Online Marketing Strategy - 3 Goals, 8 Tactics and 1 Solid Plan

"Online marketing strategy" is a popular phrase that often is used to describe ways of generating large amounts of traffic to a Web site.

In the business world, the words strategy and tactics are often used together and sometimes mixed together so tightly that the meaning of one is almost the same as the other.

Let's take a shot at what online marketing strategy really means and how it can be used to grow a Web-based business.

A strategy is a plan. A plan has goals, objectives and tactics. Tactics are methods for achieving the goals and objectives.

A goal is broad, general and often subjective. An objective is fact-based and measurable.


Many media businesses have three goals in common, and Web sites are no different:


An online marketing strategy serves at least the third item on the above list, and for some sites it serves all three.

After all, many sites seek an audience in order to generate revenue from advertising, purchases or other transactions.

The audience goal may be subdivided into objectives such as:

    Unique visitors
    Page views
    Time on site

The strategy and therefore the plan requires figuring out the goals and objectives, how much effort to put into each one, how to prioritize them, etc.

This thinking then makes it easier to determine what happens next.


Every online marketing tactic takes different amounts of time, energy and even money to implement.

Each one delivers different results based on the skills of the person pursuing them, the effectiveness of the tactic and the site being targeted.

Plenty of evidence supports the following eight tactics in order of priority.

1) Search engine optimization
Some sites received 90 percent or more of their total traffic from search engines, with Google still the dominant source.

SEO is the most valuable tactic and should receive the most time and attention.

At the same time, one of the most important measurements in an online marketing plan is tracking the growth of search engine traffic over time.

2) Link building
Site analytic software often includes "Referring Sites" as a source of traffic. A referring site usually has a link on it that someone has clicked.

Link building is either natural or manual. It is natural when the other site puts up the link on their own. It is manual when the receiving site has asked for the link, made a comment on another site, etc.

Linking building is related to SEO because the links on the external sites serve as "votes" for the landing page on the other site.

Think of the link being one vote, someone clicking on the link being a second vote and highly relevant anchor text being the third vote.

3) Brand / direct traffic
The highest quality traffic is direct. It means that people who have visited a site have come back again because they remember its name or have put it in their favorites.

They might also return because of a search engine visit that displayed the site's name, which triggered a positive response.

Return visitors don't cost anything in time or money. The higher the direct traffic, the better the brand and the more valuable the audience.

4) Social media
Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media receive a great deal of attention in online marketing, but do they really deliver?

The answer is sometimes, depending on the site and the brand.

Facebook fan page likes, comments and shares help build a product's brand, but the response in the form of purchases or visits to the related Web site is spotty depending on the business or industry.

Twitter is less oriented toward brand and more toward response -- in the form of mobile.

5) Advertising
Use banner, video and Facebook ads for branding and contextual search engine ads for response, i.e., clicks to the Web site.

Which type of advertising to use depends again on the site and the business.

6) Blogging
Blog on a site to draw attention. Blog on another site and link back to build links and enhance SEO.

Blog at least three times a week with a minimum word count of 400 for each blog post to get the frequency and depth needed to generate meaningful traffic and SEO.

Knowing how much time and effort a blog requires will determine the place of blogging in the online marketing strategy.

7) Content marketing
Anyone reading this article is directly experiencing the tactic known as content marketing.

It is not only posting articles on sites such as but also contributing columns, blog posts and other material to as many high profile sites as possible.

8) Email marketing
Yes, email has fallen as an important tactic because of spammers and the rise of text messaging, but it is far from dead.

Numerous sites have email newsletters with hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of subscribers.

People still read email. But will they read email from the site that is central to the online marketing strategy?


Only when the goals, objectives and tactics are thoroughly considered is a strategy ready to come together in the form of a plan.

The online marketing strategy determines which goals and objectives are most important, which numbers matter, whether the resources are available to pursue them all and how much time is needed to get things done.

The strategy also examines each tactic carefully to see whether they all fit, some of them fit or -- in the case of smaller sites with few people -- it makes sense for the time being to focus on just one tactic.

Yes, building a strategy and a plan can take a great deal of time and effort.

But that's what a strategy is -- not a simple list of tactics, but a thorough and methodical way of achieving the most important business results.