10 Steps to build a successful online marketing strategy for your small business


10 Steps to Build a Successful Online Marketing Strategy For Your Start-up Company

Design a catchy brand identity

Develop an online marketing plan

Write an overview of your business

Understand your core strengths and weaknesses

Create buyer personas

Develop strategies and tactics

Understand Your Buyer Journey Map

Develop a killer digital content plan

Select your marketing channels

Invest in user experience

Embrace native social media sales

Optimize your mobile marketing strategy

Use the right technology for each audience category

Track your KPIs

Evaluate and take next action

Building an effective online marketing strategy plays a role of great significance in your overall marketing strategy because, today, when you’re talking to someone, you’re talking to a thousand!

Things are no longer as simple as building a website, designing a logo, and stuffing your site with keywords. Search engines have gotten smarter and are now focused on quality content that provides value. 

To even begin talking about a chance to gain site traffic, there are a few steps you should consider.

  1. Design a catchy brand identity 

Ask any business out there, online or brick-and-mortar, about the biggest obstacle they have and they’ll tell you – “We need to cut through the noise.” or something else like “We want our voice to be heard.”  A huge part of this obstacle is not having a catchy, consistent brand identity. Before you launch your business to the world, you’ve got to give it a voice. 

There are many brand identity obstacles to consider, because there are a lot of variables that influence your business projects. A brand identity is not a one-time fix or an automated process. It takes intentional vigilance and deliberate action. 

Creating design guidelines for the whole creative and marketing staff ensures they stay on brand. Design guidelines usually include logo iterations, color palette, typography, and iconography. If you have any visual aids like gifs, images, illustrations, they, too, go into the file. 

That said, brand identity goes further than a few catchy illustrations, it projects the voice and tone of your copy. You should especially be careful with this one. The essence of copy is words; and words can be interpreted in many ways. So, it’s important to provide plenty of examples when you select a given tone. 

  1. Develop an online marketing plan

The fundamental approach to a sound online marketing plan revolves around knowing where you are, where you want to go, and how you can get there. Here are a few key points that you need to keep in mind when crafting your online marketing plan:

  1. Write an overview of your business

Draw a table and fill it with: 

  • The name of your business, 
  • Your mission statement,
  • Your organizational objectives 
  • Value proposition, and
  • An elevator pitch that every member of your business should memorize

Once your overview is done, it’s time for a situation analysis where you answer a few question about your business:

  • As far as your business is concerned, where is the market heading? 
  • Is there a chance for innovation or the invention of new products?
  • What’s your target market? (demographics, psychographics, market size and scope, and buyer needs)
  • Who’s your competition? How do they position themselves in the marketplace? 
  • What’s the core problem of your ideal client?
  1. Understand your core strengths and weaknesses

Understanding your core strengths and weaknesses, your opportunities and threats is a crucial step in your marketing plan. The best way to do that is to perform a SWOT analysis. This is your chance to dive deeper into resources and do a thorough, honest analysis of what your business is all about. 

Once your SWOT analysis is ready, you’ll have a solid understanding of where you stand, so it should be easier for you now to know your destination. In exhausting detail, define what your main goal is – using the SMART approach. SMART stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

  1. Create buyer personas

Now that you know where you are and your destination, it’s time to determine how to get there. Creating Buyer Personas is an essential part of this process. To do that, answer the following questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are their goals?
  • What technology do they use? (e.g. social media platforms and other sites)
  • What are your business goals for this specific audience?
  • What values do you share with them?
  • How will you measure the goals? 
  1. Develop strategies and tactics

Once you have your buyer personas, develop strategies and tactics for each of those goals. Ask yourself:

  • Who’s your target audience?
  • Which channels do they use regularly?
  • How will you promote your product to them? 
    • paid media? 
    • Earned media?
    • Owned media? 
  1. Understand Your Buyer Journey Map

So far, we’ve covered a lot of ground, and we’re comfortable to do some projections. As a businessperson you need to be alert and intentional about each step of the way. And because you’re dealing with human beings, you need to know where they are so you can lead them each step of the way. This is known as “The Buyer Journey.” There are many forms and maps for the buyer journey, but they all agree about 3 major steps:

  1. Awareness: Buyer knows there is a problem/need and they have questions. 
  2. Consideration: Buyer is actively researching possible solutions to this problem. 
  3. Decision: Buyer is evaluating potential businesses that might solve this problem.

Knowing this will be a huge advantage to your business plan, because this way you know the need of your target audience. This means you can now create content and market to them in a more meaningful way. 

  1. Develop a killer digital content plan

In order for your site to rank well, search engines have thousands of algorithms that decide whether or not you should rank high. The more people click on your site and stay there to engage with your content, the higher your value becomes in the eyes of search engines. If you create regular content that is valuable and answers a need, you get an opportunity to attract more traffic to your site. It’s that simple. 

Developing a digital content plan for your blog will ensure that you stick to the plan when things get tough. You will be able to dictate the flow of events instead of having to react to things that seem to be out of your control. Your content plan should answer the following questions:

  • Who are your copywriters?
  • What articles are they going to write?
  • When are they going to create the content? 
  • Who is your editing and proofreading staff?
  • When should the content be published?
  • Which platforms should be shared on?
  • Which marketing channels will your marketers use?
  • Who is going to manage the content? (comments, questions, inquiries, etc.)
  1. Select your marketing channels 

A marketing channel can mean any platform or method you use for marketing your content. And at this day and age, customers are everywhere. So, it only makes sense that your business should go where they are – which is why multichannel marketing is of paramount importance. 

Techtarget defines multichannel marketing as the “practice by which companies interact with customers via multiple channels, both direct and indirect, in order to sell them goods and services.” Recent stats indicate that 95% of marketers say they know how important multichannel marketing is for targeting but only 73% say they have a multichannel strategy in place. 

Marketing channels include but are not limited to: 

  • Your blog or site 
  • Social media platforms
  • Webinars
  • Apps
  • Streaming
  • Mobile ads
  • Press releases
  • Print media
  • Email marketing 
  • Physical Mail
  • Brochures
  • Conference Booths
  • Magazines
  • TV commercials
  •  etc.

It’s important to analyze each marketing channel and select the ones that best serve your marketing strategy. Remember it’s about quality not quantity. 

  1. Invest in user experience

User experience is a thorough analysis and grasp of customers’ needs in order to create products that provide a satisfying experience to them. Because product reviews have become an essential part of buying decisions, providing the best user experience has never been more pressing. 

Today, clients want products that are valuable and they want them now. So, when creating an online marketing strategy, you should keep the end user in mind at all times. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of design will most appeal to your end users?
  • What would create an amazing first impression?
  • Can you make the site browsing experience any simpler? 
  • What would your end user consider as relevant? 
  • How efficient/pleasant is your user interface?

When developing your online marketing strategy, the term customer should always be coupled with loyalty. User experience is your winning ticket to wed the two. 

  1. Embrace native social media sales

Social media marketing is one of the core principles of every online marketing strategy. It has been for years now. One small technicality that hampered the easiness and flow of social media is that it added an extra step to make that purchase. If there’s a concept that all marketers agree on is: Added clicks = Buying less! 

Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. It all started in 2015 with Pinterest and the “Buyable Pins.” Pinterest was the first social media platform to ever offer the option to buy from the app/site itself. Then, Twitter followed suit along with Facebook with their “buy button.”

Granted, these social media will get a cut of your sales, but I would hardly consider it an issue – especially with the convenience and massive revenue streams they would open for you. 

  1. Optimize your mobile marketing strategy

According to Statista, the number of “mobile users worldwide today surpasses 3.5 billion and is forecast to further grow by several hundred millions in the next few years.” In the second quarter of 2020, browsing on mobile phones generated 51.53% of global website traffic. 

What this means for you is to identify the core element of your marketing efforts and adjust them to suit your smartphone users. 9 in every 10 smartphone users have used it at some point in a purchasing process. People tend to buy from their phones because it’s intuitive, simple, and accessible. They don’t have to wait until they go home and do it. Everything is one push away. 

  1. Use the right technology for each audience category

Online platforms have revolutionized the way we market to potential customers. Things don’t depend on guesswork anymore; quite the contrary with such tools as google analytics or bing webmaster tools, we can almost measure everything, track where it is, and where it came from. 

Knowing what tools and platforms to use for which audience will help you channel your budget to where it makes most sense. People have preferences when it comes to the online platforms they use. Here are some stats to help you get a general idea of how it works:


  • 51% of 13–17 year olds use Facebook
  • 76% of 18–24 year olds use Facebook
  • 84% of 25–30 year olds use Facebook
  • 79% of 30–49 year olds use Facebook
  • 68% of 50–64 year olds use Facebook
  • 46% of 65+ year olds use Facebook


  • 75% of 18–24 year olds use Instagram
  • 57% of 25–30 year olds use Instagram
  • 47% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram
  • 23% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram
  • 8% of 65+ year olds use Instagram


  • 44% of 18–24 year olds use Twitter
  • 31% of 25–30 year olds use Twitter
  • 26% of 30–49 year olds use Twitter
  • 17% of 50–64 year olds use Twitter
  • 7% of 65+ year olds use Twitter


  • 17% of 18–24 year olds use LinkedIn
  • 44% of 25–30 year olds use LinkedIn
  • 37% of 30–49 year olds use LinkedIn
  • 24% of 50–64 year olds use LinkedIn
  • 11% of 65+ year olds use LinkedIn


  • 38% of 18–24 year olds use Pinterest
  • 28% of 25–30 year olds use Pinterest
  • 35% of 30–49 year olds use Pinterest
  • 27% of 50–64 year olds use Pinterest
  • 15% of 65+ year olds use Pinterest

Knowing these numbers and understanding what they mean will not only help you channel your resources towards the right audience category, but also engage with them when you need to.

  1. Track your KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for online marketing are measurable values that describe the performance of a given campaign. These KPIs, along with your marketing campaigns are orchestrated by your marketing teams to measure every digital marketing channel and how they’re performing. 

Creating the right KPIs is an essential part of every online marketing strategy, because you want to track the completion of your specific goals which will in turn ensure a positive Return On Investment. 

  1. Evaluate and take next action

It’s been a long run and we’re finally at the last stage of your successful online marketing strategy – evaluation and planning for your next action. Nothing is written in stone, and you’ll reach a point where you realize that what you’ve planned isn’t generating the revenues you hoped to gain. In this case, it’s high time you pinpointed where the problem is and then fix it.

It’s also common sense to establish milestones. You don’t want to wait until the end of each quarter and then evaluate from scratch. Milestones will give you a chance to assess whether or not you’re on the right track.

Developing an online marketing strategy is a crucial part of every business, because it provides an outline that maps your point of departure, your destination, and the means of transportation to take you there safely and on time. 

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Hey there!

I’m Imad, the content creator and online marketing strategist behind The Guemmah Freelance Hub. My mission is to help more freelancers grow themselves, their business, and their profits.

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