Online marketing and world class football
have a lot in common, really. No, I don’t mean that it’s mostly done by men or
that we all drink too much beer. I mean that a well-planned marketing campaign
has a lot in common with a tactically-minded football team.

I’ll admit this may be a tenuous way to illustrate how a good marketing campaign works but, thanks to World Cup fever, football metaphors are everywhere, so here is mine.

(For the record, my favourite irrelevant football quote to
date has been “One in four armchair sports fans have stained carpet and
upholstery from over exuberant television viewing.” Thanks for the ambiguity,
Santander.)

Goalkeeper

You can have the best team in the world but if your goal is
unprotected then your whole strategy is at risk and you lose matches.

Same goes for your internet marketing; if your website
design lets the side down then you leave yourself wide open and you will lose customers.

Your website’s design is not as important
as the rest of your strategy, it is more important. It is
where you convert visitors into customers, where you encourage repeat business,
where you upsell.

If you’re spending money on SEO without first looking at the
effectiveness of your website then your Wayne Rooney has no support from your David
James.

Defence

After you’ve looked at your website’s ability to retain
customers, you want to consider your second line of defence – organic SEO.

If something went wrong for your business’ flow of cash and
you couldn’t afford to pay for marketing for a while, your organic optimisation
is how you keep it ticking over – it’s a long-term defence strategy.

While your pay-per-click search marketing strategy would
cease the moment the money stopped, organic SEO keeps on giving. It will take
time for you to fall down in the search rankings.

That makes organic SEO a sensible way to secure your
company’s long-term success. It’s a vital line of defence.

Midfield

There’s a lot of work to be done in midfield – you may have to
push forward to support the attack, or drop back to help the defence. You have
to be multi-talented and work harder than anyone else in the team.

So I’ve picked blogging as my midfielder. It’s flexible and
hardworking, and it supports a variety of different online marketing work, from
link building to online reputation management.

If you’re blogging for your business, you’ll work hard but
the results will be worth it. You’ll support SEO, PR, your wider social media
marketing campaign and more.

Strikers

At the very front, you have your strikers. These can be your
most expensive players but they are worth the money because they score goal
after goal after goal.

Your online marketing strikers are your paid search ads.
They can cost a small fortune but they are worth the money because they bring
in business.

Of course, they need to be intelligently placed adverts
based on sound analysis, just like a world class striker needs to be given the
right instructions and supported by wider tactics.

Substitutes

Finally, your substitutes. There are two main reasons for a
manager to bring subs onto the field. Perhaps they want a change in tactic,
maybe the match isn’t going as well as they’d like, or maybe something has gone
dramatically wrong (perhaps a clumsy tackle has floored your man-of-glass
captain, for example).

The online equivalent is PR. A PR exec can be used to manage
a drama and work to restore a reputation, or they can be used to proactively
boost interest in your brand and change the tactic of your marketing.

So, you accidentally infuriate a blogger and their post goes
viral on Twitter – bring on your PR person or team to regain control of the
situation. Perhaps they can deal with the issue but at the very least, they can
communicate with the blogosphere and twittersphere.

Perhaps you’re falling slightly short of your monthly
targets. A decent PR effort can invigorate a tired strategy and boost interest
in your brand. You could pay for some interesting research under your company
name, you could aim to increase press coverage, you could proactively market
yourselves through social platforms.

Having someone with a good understanding of PR on board
really strengthens your team’s overall performance, even if it doesn’t deliver
every single day.

Manager

Of course, however talented your players or however good
your individual search execs, they will never get anywhere without the support
of a forward-thinking manager.

Whether it’s football or marketing, you need someone at the
top who is clear about your long-term goals and what steps you need to take in
order to achieve them.

Make sure your online marketing team is supported by clear
vision and decent, targeted investment. If you don’t have the necessary skills
then hire them.