A plan is a powerful thing.
The clarity of mind and purpose that comes from following a structured marketing and content plan can make the time you spend on your project that much more fruitful.
Lay the foundation for your website success by following this simple but thorough marketing and content plan.
Download the Word Doc and fill out the fields as best you can. Keep in mind that much of this is a work in progress but start by filling out every field at least briefly.
So here is the list of questions and things you need to consider to create a kick ass website marketing and content plan:
USP stands for Unique Sales Proposition. Now you may not be selling tangible or digital products (even though it’s a great idea) but it is still very useful to frame your project in marketing terms. We’re all selling something even if it’s just our ideas. In fact they may be the most powerful thing that human beings share.
The unique self-serving advantage you offer your customer (reader) above and beyond your competitor.
Articulate this benefit in as few words as possible. And it’s ok to future date this because you may not be there right now. Make it compelling and you will find a way to become it.
Your Target Audience
Get clear about who your readers/buyers are so that you can consider their needs and tailor your message in a language that they resonate with.
To uncover this try asking:
- What are their interests?
- Where do they hang out? (both on and offline)
- What are their fears and concerns? (if you’re looking for a mechanic people are often concerned about trustworthiness)
- What do they search for online?
- What websites do they use?
Some great demographic information can be gathered a:
Do a search for your product or specialization and note down the details of their age etc. Now build on this understanding by conducting formal and informal surveys of your audience to find out more about them.
Your websites title is usually determined by the web address or domain but it can be different.
This is a shorter and more condensed version of your USP and that’s why we did that one first! Do not underestimate the power of this line. These days I see it as being the single most important piece of communication on your website.
And so many websites don’t even have one!!
This is a work in progress but sooner or later you will find a way to write this that makes you just feel ‘right’.
A small team of aussie musicians, producers and songwriters creating lovingly crafted music that touches the soul.
You may not have a product to sell right now or you may have started your website for that very reason. Either way if you have something to sell one of the most important considerations is:
What is the best means to offer this product or service?
A little while ago I had a friend call me up and ask me to setup an e-commerce store on her website. After asking a few questions it turns out she would be better off creating an eBay store and embedding that into the existing site.
Now if I was just after her money I would have said “sure lets do it” but instead we came up with a solution that would get her business moving faster. Why? With eBay you get people finding your products straight away. The takeaway here is that being creative and exploring your many options will save you a lot of wasted time and energy down the track.
One of the great things about creating a product is the process YOU go through in creating it. You become more knowledgeable and capable in your area and it helps massively in establishing your authority in your area.
Products or services can include:
- Physical Sales – Postage and packing items overseas or interstate.
- Digital Downloads – can include music or e-books
- Affiliate Networks – you sell someone else’s product or service and claim a commission.
Surely there will be more pages on your website but a few core ones should be considered first as they can help answer questions that visitors will have about you and your business. This is especially important if you are selling something.
Important pages include:
- About page – One of the most visited pages on every site on the web. Makes sense too because without an idea of who you are they don’t know whether to trust you, let alone buy something from you. This page should contain some compelling copy about what you do and some warm or personal language on you and your team. And yes a good photo of everyone involved in the blog or website is essential.
- Resources page – This gives you a chance to offer downloads or links that will be useful to your target audience. Put yourself in their position and ask: What would I need to know if I was just starting out in WordPress? (or knitting for that matter)
- FAQ – This is a place where you can answer your visitors questions and show that you understand their concerns and even fears.
WordPress is a very powerful system when it comes to features. There is literally a plugin for just about everything. Create a list of things you need your site to do or process for your visitor.
These can include:
- Forms – Allows you to capture information and respond
- Events – If you run a venue for example you will need an events plugin that displays a calendar and gives visitors the ability to book.
- E-commerce – Gives you the ability to receive payments through your website.
- Testimonials – Show off what people are saying about you or your product.
Almost every WordPress theme (and most websites in general) have a sidebar that contains mostly static content. A sign-up form. Links to other pages and other stuff like your blog categories. It can be a good place to establish credibility by listing testimonials or client feedback or any awards you may have won.
The key here is to not clutter this area and try to introduce at least one clear call to action. It might just be, “If you enjoy this blog please leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!” Here’s a great article called rethinking your sidebar on DIYThemes.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and perhaps Linkedin are the main social networks at the moment and regardless of your area of specialty there’s little downside to having a presence in all of them. Each one has a different dynamic that needs to be considered but for the moment it may be useful to refer to your target audience information to determine what Facebook pages they might be liking, what type of search terms they will use on Twitter or what kind of images they will be posting in Pinterest. You want to get in those groups, socialize and make contact with the right kinds of people.
Promotion and Marketing
Once you have a product or your site is setup enough to be public, you want to start allocating time and energy towards marketing and promotion.
This can include:
- Directories Submission
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media sharing
- Direct marketing
- Sharing with friends
- Joint ventures
- YouTube publishing
If you’re planning to blog (and you should) you need to work out a schedule that you can stick to. It’s better to post content less and more consistently than to be erratic about it. Fortunately WordPress can future date posts which means we can sit down for a few days and write a whole months worth of articles. You do not need to publish every day unless it is a blog or you have the time!
If you are publishing regularly on topics useful to your audience then you’ll surely need a newsletter. These posts can be added to the weekly, fortnightly or monthly newsletter using a variety of different systems, but the power of a newsletter via email should not be overlooked.
It’s useful before you start publishing to think about the broad categories you will be covering. For example a food blog might put articles under: Suppliers, Recipes, Food Photography, etc. This helps to focus your publishing and also makes your content more diverse.
Once you know some of your blog categories you want to start coming up with some exciting article titles. Make them compelling and if they scare you a little bit that’s a good thing!
The people over at CopyBlogger advocate writing the titles first and the articles later because A: It’s fun, B: Your writing is more focused, and C: The titles are the main way that people scan and therefore choose what to read.
Here are some examples of great article titles:
- Top 10 Ways to lose weight
- 6 Ways to Find the “Big Idea” that Propels Your Product or Service to Startling Success
- Four Steps to Finding Your Ideal Writing Voice
Some articles on headlines (Copyblogger) :
- 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work
- How to write headlines that work
- 7 More Sure-Fire Headline Templates That Work
Follow this plan and keep returning to it to make more distinctions and build clarity. You will find it a stabilizing force in your web presence.
What do you think? Have we missed out anything important?
Let us know in the comments below.