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To succeed in the future, businesses and other organisations will need marketers, strategists and agencies with up-to-date knowledge of the latest online marketing techniques. In this article, we will introduce how to create an online marketing strategy by selecting the best tools to grow your online presence. We’ll cover the most important digital media which you will likely be familiar with, such as search, social media and e-mail marketing, but also some lower-cost techniques you may not know of, but are particularly important to startups and small businesses.

What is online marketing?

Online marketing involves using different types of online paid, owned and earned media aimed to reach your marketing goals, i.e. to help promote your products or services. The classic model of online marketing is that you grow awareness of your business and its products by gaining visibility by gaining placements on different types of online presence. These placements then give the option to drive visitors to your website where you can explain more about your brand with the aim of converting these visitors to purchase. This visual shows six types of online media used to drive people to your website.

We used this visual in early editions of our book, Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice to summarize the main online marketing techniques. We now have a new version of this visual with additional techniques, which we include in the section on online marketing tools.

Online media may also be aimed at driving traffic to other forms of online presence, such as a social media page or Google My Business which is really important to for businesses with a local presence such as a stores and services. People often search for a physical business by adding ‘near me’, or the name of a town. It’s really important to gain visibility in the maps and listings in Google My Business in these cases; this is called local search marketing..

How is online marketing different from digital marketing?

Online marketing is very similar to digital marketing in meaning, in fact the difference is mainly historical. As this chart from Google Trends shows, the labels Internet marketing and online marketing used to be more popular than digital marketing, but digital marketing has grown in popularity in recent years. So most people in English-speaking countries refer to digital marketing, whereas in other countries, such as in European countries, online marketing is more widely used.

Although online marketing and digital marketing are synonymous to most people, some might say that digital marketing is broader than online marketing, which tends to focus on the digital media we have described. Digital marketing is considered to focus also on the management of online marketing through technology and the analysis of it through data, so customer relationship management systems would be considered digital marketing rather than online marketing by some.

The aims of online marketing

The goal of online marketing is simple, it’s aimed at supporting you in your marketing goals to raise awareness of your products amongst the audience you have selected to target as part of your marketing strategy.

To decide on the best approach to online marketing, it is helpful to think about how it can help you support your goals through the customer lifecycle and through marketing campaigns.

At Smart Insights we created the RACE marketing planning framework which maps the online customer journey across all potential touchpoints. Within this framework of Reach, Act, Convert and Engage across all channels, you can implement digital practices effectively within your organization by planning, managing and optimizing your digital media, digital experiences and digital data. This is shown in the visual below where different online media techniques are used at different stages.

We developed this customer lifecycle view to show the importance of ‘always-on marketing’, which is where investments in online marketing are aimed at maintaining continuous visibility online as people search for you and engage with you through social media and your website. This contrasts with traditional thinking about marketing campaigns to raise awareness of new products or promotions. These are still important, but it’s equally important not to neglect always on activity and to have a sufficient budget for it.

TOFU, MOFU, MOFU refers to Top, middle and bottom-of-funnel content where content is used to support nurturing through the customer lifecycle. CRO is conversion rate optimization, which is using AB Testing of different creative and copy on a site to increase conversion.

Online marketing strategy

Online marketing strategy, like other forms of marketing strategy, is about deciding which are the best investments you can make, which will help you achieve your goals, so it supports your marketing strategy of who you are targeting and the products you will provide with different features and price-points. So simply put, it’s about setting priorities to make the best use of your online marketing budget, internal and agency resources and setting priorities. Since online marketing focuses on how you use digital media, online marketing strategy is about selecting the best media from the budget you have available. It’s also about selecting the best always on activities that you can work on to gain visibility and increase conversion on your website. Our RACE framework can be used to structure your online marketing strategy for each part of the marketing funnel. For each part of RACE, it is important to review the current situation, set the right objectives and then select the right tools to achieve these.

RACE framework

For our members to develop full online marketing strategies, RACE is divided into 25 essential activities that can be reviewed as priorities for both always-on and campaigns which are planned in across a year through our 90-day planning approach.

Typically, online marketing strategy can be developed as part of your annual marketing planning to drill down into which online marketing activities are important and you will work on optimizing. However, many larger businesses have found that they need to make big changes to their marketing operations to perform better in digital marketing. This may include new structures, resources skills, development and marketing technology. In these cases it’s useful to have a longer term view of up to 3 years which is referred sometimes as a digital transformation programme.

To summarize, an effective online marketing strategy should:

Be aligned with business and marketing strategy (for example, many companies use a rolling three-year plan and vision), with more specific annual business priorities and initiatives.

Be consistent with the types of customers who use and can be effectively reached through the channel.

Define a compelling, differential value proposition for the channel which must be effectively communicated to customers.

Specify the mix of online and offline communication tools used to attract visitors to the company website or interact with the brand through other digital media such as e-mail or mobile.

Support the customer journey through the buying process as they select and purchase products using the digital channel in combination with other channels.

Manage the online customer lifecycle through the stages of attracting visitors to the website, converting them to customers and retention and growth.

Online marketing techniques

We recommend reviewing your use of online marketing techniques or online marketing channels across paid, owned and earned media:

Owned media. This is media owned by the brand. Online this includes a company’s own websites, blogs, e-mail list, mobile apps or their social presence on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. It’s useful to think of a company’s own presence as media in the sense that they are an alternative investment to other media and they offer opportunities to promote products using similar ad or editorial formats to other media. It emphasises the need for all organisations to become multi-channel publishers.

This visual shows key types of digital marketing techniques across 6 media channels

You can read more about each of these techniques in our article explaining What is Digital Marketing. Compared to the previous visual of online marketing tools, we recommend co-branding and co-marketing as low-cost techniques to consider.

Online marketing tools

Another part of online marketing strategy is to consider the marketing technology or Martech that will be used to support online marketing activities. This is sometimes known as a Martech stack. The visual in our online marketing tools post recommends different tools.

For each part of RACE shown on the wheel, we recommend eight different tools. Those at the edge of the wheel tends to be the low-cost or free tools, whereas those in the centre are more suitable for larger businesses.


We have seen that online marketing offers many opportunities across different digital media to grow a business. The complexity of options available through the customer life-cycle means that it is useful to have an online marketing plan to define what your priorities are for your budgets. For many businesses, the priorities are going to include search marketing, email, marketing and social media marketing plus optimisation of customer journeys on your website

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Social Media Marketing Online Training Course

Social Media Marketing Learning Path Use a strategic, data-driven approach to improve the effectiveness of your social media marketing activities How will this Learning Path help me and my business?

This structured e-learning activity will help you or your team use a more structured approach to managing and optimizing social media as a strategic communications technique. Examples and benchmarks are discussed from the main social networks including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

What is a Learning Path?

Smart Insight’s Learning Paths are our unique interactive online training courses which explain concepts, give examples and test understanding.

We appreciate finding time for skills development is a challenge, and so Learning Paths enables training to be bite-sized, engaging and results orientated since they integrate with our templates to plan, manage and optimize your marketing.

Unlike many online e-learning courses, each module is self-contained, so you can rapidly/quickly access guidance to improve the effectiveness of the marketing activities you are working on right now. Common modules are shared between Learning Paths to avoid duplication of learning material. You can also complete the full Learning Path to earn a CPDSO certification.

As you work through each topic, we recommend and explain the most relevant member resources, so you can download templates to plan, manage and optimize improvements to your website.

Accredited learning activities with the Continuing Professional Development Standards Office (CPDSO)

Each Smart Insights Learning Path has been independently assessed and accredited by the CPD Standards Office, so you can be confident that the quality of the learning and assessment experience has been audited and recognized for its quality.

Development Objective

Members who successfully complete this Learning Path have the ability to manage and optimize the strategic implementation of social media platforms for marketing communications.

Once you have completed a Learning Path, send an email to [email protected] to request your CPD certificate.

Learning Objectives

Identify the benefits of a more planned approach to social media marketing then design and implement a social media plan.

Review the effectiveness of your social media marketing against benchmarks and other organizations then identify improvements to how your social media marketing is managed.

Structure a social media strategy to improve customer lifecycle communications that translates into practical actions and improves your goals.

Review the requirements and features of tools for social listening and put in place a reputation management process to respond to complaints or customer service requests.

Identify how to improve your approach to optimizing the effectiveness of your social platforms, both organic and paid, by reviewing your company page to enhance its effectiveness and defining methods to increase follower engagement through optimizing content for each social channel.

Understand different types of insights you can present in a monthly social media report including the business contribution of social media using reports available in Google Analytics including comparing the follower growth and engagement for your company pages on different social networks

How is the Learning Path structured?

The Learning Path is separated into these topics and modules:

Topic 1 – Discover social media opportunities

A planned approach to social media marketing

Audit social media marketing activities

Learn the latest social media developments

Set social media goals

Topic 2 – Planning and governance of social media

Create a social media strategy

Social listening

Customer service and success

Influencer marketing

Topic 3 – Practical social media marketing

Optimize your organic TikTok marketing

Optimize your organic Instagram marketing

Optimize your organic Facebook marketing

Optimize your organic LinkedIn marketing

Using social media to support a marketing campaign

Using social media to amplify linkbait

Optimizing paid social media activity

Reporting on social media effectiveness

Roles who will find this Learning Path useful

Company owners and directors working for smaller businesses

Digital marketing managers, marketing executives or specialists responsible for social media marketing

Consultants or agency account managers

How Salesforce Does Online Marketing (Via #Df12)

During Dreamforce 2012, I had the pleasure to attend a session on “How Salesforce does Online Marketing.” If I had to sum it up I would say, thorough, data-intensive, constantly improving, ROI driven, and frankly just “crushing it” as Lauren would say.

The sessions was held by 3 of the top online marketers in Salesforce, Lauren Vaccarello, Greg Poirier and Laura MacTaggart; whom also happened to be 3 of the shortest and were all wearing Smurf-blue. They started the session with this fact, so I thought I’d start the post with it. 🙂

Lauren Vaccarello, Senior Director of Online Marketing

Salesforce doesn’t look for any quick wins or ways to cheat the system. They take a very data driven white-hat approach to everything, simply trying to provide the best and most effective Web experience possible. They do this through informed decision-making and team empowerment.

Salesforce knows that empowering your team is vital because you never know where a good idea is going to come from. They also know that silos are dead; it’s time to mix all your marketing teams together and make them work with each other for better results.

How salesforce measures success?

Registrations: Salesforce really cares about driving people to awesome events like Dreamforce. The online marketing team is responsible for 42 percent of total registrations or about 37,800 people at Dreamforce 2012.

Just to give you an idea of how much effort goes into Enterprise Level Marketing, Dreamforce has a nine-month planning cycle. Email is very important to Dreamforce, driving roughly 10 percent of marketing, through personalized information based on who you are, where you are, what you do, etc.

What does it take to run enterprise level online marketing?

Nerves of steel: To be able to go into a room of superiors, look them in the eye and say NO. Show them that the data says it wrong and here’s what they should do instead…

Executive support: The online marketing team cannot be on an island. They need support from upper management.

Discipline: Some of the tests can last months and you may want to make a quick decision. You need the discipline to take a step back and wait for the data to be available.

Turning On a Dime

setup live streaming of the keynote over Facebook.

target sponsored tweets on OpenWorld hashtags so the media, customers, prospects, and employees of Oracle saw announcements about the guerilla keynote.

Salesforce wanted everyone to know, you can cancel our keynote, but you can’t cancel Marc. The result was that Salesforce controlled almost half of the conversation around Oracle OpenWorld. What you want to bet it cost them less than the $1 million keynote fee and was more effective?

Greg Poirier, Internet Marketing Manager

Small incremental improvements are big big wins for Salesforce, if you can get a 2 percent improvement month after month (compounded increase). That’s about 26.8 percent increase over a year or 100 percent increase in 3 years.

Salesforce focuses on areas where they can create multipliers. For example, if they were to increase traffic to a landing page by 10 percent by improving the ad creative, then optimize the funnel completion rate by 10 percent, they are looking at an overall increase of 21 percent. This kind of gain probably could not be obtained through any single activity.

In addition, Google is listening to social media signals about your content. If it can see that a lot of people are sharing and talking positively about your content, it is going to offer up that content to others.

Salesforce measures everything down in the CRM to as granular a point as you can get. Eventually, they get a ‘cost per form submission’ based on each type of marketing. If they see the cost start to drop, they know they are doing something right and will reallocate some funding from more expensive performers to push the more effective ones.

The Online Marketing team has reduced cost of a qualified opportunity on Radian6 by half in the last three months. Nothing magical about the process. This is the conclusion of a lot of planning, testing, and optimizing. As Lauren mentioned above, you need executive support to obtain these kind of wins, you need to be able to go to them and say “I’m going to deliver some insane wins over the next 12 months, but you have to give us six months before you are going to see the results.”

Everything takes time to get it right. End of the day its the ROI that matters.

Laura MacTaggart, Sr. Manager Web Analysis & Testing

Laura knows that not all ideas are created equal. MacTaggart’s team analyzes all ideas and rates them on a basic T-shirt size scale (S-XL) in terms of conversion impact and project size. The top ideas are then taken to the next level and planned out for testing, so long as they don’t clash with another idea

Salesforce optimizes Chatter internally to share with marketing teams around the world, the top tests, optimizations, and analyses. This is often useful, because sometimes when you are in the data, you lose site of the bigger picture and it helps to get an alternative perspective.

I know you’re saying Big Surprise, however the results were not the same when they tried shortened forms.

Clearly, shortened forms did not work for Salesforce this time but they aren’t ready to give up. After all Lauren’s motto is “Always Be Testing.”

Interested in seeing an ongoing test? I got 2 to discuss.

The Salesforce team gave us a little preview of an upcoming test. You should keep an eye out for banner changes on their homepage. They will be testing if people like:


pictures of people?

quotes from big brands?

quotes about particular products?

quotes about Salesforce in general?

I accidentally stumbled upon this one. (I’m not worry about messing up the data because I’m confident Salesforce is able to separate the traffic coming from this post):

This is the form that Salesforce originally shortened from eight fields to four.

I can see one potential factor why Salesforce may have had a decrease in form completions, simply moving the “watch it in action” button higher on the right rail moves it out of the typical user scan pattern. Considering a user will start at the paragraph of text, they are more likely to ignore the big red button entirely when you raise it those four lines. Of course, this is purely speculative and testing would have to be done to be sure, however I would love to see those results.

Here is one of the other variables Salesforce is testing.

Personally, I preferred the colored bullet points in the first one, however the user doesn’t have to scroll as much in this one. In addition, if you changed it to four fields, it would not have the possible issue I discussed about the other one.

Salesforce, will you share the data with us when you’re done?

5 Essential Steps Of Online Survey Analytics In 2023

The use of online surveying is increasing, and research shows that the online survey market is expected to reach almost $14 billion by 2026. Having the right respondents is crucial for online surveys. However, data without a proper analysis may not tell a lot, is hard to interpret, and can lead you in the wrong direction. That’s why analyzing your data is as important as getting it.

Even though the quality of your data analysis depends mainly on your dataset and question types, there are some essential steps in conducting a proper analysis to get the best from your survey data. Here we focus specifically on online surveys and provide guidelines for getting best insights from your data through online survey analytics.

What are the types of data to be analyzed?

There are different data types, each with unique analysis methods. For instance, if you ask people where they are from, you cannot just rank them because no country has priority over others. Thus, you need to find a different way of interpreting these data types. 

In general, there are two different types of data: qualitative and quantitative.


You can collect qualitative data to understand “why” or “how” a phenomenon occurs. For instance, when you want to understand why some customers do not prefer talking to chatbots, you can understand it by asking questions that require descriptions or explanations. Qualitative data is also called descriptive data and is usually represented by nouns, names, written content, and audio or video recordings. 


Quantitative data refers to numbers, something that can be quantified and measured. Through quantitative data, you can understand “how much,” “how often,” “how likely,” or “when” a phenomenon occurs. Thus, it is an essential data type to understand the patterns of customers, the market, or the public in general. 

What are the essential steps in conducting survey analysis? 1. Understand types of data you collected and the levels of measurement

As mentioned above, each data type requires a different analysis method. Thus, first, you need to identify your questions based on their levels of measurement. 

Figure 1. The levels of measurement 2. Start with the less complicated data type

Qualitative data contains language and is harder to categorize correctly, so you may not get useful insights unless you conduct deep analysis. Thus, starting with quantitative data is better, as it is already structured and faster to analyze.

3. Determine a framework for qualitative data

As you deal with a bunch of words, you need a solid framework to analyze your data. The framework usually creates a coding scheme so that you can label your data and better understand the results.

4. (Optional but highly recommended): Implement AI techniques to analyze qualitative data 

As manually labeling and analyzing the data requires great human effort, you can also implement AI-powered solutions. Natural Language Processing (NLP), for instance, is a method that enables machines to categorize texts or speeches and conduct an analysis much faster than humans. 

You can learn more about data labeling with NLP by reading our comprehensive article.

5. Visualize your data

Although numbers are powerful in showing the relationship between different constructs, it may be hard to understand them at first glance. Thus, visualizing your data analysis can help you comprehend your findings better. 

Figure 2. Data visualization techniques suitable for different measurement levels

To learn more, read our guide on data visualization.

If interested, here is our data-driven list of survey participant recruitment services.

Reach us if you have any questions about conducting research surveys:

Begüm Yılmaz

Begüm is an Industry Analyst at AIMultiple. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Bogazici University and specializes in sentiment analysis, survey research, and content writing services.





Race Practical Digital Strategy Online Training Course

RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path Learn how to create and implement an integrated omnichannel marketing plan How will this Learning Path help me and my business?

This structured e-learning activity will help you or your team to implement digital marketing practices effectively within your organization by planning, managing and optimizing your digital media, digital experiences and digital data.

What is a Learning Path?

Smart Insight’s Learning Paths are our unique interactive online training courses which explain concepts, give examples and test understanding.

Unlike many online e-learning courses, each module is self-contained, so you can quickly access guidance to help improve your marketing activities.

Our Learning Paths are integrated with downloadable templates to help you audit your performance, set forecasts and create action plans. Each Learning Path includes different types of example templates in Excel, Powerpoint and Word from our resource library to help you create your action plans as you work through the Learning Path.

Common modules are shared between Learning Paths to avoid duplication of learning material. You can also complete the full Learning Path to earn a CPDSO certification.

We appreciate finding time for skills development is a challenge. Our Learning Paths enable training to be bite-sized, engaging and – crucially – results orientated. When combined with our suite of templates, you’ll soon be taking your marketing activities to the next level.

Accredited learning activities with the Continuing Professional Development Standards Office (CPDSO)

Each Smart Insights Learning Path has been independently assessed and accredited by the CPD Standards Office, so you can be confident that the quality of the learning and assessment experience has been audited and recognized for its quality.

Development Objective

Members who successfully complete this Learning Path have the ability to implement an integrated digital strategy and implementation plan as part of a wider strategic initiative.

Once you have completed a Learning Path, send an email to [email protected] to request your CPD certificate.

Learning Objectives

Recognising the success factors of an effective digital marketing strategy.

Structure a plan using SOSTAC® and the RACE Framework.

Define audience personas and assess the customer journey.

Review your current digital marketing capabilities and benchmark competitors using RACE and implement the plan through search, social media and email marketing to achieve your goals

Define investments in digital customer experience with an online value proposition that improves customer onboarding, growth, service and success.

Create a RACE Framework dashboard for digital reporting incorporating Google Analytics goals.

How is the Learning Path structured?

The Learning Path is separated into these topics and modules:

Topic 1 – Practical Strategy – Plan

Digital strategy success factors

Structure a plan using SOSTAC®

Structure a plan using the RACE Framework

Create a digital SWOT using RACE

Define audience personas

Assess audience customer journeys

Competitor benchmarking with RACE

Set digital marketing goals and objectives

Defining Google Analytics goals

Topic 2 – Practical Strategy – Reach

Review media performance

Select search marketing investments

Influencer marketing

Paid media investment

Define acquisition budget and plan

Create a digital marketing reporting dashboard

How to use campaign tracking in Google Analytics

Topic 3 – Practical Strategy – Act

Improve website customer journeys

Define data capture and profiling

Define content marketing strategy

Define landing pages

Define campaign budget

Define data capture and profiling

Define campaign timeline

Topic 4 – Practical Strategy – Convert

Set up email nurture and retargeting

Set up ad retargeting

Web personalization

Multichannel selling

Conversion optimization

Topic 5 – Practical Strategy – Engage

Customer onboarding and growth

Improve digital customer experience

Customer service and success

Use email to support marketing campaigns

Use social media to support marketing campaigns

Post-campaign review

Roles who will find this Learning Path useful

Company owners and directors working for smaller businesses

Managers responsible for increasing the contribution of digital channels in their organization, including Digital Director and digital marketing managers

Digital marketing managers or marketing executives or specialists responsible for email marketing

Consultants or agency account managers

Creating An Online Retention Plan

Retention techniques to support your online marketing strategy

For any digital marketing strategy or integrated digital communications plan, having a set of objectives and clear strategy behind your plan is essential for the success of what you are looking to achieve.

This blog post focuses on creating an actionable plan around retention, which by definition is maintaining or preserving your existing customer base loyal to your product offering.

Retention should be at the heart of your digital strategy in maintaining and building communication with your existing customer base.

Know your audience?

Before embarking on your retention strategy, understanding your audience is a key requirement to ensure the chosen retention tactics are in line with your existing customer base – so begin to build up a profile of the type of customer/s that interact with your brand.

Retention is about engaging with your existing customer base, so you should already have a wealth of analytical insights on who your customers are, how they interact with your organisation and their purchase patterns.

Key insights to consider when analysing customer data include for a retention plan:

Search marketing metrics – brand/non-brand search terms, referral sites, bounce rates (based product sections/items)

Sales – Average Order Value, Repeat purchase rates, Geographical split (UK, rest of world), Most popular products sold, seasonal sales trends

Channels of interaction with your brand – e.g. Affiliate, Social Media, Search (SEM), Email – and impact in driving existing sales revenues i.e.which channel is most profitable for the business.


To bring this existing data ”to life’, think about creating various personas of who your existing customer is.

Types of Personas should be built based on the data you’ve collated such building an age profile, the channel they interact with, level of frequency in visiting your digital platform (website, mobile, app) and frequency of purchase.

The Persona also helps the rest of your organisation who the customers are and helps you to get buy-in from across the organisation – for example, here are a few Persona examples for an online sports retailer:

Persona Examples 

Persona A: Steve is a 28-year-old professional who is single and with a high disposable income. He has a keen interest in Football and supports a premiership football team. He likes to display his allegiance to his club by wearing the latest replica shirt as it is launched each new season. Steve is comfortable in ordering online and engaging with social media to keep up to date with the latest football news and football product launches through online forums and partakes in football games e.g. Fantasy Football.

Persona B: Clare and Rob are both 34-year-old professionals who are married with two children. Both children partake in Football lessons at school and are both avid Manchester United and Liverpool supporters, each having favourite footballers in Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard. They both like to show off to their friends with the latest club replica shirts and ask each year for the new football shirt from their parents.

What are the Objectives for your retention strategy?

By bringing together the background and situation of the organisation (Understanding your audience), this content should now provide you with a set of Objectives as to why there is a requirement for a retention plan.

To ensure success and buy-in within your business, create your set of retention objectives around the SMART principle.

SMART principle ..

Achieve 25% of existing customers to service their online account within 12 months. This would be defined such as: visiting the site, logging into their online account, making a repeat purchase as a few examples.

Drive 30% of existing customers to make a repeat purchase within 6 months through the website.

 Retention Tactics

Now begin to define how these objectives will be realised – by identifying which digital marketing tactics you plan to use as a retention technique in meeting the objective of the plan. The chosen tactics should be justified from the findings you uncovered in evaluating your existing customer and how they interact with your brand in section 1.

As an example, here are a list of digital techniques tailored for retention with defined retention measurements linked back to the Objectives laid out earlier in this post:

1. SEO

Create and optimise content for your existing customer base in order for them to service their existing account through a content plan

On page optimisation – key on page factors influence on rankings within SERPS so it’s essential the content created has been optimised for visibility within search engines through best practise on page techiniques. Think about the URL of the page, who the content page is for, heading and image tags as well as internal URLs. How would this page be found through the existing site architecture?

Product descriptions – Each product on site should include relevant imagery and product information that is unique on site. Ensure the content is tailored to the defined audience from the creation of personas as mentioned in section 1

Link building – Pro-actively target websites your existing user-base also use. From analysing your site referrers and most effective affiliate websites, this should provide you with a pool of prospects to launch a link building campaign to drive referrals to your site. Also consider your competitor sites – ensure you’re providing a level of differentiation and ask the questions how is my product offering unique and why would a website link to this content over a competitor?.

2. Email

Creation of email templates – create and test out multiple email templates to your existing customer base and begin to monitor the effectiveness of your emails – look to segment your customer base and see which segment drives the best performance based on your retention measures e.g. repeat purchase.

Ensure the right email technology is in place – if you’re using a 3rd party email software provider, does it provide you with the opportunity to create multiple email templates? the right metric reporting?

Ensure email lists are data cleansed before commencing a campaign – have you removed and are up to date with existing customers who wish to be unsubscribed? Have you tested out your email success rate in hitting your customer inbox?

Personalisation: Segmentation of your email audience by product or defined persona group.

3. Social media

Analyse your current database of Social Media followers/fans

Create an Editorial content plan in place to drive timely content through SM channels – this should be based around the editorial plan mentioned under SEO in defining your content plan

Ensure you’ve provided In house training for staff to use SM channels in communicating with customers. SM provides a timely and cost effective channel in providing a real-time customer service channel.

4. Affiliate Marketing

Evaluate current program on commission levels offered compared to competitor programs – are any of your competitor programs incentivising affiliates to drive existing customer purchase and if not, could this be an opportunity for your own channel?

Analyse trends and performance of your existing affiliate program e.g. what % of sales driven through affiliates are from repeat customers?

Segment affiliate sites by performance to date

From your personas, commence a recruitment drive in driving more affiliate websites to sign up to the program that relate to your personas.

Monitor performance

With the chosen retention techniques in place, it’s crucial to measure and monitor the effectiveness of each channel throughout the campaign, so consider setting specific KPI’s for each channel.

By setting KPI’s, this means each measure can be quantified and used as objectives and provide on-going measurement.

The control phase of the report also provides insight into whether the overall objective of the campaign is being met within the set timeframe, e.g. 12 months.

KPI’s per retention channel

Here are a list of suggested retention measurements that could be considered.

1. SEO

Number of Outbound links generated

Traffic referral volume

SERP position for keywords

Pages viewed per visit

% of brand and non-brand search terms generated

Number of in-bound links generated.

2. Email

Number of email(s) sent out

Segment email lists by existing customers

Open rate of email campaign(s)sent

Repeat purchase rate through channel.

3. Social Media

Number of followers & fans

Measure engagement through re-tweets, likes etc.

% of referral traffic through to website

Volume of content pushed through SM (based on the content plan).

 4. Affiliate Marketing

Number of active affiliates

Recruitment of new affiliate accounts

% of total traffic to website

Repeat purchase rate generated through affiliate channel

Segmentation of affiliates by level of repeat purchase to main site.

Econsultancy (2012), reported that ‘attracting a new customer can cost up to five times as much as keeping an existing one’. The retention of the customer lifecycle is the most profitable one where the greatest level of relationship value is experienced so take time and ensure you have a defined strategy in place that listens and builds communication with your existing customer base.

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