel process?
  • What opportunities are being created by the emergence of new media and technologies?

2) Functionality and Services – Now that you understand your core business model and your audience, what are the capabilities that your audience will be seeking to engage your brand online – both at your site(s) and across the social and mobile web?

  • What segment needs and intents will be addressed?
  • What is the unique functionality required? (transaction, database, content, syndication, lead capture, community, collaboration, forms, Configurator, eCommerce transactions, search, customer service, eNewsletters, events, eMail database, browser requirements? Privacy and Security? Accessibility?
  • In addition to basic site requirements, will the project seek to include interactive web platforms (such as logins, BLOGS, Forums, and Q&A chat rooms) in aims to enhance outreach tools?
  • Have you considered strategies regarding mobile devices/ web / social media?
  • Do you currently have any site utilization monitoring tools in place?
  • What role will your supplier play in determining the audience analysis?
  • Design concepts development and selection

3) Branding and Design – maybe you already have a brand identity – including logo marks and look and feel -but  you may also need to develop a “brand architecture” that ties together all your related product and services into a unifying identity – both on and offline.

  • Do you have an overall brand strategy? Offline and Online?
  • Have you a set of creative concepts under consideration?
  • Have these creative concepts been mapped to specific audience needs and/or business strategy drivers?
  • Which existing sites best approximate the desired look and feel? functionality?, info architecture?
  • Do you need a logi, brand architecture or single mark?
  • What are the various branding concepts that will suit our identified target segment?
  • Is the brand achieving Completeness, Transparency, Flow and Dialogue with the user?
  • How will we roll out the branding?
  • How will it be represented and communicated to the market?

4) Content and Information Architecture – How do you arrange your content into a clear information architecture that your audience can understand and access?

  • What content will the business will deliver (media types?)?
  • Do you have readily available content?
  • What effort is needed to design and develop the content? Initial? On-going?
  • Are there content partners and providers/ syndication that we have to consider?
  • Is there an archive of photos or other art that might be used for the site?
  • If appropriate, would the company commission original illustration or photography?
  • What is a representative site map?
  • Is their a wire frame model outlining envisioned experience?
  • How do the navigation scheme and content schema function?
  • are we considering tagging models? taxonomy? semantic models?
  • How should the content be organized for usability?  What IA works best given known constraints?

5) Marketing and Promotion – After you build out your sites, Internet presence, content and services, how are you going to attract the audience?

  • What are our traffic growth estimates and how do we intend to achieve them?
  • What is our awareness strategy, advertising strategy?
  • What are the SEO/ SEM marketing requirements?
  • Are their viral or velocity marketing opportunities?
  • How are you engaging the social web and online influencers?
  • Do you have a print and media marketing plan?

6) Technical Architecture Design – Once you have defined an overall business and functional blueprint, it will be a lot easier to select the right technology foundation to handle your needs.

  • Do we need to address an existing systems/ technology assessment, existing technology?
  • Are there preferred technology standards?
  • What content management and web services platform is required?
  • What are the hosting and managed services requirements?
  • What kind of user volumes will you expect at the site?
  • Do you need listening platforms to gauge sentiment on the broader web?
  • How effective is your audience intelligence platforms and data management skills?
  • Do you need specialized technology for mobile deployment, database marketing?

7) Operating Model – This is a key step to your strategy – defining a core business and process model that will ensure your digital assets and systems are well managed and that your content and services are up to date.

  • What are the operational procedures that will need to be in place to deliver the Internet Marketing Strategy?
  • What are the staffing skills and capability needs? Content? Service?
  • Do you understand what the potential impact on your existing organization will be?
  • Is there a team currently in place for site management? Do they require continuing training and support?

8) Implementation Plan – With all the core business, marketing and technical elements framed out, you can now better layer in an overall project time line driven by critical business commitments.

  • Is there a compelling event or critical implementation date? What is the required time line/ milestones?
  • Is there a project charter?
  • Is there a Business Case in place? Benefits?  Investments?
  • Is there budget to match ambition?
  • Have stakeholders & team members been identified?
  • What are the key assumptions, constraints and risks?
Feel free to add to the list and contribute to the discussion..
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