Wednesday, July 01, 2015

What is the purpose of your online strategy and why should it be documented?

What is an online strategy?

During my research for the book I am writing on FUFISM I have spoken to many folks, in a variety of different environments from random folks in shopping malls, to focused online communities where SEO and online marketing are discussed in the most serious ways you can think of.  The question posed here  "What is the purpose of your online strategy"  always gets a strange answer.

Most ask do you not mean your online marketing strategy, and my stock answer is NO I am not talking about online marketing, I am talking about your online strategy and why you have an online presence in the first place.  Online marketing is only a small portion of your online presence, what about all the associated stuff like customer service,  public relations, event management, research and other business related issues?

So what is the purpose of your online strategy?

Sure sales and marketing are part of the mix of reasons for having an online presence, but they are not the only reasons that you need to have an online presence.  As you document the purpose, aims and objectives for your online presence, many more issues will come to mind, and these can then be added to your documented planning for your online presence.  An unplanned online presence is a very dangerous affair for many different reasons, and  these will surface as you progress through the methodology of setting up your online presence, documenting the procedure and actions as you go along.

From a #FUFISM based  marketing perspective,   planing and documenting your plans is one of the core elements that need to be addressed,  and done right, because your entire online marketing effort will hinge around and be influenced by these documents and associated activities.

Having an online strategy is the first step in your online marketing efforts, as this documented general online strategy will  inform your online marketing strategy, and discuss how your online marketing efforts will dovetail and mix with your off line marketing strategy. Understanding how your off line marketing and online marketing mix and influence each other is also a very important part of your planing strategy.

Before you formulate your online marketing strategy you need a clear understanding of all the components of an online marketing campaign, and a very deep understanding of SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.  Remember that SEO is the primary issue that needs to be integrated into all your marketing efforts both online and off line. Other components are more subject matter intensive, and require deeper planing around the issue at stake.  An online marketing campaign should, at least in my mind have the following components as bear minimum

1)  a website
2) a blog
3) a social media platform
4) a documented  off line marketing component
5) a documented management strategy
6) a documented collaborative strategy to ensure cross media and cross platform integration.
7) an SEO strategy that links this campaign to your other online work.

These seven basic components need to be well integrated, and shared across company divisions and marketing departments, both online and offline.

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation has three distinct layers that need to be clearly understood, with a proper focus on how they need to be integrated  into your marketing strategy, both within the off line as well as the online environment.  I have discussed these issues before  in the 4u brand blog, and you can read these posts later by following the links at the end of the article.

From a FUFISM based\ marketing perspective the three SEO layers are

1) IPSEO or In Page Search Engine Optimisation
2) OPSEO or Off Page but still online Search Engine Optimisation.
3)OLSEO or Off Page and also off line search engine optimisation

These three layers of search engine optimisation all have the same target market audience, and the target market research done should be shared by all three layers.  Each of these three layers also needs to be documented and shared across platforms, across media and across departments. The two main purposes here, are to ensure that research is not duplicated in silos, and that any silos within your marketing structure are removed and reduced to common shared documentation.

The online environment has changed radically over the last few years, and the introduction of the Google Hummingbird algorithm, along with its cousins in other search engines, has changed the online search environment in more ways than most people could possibly imagine.

 Search went form strings and links to now include this list and many other seemingly unrelated  issues.....

  • strings, 
  • links,
  • things, 
  • context of content,
  • people, 
  • places, 
  • activities and 
  • many other  hidden issues as associated \with semantic footprints and related human social media  issues.

The old set of SEOVI or Search Engine Optimisation Value Indicators that search engines used before Google introduced the HUMMINGBIRD algorithm did not vanish or become redundant,  but are still very much part of the primary search picture. What did how ever happen is that a brand new set of search variables or  SEOVI were introduced which run along side the old variables, and are factored into new and updated search algorithms which  enhance and contextualize the old variables so that your online content may be better matched to search queries

SEO or Search Engine Optimization now includes  a vast array of new SEOVI (search engine Optimisation Value Indicators) and understanding the Google Hummingbird algorithm will help you better recognize these new SEOVI so that you can deal with them in the most appropriate\manner, as they are very varied, and pop up in un-thought of locations, such as the new Google Collections, which has  many folks debating a host of related\ marketing issues that have come to light through the use of Google collections.  see link at end of document.

From a FUFISM based\marketing perspective you have three elements  that make up search, which need to be addressed\in your SEO. these are

1) your online content and all other world wide online content
2) the search engines
3) the world population which includes your target market audience

It is the function of a search engine to match search queries to online content in ways that satisfy the end user who typed in or other wise placed a search query for the search engine to reply with a SERP or Search engine results page.

It is your duty as a publisher, author or marketer to ensure that a search engine is supplied with the necessary tools and knowledge to  enable the search engine to construct a bridge between your desired target market audience and your online content,  with well laid out approaches and road\ maps that make it easy for your target market audience to access your online content across these bridges, (read SERP's) in high traffic volume loads.

So when drafting your document discussing the purpose of your online presence you need to be clear on your online marketing needs and aspirations, so that this may be introduced to the rest of your staff in ways that they can understand the match between your purpose of being online and how much of this is for marketing.  You must also be clear to mention the other purposes of your online strategies, along with how these will interact with,  and influence your online marketing strategies.

Take your time and do a good job here.  Remember that this document is a living document that needs to be revised and updated\ on a regular basis, with a minimum of One month between updates or revisions.  If there have not been enough changes to your marketing structures or your target market research, then just say so in your monthly update, but be sure to do this at least once every month.  The middle of the month is in my opinion the best time to do this, as it is usually a bit quieter and there is no demand for reports on success / failure of your various marketing efforts at this time.

Once you understand what you want to achieve within the online environment, and have documented this clearly in ways that all staff members can read and understand, you will be ready to start drafting your online marketing policies, along with who is responsible to ensure that your SEO is integrated into all your marketing plans, both online and offline.

Remember that your online strategy  is a live growing document, and keep it updated and relevant.  

You documented online strategy needs to be very clear and have a minimum of the following issues discussed in detail, the more you add here the better your online marketing results will be.

  • The purpose of your online strategy
  • the aims of your online strategy
  • the objectives of your online strategy
  • a guide line to your online policies for 

    • your web site
    • your blog
    • social media
    • internal office use  
    • research issues
    • online marketing
    • Integrating SEO with 
      • your web site
      • your blog
      • your social media  marketing
      • your print media marketing
      • your radio marketing
      • event planing and related marketing
      • other  marketing strategies such as hashtag marketing

Discovery of your online presence is a very complex and complicated  matter that has many twist,  turns and strange deviations.  There are basically three avenues that your online content can be discovered by your intended target market audience. these are listed here.......

2) BY MEANS OF YOUR ADVERTISING, either online or off line.

The first, discovery by accident,  is not a good option, the second, discovery through your advertising / marketing efforts,  is a bit better, but can be very costly, the third, using a search engine,  is the best option. Unfortunately this option  requires lots of understanding and co-operation from many different folks in a  wide range of separate disciplines. 

For these folks to have an understanding of how they need to cooperate and  work together as a team they need to understand your online strategy, and where their efforts fit into the picture, as well as how their work will impact on others efforts so that they can maximize these different areas, which each will impact on their own associated SEOVI as well as other independent but related SEOVI (Search engine Optimisation Value Indicators.)

This documented purpose of your online presence will inform many different activities, actions as well as  interactions and then ensure that every marketing project, whether online or offline,  knows how their efforts are impacting on your online presence, what needs to be done to improve both the project in question and your online exposure in general with a focus on the specific project.

From a FUFISM based  marketing perspective the purpose of your online strategy is to improve your visibility both within the online environment and the off line environment and ensure that your intended target market audience  discovers your online presence, then follows through and completes your desired CTA's or Calls To Action within your online content, be it 
  • in the social media,
  •  within the pages of your blog,
  • within your  web pages,
  •  in an online forum or 
  •  in any other online resource, or off line area where you may be active with your supplemental  marketing efforts

LINKS  to related  blog posts discussing SEO related  issues.


key words versus query: what is the difference?

Link to a google collection where #FUFISM, SEO and semantic search are the core focal element

 Semantic value of a Google plus collection
Googlwe collections as an SEO tool

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