What is Online Marketing? Why is it Essential to Your Business?
Finding customers and establishing a brand image is one of the most important things in running a business today. You don’t see Nike having so many excited customers and selling so many shoes simply because they are making great products. Their success is mostly due to their branding and the amount of effort they continuously invest into online marketing and commercials.
Truth be told, a business is pretty much doomed to fail on the market if it doesn’t leverage online marketing solutions. I’m not talking about your favorite convenience store on the corner. I’m talking more about companies that continuously require more exposure, not just the attention of locals. That is why I’m going to outline the most important benefits of online marketing.
Just keep on reading and you’ll know how and why your online marketing solutions will take your business to the next level.
The Definition of Online Marketing
Prior to expanding what you know about various marketing tools and strategies, you first have to understand what online marketing is.
Other words like online advertising and internet marketing all refer to the same thing. It is any tool or strategy to get your company and its products in front of the public eye. An online advertisement can take numerous forms. Some of them are based on subtle messages instead of clear and transparent advertisements.
However, the way online marketing can promote your business is pretty straightforward. It increases your company’s reputation by increasing its ability to be found by potential buyers online. People are constantly looking for information and their favorite past-time occupation is browsing the internet.
If you take advantage of certain marketing tools and strategies, you can get your company’s name in front of the public eye and encourage them to see what you have to offer.
Here are some other benefits of marketing online:
Most of Your Customers are Online Right Now
The internet is a lively place and it has 3 billion people using it 24/7, which is the most obvious reason why you should market there. Marketers were always trying to reach customers where they live, where they shop, where they work and anywhere else they get information from. Now, that the internet became so popular, marketers can reach their potential customers wherever they may be.
A recent study has shown that about 80% of Americans use the internet to research products they wish to purchase. About 58% percent among them purchased at least one item the previous year.
It’s a Cost-Effective Solution
TV commercials cost way too much money and so do billboards. Marketing is a costly business, but digital marketing costs a lot less. Don’t get me wrong, it does have its own price tag, but considering its effectiveness, it’s a great investment. This is because it makes it easier to target people who are actually likely to purchase from you.
Let’s say you’re selling sports equipment in Copenhagen. You can place one of your ads in the newspaper and paying a fix monthly price and hope for the best. Thousands of people will flip through the newspaper that day or week, but very few of them will actually be interested in your product. Moreover, they might just skip the ads section all together.
But what if you placed ads that are targeting a specific group of users online? In fact, what if you were targeting exactly those readers who are searching for “sports equipment in Copenhagen”? Now, we’re grounded in a completely different conversation. You can use SEO or PPC methods to get your content in front of them and have them purchase from you.
More Interactive than Other Marketing Tools
Companies invest millions of dollars into marketing their business on social media, because of one important fact; it’s interactive. Furthermore, having a website where you publish information is also an effective way to communicate.
For example, it’s especially exciting if you have a limited time offer which has certain limitations in one way or another. What if your potential buyer is confused? What if he/she wants to get more details? Well, they can just look up your website or your social media page. They can ask questions, read about specific details or contact you directly. They might even make purchases online.
Having the possibility of two-way communication can definitely strengthen your relationship with possible customers. They won’t just see a business that is trying to sell them their products; they’ll see a reliable source of information instead.
The Internet is Always Accessible
Your business might be open only 12-16 hours a day, but the internet is accessible 24/7. Marketing teams won’t work for you day in and day out, but online marketing solutions will. You can’t reach all of your customers at once, because they have varying schedules. You’ll need something that’s constantly running and working for you, so that customers can reach it when they need to.
That is what websites and social media pages are for. They can always take your customer’s message and they don’t have to wait for business hours until they can know more about your business or make a purchase.
Easier to Keep Track Of It
Internet marketing solves one of the most difficult problems of marketing, tracking results. Online marketing makes it possible to track your users’ activity and see how they interact with your website and its contents. You can do the same on social media platforms, allowing you to see whether your strategy is effective or not.
To make things even better, you can check users’ purchasing history, preferences and interests as well, so you can make targeted offers that better-reflect their interests. The information you get from tracking website visits will also provide the data you need for cross-selling campaigns.
You Can Cope Up With Your Competition
Whatever business you’re entering, you’re bound to have plenty of competition. People have access to a massive range of goods with only a few clicks. It’s very important for a business to be able to handle their competition, whether it’s small local businesses or larger online retail stores. But this is only possible when a business uses the internet marketing platform properly. You can get in front of potential customers sooner than your competitors do.
It’s Great for Research and Development
The more you use online marketing, the more information you’ll collect from your customers. Furthermore, you’ll have to research keywords that make sense for your business, which will allow you to reach a good place in the search engine rankings. If you use keywords properly, they will drive traffic to your website.
Most Popular Online Marketing Methods
The range of online marketing tools and strategies is constantly expanding, allowing us to create more complex strategies and execute them more conveniently. However, there are a number of all-stars that never go out of fashion.
A business website is your most crucial tool for reaching your target audience. The reason behind this is simple; customers are always looking to find information about a specific product or service. You can provide it to them on your website.
Your website can create a presence that will allow customers to find out more about your company, along with your products and services. Building a website is very simple, inexpensive, but absolutely crucial to running a business today.
You can also create a website for free, but if you’re serious about your online presence, you should invest a few dollars into it. This doesn’t mean that you have to hire a developer. You can create a website on your own with simple templates or drag and drop builders.
However, if you have the budget, you’ll definitely be better off with creating a custom website. You can add more precise functionalities and have the site’s design tailored to your taste.
SEM – Search Engine Marketing
Search engines are easily the most used online tools. Everyone who has Internet access uses Google, which is why it’s a great place to promote your company. You can use it to get exposure with keywords related to your business. There are two main methods of Search Engine Marketing: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC).
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Google seeks to help its users get their hands on relevant information. They do this by having their bots ‘crawl’ through websites to index them. Once they do, they’ll look at what kind of keywords each page is targeting and will rank each page depending on how well optimized they are.
Doing SEO on your website is completely free and will consistently gain you users who are searching for what you offer. It’s a long term strategy that requires consistent work and content production. Whether you do it yourself or outsource it to another company or freelancer is completely up to you.
A lot of factors contribute to this strategy’s success, since search engines often change their ranking algorithms.
PPC – Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click advertising is great for achieving rapid results. You can pay search engines to show your website on top of their list, which will get you more than 50% of the traffic that comes from your target keyword. You’ll have immediate exposure but only as long as you pay search engines for it.
Email marketing is something that no business should forget to use. It’s a tool that allows businesses to reach out to their current costumers. They can send them newsletters, informational emails or coupons.
You can also gain new customers with it if you manage to get them to provide their emails to you. Users often provide their email addresses in exchange of free content or any other form of value.
A lot of blogs, YouTube channels and websites of all kinds provide ad spaces. Depending on your target audience, you can leverage the traffic they generated by placing your ads on their site. If your ads are truly relevant for their audience, the likelihood that they’ll click it and use it to buy something from you is very high.
Online content is one of the digital assets you can use to promote your website. Depending on what your business does, you can use a variety of content to help you achieve your goals. For example, you can add eBooks, tutorials, and white papers or downloads to your site, which will engage your audience.
There’s always a need for helpful and engaging content in any niche, and providing it will bring worthwhile rewards.
Social Media Marketing
Everyone and their dog have been writing about social media marketing during recent years. It really is an important topic when it comes to online marketing, as I already mentioned it above.
Social Media Marketing has the powerful potential to nurture your audience by providing them with helpful answers and content. It’s the perfect place to engage with your audience for free, which you should leverage. It also provides great brand visibility and helps you build your reputation. Not to mention that it also helps you drive traffic to your site.
All in all, Social Media Marketing is something no business should miss out on. It’s simple, free and will pack a powerful punch. If you’re willing to invest a few dollars, you can even buy paid advertisements that let you precisely target potential buyers.
There you have it! The basics of online marketing! Even though making progress with most of these methods requires a lot of learning it can be done even by non tech-savvy people. But if you have the capital, hiring a marketing team or at least one online marketing specialist will help your business grow.
If you’re seriously thinking about branching out online to build your brand and attract customers, online marketing won’t fail you. You just have to do it the right way.