I am convinced that the really hard part, the critical part, the expensive part of a success niche social network is marketing. You need a two pronged marketing plan for your social networking website. Lay it out in your social network business plan.
Entrepreneurs come to me having spent thousands of dollars with developers and numerous hours designing their network. When I ask about marketing, they wave their hands and say “viral marketing,” or “I’ll worry about that after I finish the development.” Wrong answer.
Two Marketing Targets
Those starting a business often underestimate the importance of marketing. And they don’t realize that for a social networking business, you actually have TWO marketing targets.
Prospective Network Members
You need lots of prospects to visit your site, and a significant number of those in your demographic or interest area to become your loyal members.
Advertisers, Sponsors, Affiliates
Unless you have operating cash, you need a totally separate plan to generate revenues. This may be from Adsense, affiliate programs, product sales and the like. UNTIL the big advertisers start beating down your doors, and you meet the traffic requirement of the advertising networks. Or until you can start selling a significant number of premium upgrades.
I contend that your marketing plan needs to have two separate action plans to promote the site first to prospects/members and second to advertisers and other revenue sources. Different activities, different targets, different costs, and maybe even different people assigned to execute.
In case you’re looking for general formats, here’s a link to a marketing plan outline from the national website of SCORE. And the organization’s Marketing Cookbook. And don’t forget to include a marketing action plan and detailed marketing budget.
What do you think about the need for two-pronged marketing plan for your social networking website? Please share your thoughts in a post.
See all 18 Posts in This Series
How to Create a Social Networking Website Series has 18 posts on various aspects of this topic.
Social Network Business Plans: What Makes Them Different?