The following is a post by Paul Hannam of Bright Green Leadership (a 3p sponsor) – offering internet marketing strategies for responsible businesses. This tips and observations in this series are aimed at green entrepreneurs looking to understand how internet technology can benefit them more.
As a marketing professional, one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is coming up with a big creative idea for a marketing strategy based largely on gut feeling and passion. I used to assume that determination, optimism and hard work were enough, but forgot that they should complement rather than replace rigorous research, objective evaluation and careful planning.
Nowadays, I go through a step by step process to evaluate my idea, decide if it is worth doing, and refine it to increase its chances of success. In last week’s blog post I introduced a five-part system for internet marketing. The first stage of this system is to develop a marketing strategy based on rigorous research so I would recommend that you go through the following process and checklist that I employ. In this example, I will use the example of a new marketing campaign for a solar energy product for residential customers in California.
1. Define your Target Market
Firstly, you need to define your specific target market. What are the demographics and psychographics of your ideal customer? What problems are they looking to solve? What regions are you targeting, where your prospects are most likely to be living?
2. Identify the keywords for your Target Market?
What are the keywords that your prospects are searching for in your market? You can look at your competitors and see what keywords they are using. Simply use one of the free keyword tools on my resource page. I recommend selecting around 5 keywords to build your strategy on. One of them should be a broad keyword like “solar home” and the rest “long tail” keywords like “solar power San Diego”
3 . Decide if there is a Market for your Product?
You are in a good market if there is a reasonably high volume of monthly searches on Google for your keywords, but not too high so it will be too competitive. For most businesses a volume between 1,000 and 2,000 is ideal. So “solar power San Diego” which has 1,600 is better than “solar home” that has 450,000. Use Google’s free tool to perform this analysis. Then do a search for the keyword and see if there are any Google Ads , which shows your competitors are successfully selling similar products and that people are buying the product online.
4. Test the Market
Ultimately, the best research is to actually test the market before making a major investment. You can create a limited advertising campaign and measure and evaluate the response. I recommend that you create four landing pages on your website. These are pages designed to acquire email addresses and then put a different message on each one. You can test multiple ads aimed at different keywords and different target markets to see if the campaign attracts interest, and which combination of message, keyword and market works best. You can also set up online focus groups that could give you a lot of good data tool.
If you go through this four-step process you will significantly increase your chances of success, as you will have developed a marketing strategy based on the facts as well as your instincts.
Paul Hannam is president of Bright Green Leadership that provides internet marketing services to green organizations. Paul is also Chairman and co-founder of Bright Green Talent and taught environmental business at Oxford University. You can watch Paul’s video on Internet Marketing for Responsible Businesses or contact him at Paul@brightgreenleadership.com