Strategies for Your Web Site Marketing Plan
By Bobette Kyle
How strong are your Web site strategies? Do they move your
business toward achieving your objectives or overall goals?
Think of your strategies as a framework that clarifies the
approaches you will take in meeting your Web site's
objectives. They are more specific than the objective, but
do not include exact details. After developing the strategic
framework, you will fill in the details with tactics (I will
leave tactics discussions for later, in part four of this
You can increase your strategies' effectiveness by taking
into consideration the business environment you operate in -
both online and offline. Two approaches to analyzing the
business environment are to complete 1) an industry analysis
such as Porter's Five Forces and 2) a situation analysis
such as a SWOT analysis.
Porter's Five Forces
A formal industry analysis, such as Michael Porter's Five
Forces, is more in depth than simply looking for trends and
general industry information and can help you better develop
Michael Porter's Five Forces can provide insight into both
your online and offline competitive environments. In the
Five Forces Model, Porter explains that in any industry
there are five forces that influence what happens within the
- Existing companies
- Potential new companies
- Substitutes for products offered
- The suppliers
- The customers.
These five forces combine to make up the business
environment. By studying the structure of and dynamics
between these forces, you can discover opportunities for
improving upon your strategies. Porter designed his basic
model to be applied to an entire industry. The same
analytical method, however, could also be used to study a
narrower universe, such as online presence within an
industry. When developing your Web site marketing plan, for
example, you can identify the "forces" as:
Competitors: Those sites that offer the same product,
service, or information as your site.
Potential new entrants: Your site-less off-line
competitors as well as new companies entering the industry
via a Web site.
Customers: Visitors and potential visitors to your Web
site and your competitors' sites.
Suppliers: Those companies that supply you with the
products (or parts if you are a manufacturer) and/or
services offered on your site. Other suppliers are the Web
hosting, software, and other vendors that supply Web-
Substitutes: Other means and sources for the same
products, services, or information as your Web site
Using these definitions for the five forces, you can get a
clearer picture of the business environment in which your
Web site competes. Be aware, however, this is not a true
Five Forces analysis. This analysis only borrows Porter's
forces to lend structure. His full analysis goes beyond the
information gathering and cursory analysis explained here.
By fully utilizing Porter's strategic methods you can gain
an even clearer picture of the industry, resulting in
sounder strategies. To fully appreciate Porter's model,
study his two classics, "Competitive Strategy: Techniques
for Analyzing Industries" and "Competitive Advantage:
Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance".
In a SWOT analysis, you identify strengths, weaknesses,
market opportunities for your company, and threats to your
business. You then use the analysis to develop strategies
that will minimize the affect of your weaknesses on your
business while maximizing your strengths. Ideally, you will
match your strengths against market opportunities that
result from your competitors' weaknesses or voids.
When completing a SWOT analysis, you may find it helpful to
create a table identifying observations relative to each
SWOT component for both your company's site and your
competitors' sites. In the table, note Internet-related
activities such as trade organization participation, search
engine inclusion, and outside links to the sites. Then, from
the table you create you can spot your company's strengths
and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats to your
Often, opportunities arise as a result of a changing
business environment. As you study your competitors, be on
the lookout for these opportunities. Some situations that
could represent opportunities for a company include, but are
certainly not limited to:
New technology is created, but the competition has been
unable to deliver acceptable customer service.
A customer segment is becoming more predominant, but their
specific needs are not being fully met by your competitors.
A customer, competitor, or supplier goes out of business
or merges with another company.
Once you develop your strategies, you will be ready to
choose tactics for your Web site marketing plan.
Developing a Web Site Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan is the compass by which
you navigate. As opportunities arise or your business
environment changes, the objective and strategies in your
marketing plan will point you toward the best action.
Without a marketing plan, you risk becoming unfocused in
your marketing and are only guessing what might be best for
Your Web Site's Objective
Think of a Web site objective as the "big picture". In
general terms, the objective answers the question "How can I
use the site to overcome my business's main Internet related
challenge?" or "What is the purpose of my site?".
Choosing Tactics for Your Web Site Marketing Plan
Objectives, strategies, and tactics - these are the parts of
a solid strategic marketing plan. Your site objective
defines the big picture, strategies provide the framework,
and tactics fill in the details. Tactics are where the
action takes place - these are the things you will do to
bring your plans to life.
Copyright 2002 Bobette Kyle. All rights reserved.
This article is based on Bobette's book "How Much For Just the Spider? Strategic Web
Site Marketing for Small-Budget Businesses", http://www.booklocker.com/books/711.html
Bobette Kyle has over 10 years experience in Corporate
Marketing; Brand and Product Marketing; Field Marketing and
Sales; and Management. Through her newsletter, site, and
marketing services she helps businesses integrate
traditional and Internet marketing strategies, http://www.WebSiteMarketingPlan.com
[ICBS Knowledgebase Home]