Achieving your operational objectives using Internet Marketing techniques has a number of significant benefits, including being:

It’s Targeted– you can delivered specific messages to your target market, or any segment of your target market-by virtually any demographic dimension.

It’s Measurable– you can track all aspects of your marketing spend and campaigns, whether monthly, weekly, daily, or in real time. There is no more wondering whether your marketing spend is achieving the ROI and benefits you anticipated.

It’s Flexible– you can plan and execute campaigns more quickly, with shorter durations, with far less up-front costs than with traditional marketing

It’s Adaptable– with web analytics tools, you can identify trends as they are occurring and react quickly to modify your campaign, thereby saving significant marketing dollars and taking advantage of a new opportunities.

It’s Cost Effective– typical Internet Marketing campaign costs are 20-25% of those of a traditional marketing campaign.

With these benefits firmly in mind, let’s take a look at the major elements of an integrated Internet Marketing strategy.

An Optimized Website– this is the foundation of your Internet Marketing efforts. I firmly believe that your website should be the center of the universe as it relates to your business. By combining relevant and frequently changing content with targeted messages and offers, you will build a community of prospects and customers that will return frequently. Add an architecture based on maximizing conversions, and you have a solid platform to build your Internet Marketing strategy around.

Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Website– A website alone is not an integrated strategy. It is a place where content resides, where people come to when they are searching for something, and where they will hopefully take the desired action. Your website may be a fantastic testament to your company, but if no one knows it exists, it’s value is limited.

One of the most important aspects of your Internet Marketing effort is to drive targeted traffic to your website. There are a number of different techniques to accomplish this, including paid search marketing or PPC, organic search marketing or SEO, and a variety of Social Media opportunities.

These and other Internet Marketing techniques can be deployed simultaneously, but it is essential to understand how and where your target market looks for your product or service, so that you can create a plan that combines the right balance of these techniques to reach your audience with a targeted message and bring them to your website.

Convert Prospects into Customers– Getting your visitors to take the action you want once they land at your site is the closing step in the online process. This could mean registering as a lead, requesting a proposal, making a phone call, downloading a white paper, making a donation, signing up for your newsletter, or purchasing a product.

An aggressive Internet Marketing program that drives qualified traffic to a poorly designed website so that prospects don’t take the desired action is a waste of marketing dollars. Success is getting your prospects to land on a page specifically designed to drive a conversion and to take the action you want them to

In a later article we’ll talk in depth about the elements of a website designed to promote conversions.

Create Lifetime Customers– the old adage is that it is 8 times more expensive to find a new customer than to keep an existing customer. The expensive “courtship” process is over, and you have “consummated” the relationship. A key benefit of Internet Marketing is the ability to continue to engage your existing customer base periodically with relatively little cost and effort–enabling you to retain them as a customer so you can cross sell, up sell, and even sell them new products and services as they become available.

Email Marketing can help you accomplish this, while also enabling you to stay in touch with and develop prospects who have not yet become customers. Email marketing is a fine vehicle for continuing to stay top-of-mind with your customers, and bring them new content and new offers.

Another effective tool is Re-marketing, using techniques like Display Ads to retarget your message or offer to customers who have previously expressed interest in your business by visiting your website.

Measure, Analyze, Improve– perhaps the most straightforward adage is “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. A strong analytics tool and a commitment to use it religiously is an essential part of your Internet Marketing strategy. You can measure every aspect of your campaigns, at any point in the process, enabling you react far more confidently and quickly to changing conditions than with traditional marketing techniques. This will have a direct impact on the effectiveness of your campaigns while far more effectively utilizing your marketing funds.

A successful Internet Marketing strategy is made up of all of these components-an optimized website, campaigns to drive targeted traffic, the right path, message and offer to make conversions easy, a commitment to nurturing your customer relationships, and the use of analytics tools to measure and manage you progress and results. And by taking an integrated approach to marketing your products and services over the internet, not only will you achieve the benefits above, but you will also increase the likelihood of achieving your operational objectives for 2010.