What is online marketing? Should I consider it for my business?

With such a myriad of channels to communicate with clients today, many small business owners often wonder:

  • What is exactly Online Marketing?

  • Should I be investing in online marketing?

  • What are the best channels my business should be investing in?

Firstly, let’s start by defining what Online Marketing is:

Online marketing is about promoting your business online using a variety of channels, including your own website, email, blog, social media, search or video to identify, attract leads and convert them to sales.

If you are wondering if your business should be investing some of your marketing $$$ in online marketing, the answer is absolutely YES! It all starts with having an online presence with your website.

As Bill Gates once said, ‘If you are not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business’ 

The good news is that most likely, your company is already using some of the online channels available, such as email marketing – communicating with your audience via emails – or through your Facebook page to reach and engage with clients.

If you are considering reviewing, optimising and improving the way you try to reach potential customers online, keep reading to get tips on ways to achieve this!

In the past 10 years, the Internet has completely transformed the way in which people buy products or services, putting the customer in charge of the buying process. People are armed with an array of platforms that allows them to research products, find and share product reviews with others, including those in their immediate networks.

Understanding how your existing and potential customers use and interact with these channels in their daily lives is the first step in your online marketing decision-making process.

Whilst a large number of people will check emails, their Facebook or Twitter accounts, or use Google to search for products on a regular basis, it is important to know HOW, WHEN and for what PURPOSE they use these channels.

Depending also on the demographics of your target audience, these may be more inclined to use and interact with some specific channels.

For instance, teenagers between 15-17 years old (the highest active user demographic on the internet today at 97%*) are using channels for social and entertainment interaction, visiting Facebook or YouTube various times a day. These two channels alone receive visits of over 26 million users every month in Australia only.

On the other hand, users between 30-45 years old may be using the Internet for business research and deals, business social networking or to pay bills using internet banking.

An online marketing strategy aims at finding the most efficient ways for your brand to be present in some or most of these online channels to capture the customer at the right time.

Depending on your objectives and the specific audience you wish to reach, some online marketing channels will be more appropriate and will provide the highest results or return on investment.

Nowadays, there are some basic yet crucial channels your company needs to be present in and use online, in order to capture clients and help you achieve your business objectives:

  •  Have a website

A website is your own piece of real state on the Internet. Your website is your hub, the place where people can learn about your brand, what you offer and where you can showcase the benefits that your customers will receive from your services or products.

Getting the right look and feel for your website, including a strong brand and a studied branding style, as well as communicating the values and unique proposition that your brand offers are a great start to start building a strong online presence.

  • Focus on growing or start an email subscription list

Email marketing is anything but dead. In fact, email is one of the first things people check more often throughout the day.

Having a mailing list, nurturing those contacts through relevant communications and growing your list by using different tactics can increase leads and drive sales dramatically for your business.

Keep an eye on our blog for an upcoming post on what tactics you can use to grow your list of email contacts.

  • Have a Facebook page for your business

With over 13 million users visiting Facebook every month, you want to make sure that your business has a Facebook page where it can communicate with your target audience, share content with them and interact with them in an engaging way.

Depending on the nature of your business, the tone to be used can be more or less casual.

Remember to use this channel for a wide variety of content and tactics. From sharing information about products, to promoting events, to sharing videos, run competitions, run surveys, sharing your latest blog posts, etc.

Tactics to consider for your online marketing strategy may include many (see graphic below). However, how and which channels to use for your business will depend primarily on:

  1. Your goals
  2. What your target audience is
  3. The nature of your business and
  4. Your budget and resources

Based on the above, a strategy can be put together to focus on those channels that make more sense for your business, and which will provide the best results based on the objectives you are trying to achieve and the budget and resources you count on.

Next week, we will be sharing an online marketing checklist to help you in planning for your online marketing efforts.