What Is Online Marketing?
Online marketing is the practice of leveraging web-based channels to spread a message about a company’s brand, products, or services to its potential customers. The methods and techniques used for online marketing include email, social media, display advertising, search engine optimization, Google AdWords and more. The objective of marketing is to reach potential customers through the channels where they spend their time reading, searching, shopping, and socializing online.
Widespread adoption of the internet for business and personal use has generated new channels for advertising and marketing engagement, including those mentioned above. There are also many benefits and challenges inherent to online marketing, which uses primarily digital mediums to attract, engage, and convert virtual visitors to customers.
Online marketing differs from traditional marketing, which has historically included mediums like print, billboard, television and radio advertisements.
Before online marketing channels emerged, the cost to market products or services was often prohibitively expensive, and traditionally difficult to measure. Think of national TV ad campaigns, which are measured through consumer focus groups to determine levels of brand awareness. These methods are traditionally also not well-suited to controlled experimentation.
Today, anyone with an online business (as well as most offline businesses) can participate in online marketing by creating a website and building customer acquisition campaigns at little to no cost. Those marketing products and services also have the ability to experiment with optimization to fine-tune their campaigns’ efficiency and ROI.
Benefits Of Online Marketing
A key benefit of using online channels for marketing a business or product is the ability to measure the impact of any given channel, as well as how visitors acquired through different channels interact with a website or landing page experience. Of the visitors that convert into paying customers, further analysis can be done to determine which channels are most effective at acquiring valuable customers.
Analytics for web or mobile app experiences can help determine the following:
- Which online marketing channels are the most cost-effective at acquiring customers, based on the conversion rate of visitors to customers, and the cost of those visitors.
- Which channels are effective at acquiring and driving higher lifetime value for customers — such as email marketing, which drives repeat purchases to prior customers.
- Which cohorts of customers exhibit strong engagement behavior and high potential for upsells — such as software or mobile apps, which expect to sell more products to customers with high engagement.
Online Marketing Tools
There are a number of tools that can be used to build and maintain a robust online marketing program:
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Display Advertising
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Events & Webinars
- A/B Testing & Website Optimization
- Content Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Marketing Analytics
- Marketing Automation
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising
- LinkedIn Ads
- Affiliate Marketing
Examples Of Online Marketing
Some examples of online marketing campaigns include:
- Canon advertises for search keywords related to “photography” on Google, Yahoo, and Bing search engines to market their cameras to a relevant audience to drive traffic to a specific webpage.
- Whole Foods collects email addresses on their website to create email lists that can be used to advertise new products, sales, and events in their stores.
- Dove creates video advertisements and shares them with their audience on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to promote favorable conversation about their brand and products.
- Bite Beauty partners with influencers to promote a new lipstick to their target audience of high-quality, beauty enthusiasts.
Although online marketing creates many opportunities for businesses to grow their presence via the internet and build their audiences, there are also inherent challenges with these methods of marketing. First, the marketing can become impersonal, due to the virtual nature of message and content delivery to a desired audience.
Marketers must inform their strategy for online marketing with a strong understanding of their customer’s needs and preferences. Techniques like surveys, user testing, and in-person conversations can be used to understand the overall user experience.
Online marketing can also be crowded and competitive. Although the opportunities to provide goods and services in both local and far-reaching markets is empowering, the competition can be significant. Companies investing in online marketing may find visitors’ attention is difficult to capture due to the number of business also marketing their products and services online. Marketers must develop a balance of building a unique value proposition (UVP) and brand voice as they test and build marketing campaigns on various channels.
How to Get Started
The first step to getting started with online marketing is to evaluate your goals and make sure they are measurable. Are you hoping to sign up 100 new customers? Generate 1,000 leads to fuel your B2B sales process? Build an email subscriber base of 10,000 people?
After that, you need to make a choice about how to construct an online presence that helps you achieve that goal and create corresponding a marketing strategy for these channels. Maybe you need to set up an e-commerce site. If you’re interested in blogging to drive awareness and subscribers, look into setting up a blog and strategize on how to create great content that would encourage sharing on social media channels.
Partnering with a customer that is willing to evangelize your business by creating a case study or infographic can be powerful social proof as customers are evaluating your company. A simple website or landing page with a lead capture form can help you start developing your brand and generating traffic. A basic analytics platform (like Google Analytics, which is free) can help you start to measure how you are tracking your marketing efforts towards your initial goal.
Online marketing is also known as internet marketing, web marketing, digital marketing and search engine marketing (SEM). Online advertising and internet advertising are techniques involved with online marketing, but are not synonymous with online marketing.
A strong online marketing strategy will help you boost your business. These 10 digital strategies have been proven to help companies improve their performance. If you employ them, you could be on your way to creating a concrete internet marketing strategy that helps you brings in more customers and retain new ones.
We don’t often think about web design as a marketing tactic, but it influences the amount of time and attention a user will spend on your page. Your website is the center of all your digital marketing efforts, so if your page is not clean, easy to read, and interesting, it won’t matter how much time you put into strategy development – you’re still going to lose customers. If you don’t have the design skills to do it yourself, then it’s worth hiring someone to create a website that is modern, attention-grabbing, and mobile friendly.
Search engine marketing and optimization are part of what helps make your business appear higher on a list of search engine results. With a strong SEO strategy, your company website will become associated with the keywords used to find your services. This increases your chances of being the company an individual chooses to work with after searching online.
With an affiliate program, people who believe in your company can share your information and grow your market on a commission-based platform. An affiliate or associate program doesn’t make sense for every business. However, if you do use these, you can quickly see your marketing efforts improve without needing to do much yourself.
4. Hire a Coach or Consultant
If you’re not an expert in digital and internet marketing, ask someone who is. There are hundreds of internet marketing coaches and consultants available to you, many of whom can give you a consultation about what you should change to see success. For small business owners who need to focus on other business systems, a coach or consultant can be extremely helpful.
It isn’t enough to just send out emails. You will want to consider various email lists that cater to the specific needs of each individual and can present a personalized approach to your campaigns. Take a hard and clear look at the purchasing habits of your customers and use that information to develop your strategy.
An opt-in email list allows customers to come to you and sign up to receive email correspondence. This allows you to connect with potential customers and current clients.
Work with a public relations professional to get your business into articles and news stories on topics related to what you do. It will not only help establish you as a trusted expert, but it will introduce your business to an even broader base of people. You can also sign up for free services that connect you with writers looking for sources, such as Help a Reporter Out.
When you use online press releases, you’re getting your information out there in a formal setting. This allows newspapers, blogs, or other media sources to see your information and write posts about your company without you needing to put in the effort to connect and claim a story.
People love contests and giveaways. Anytime you can encourage promotion from your customers in exchange for a free product or service, you will usually see a surge in purchases or connections.
10. Maintain a Blog
Your blog should be used for a number of reasons, including allowing you to consistently post new keywords and optimize your search engine strategy. More than that, your blog becomes somewhere you can offer advice, share bits of information, and really connect with your customers. A lasting relationship begins with trust, and your blog is a great way to build that.
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