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Strategic market planning means finding and implementing profitable marketing strategies. But what exactly is a strategic internet marketing strategy?

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Copyright 2006 Stephen Pierce

Strategic market planning means finding and implementing profitable marketing strategies. But what exactly is a strategic internet marketing strategy?

Strategic Internet marketing is about designing a selling process included in your Internet presence that can track and measure your marketing campaign results. The results are more leads and more quality leads and being able to design measuring tools to hone your marketing plan.

A marketing strategy specifies a target market and a related marketing plan. The marketing strategy is the big picture of what a company will be doing in a market. There are two components to a marketing strategy; the target market, which is mostly a homogenous group of customers to whom you wish to appeal; and, the marketing mix, which are the variables (advertising methods, email etc.) under your control designed to satisfy the target market.

The Internet is only one medium that can be used in strategic Internet marketing. The real world can be a great source of business and part of your strategic Internet marketing too. A typical marketing mix should also include product offered at a price discount, along with promotion to tell customers about the product. Before you venture into the Internet marketplace with a product or service, you should ask yourself these basic questions as part of your strategic Internet marketing plan:

Should you be online? You should have an online presence if you know that fifty percent of your target market is Internet capable. Or, if your only presence is online, theoretically you should be able to reach 50% (maximum) of your target market. Remember not everyone is online. Products that require personal inspection or testing are much harder to sell online.

What approach is most appropriate for your strategic Internet marketing? Should you open an online storefront or be part of an online mall? Maybe you should limit the use of the Internet to just advertising and not online purchasing. Maybe you only need an online catalog your consumers can browse through. Those marketing packaged goods may only need to invest in web advertising, unless the product must be demonstrated to be understood by potential customers.

Is your business purely an online one? For example, doesn’t have retail stores, only fulfillment warehouses. Barnes and Noble have stores as well as an online Internet presence.

Does your strategic Internet marketing need to include the entire globe? If your target market is global, then you will want to use the Internet to reach overseas customers. Translation issues, foreign regulations, copyright and tax laws and foreign currency exchanges must be addressed and answered. What is the level of competition online? Some markets are going to be more competitive than others. Determine if your budget is going to allow you to run with the competition, or leave you at the bottom of the list.

Is your strategic Internet marketing effort synchronized? Ensure your Internet marketing plan is in sync with the rest of your traditional marketing plan (if you have one).

What resources are you going to dedicate to your strategic Internet marketing? Don’t make the mistake that many have by offering a feature on their website and then not fully supporting it. And don’t’ make the mistake of thinking it doesn’t take any money to have an online business, because it does!

The answers to these questions will provide you with an understanding of whether or not online marketing is a viable option. Proper research will also help identify the risk factors in your strategic Internet marketing.

The marketing job does not end with planning. A good strategic Internet marketing plan by itself does not guarantee success. The plan must be carried out and implemented effectively.