In the digitization era, marketing is incomplete without online marketing.
Small businesses and startups often struggle with having an excellent online presence for their business as compared to the huge corporations. Online marketing could be your answer to make your business or new ideas successful.
Having a business website in today’s digital competitive world is a must. However, having an online presence does not simply mean that you need to have a business website. There is more to it, all the requisites need to be fulfilled like online branding techniques and creative brand strategies for online marketing campaigns.
Readers often consider marketing and online marketing as a single concept. However, the two are different from each other. Marketing is simply broadcasting information about anything offline, be it a product or a business. On the other hand, online marketing is broadcasting the same via an online medium. This also entails social media marketing, email marketing and much more.
Here are some benefits of online marketing:
Promoting your Business 24/7
One of the many advantages of online marketing is that you can market your business all the time. Online marketing has the advantage of selling and pitching your business or business products/services without any time restrictions or geographical barriers. With users/consumers increasingly turning to the Internet for their buying products and availing services online marketing is the need of the hour.
Regardless of what your business is oriented with, online marketing is worth implying.
A business with an established online presence enjoys the perks and benefits of being online, such as building a brand identity, gaining popularity and an audience that follows you. Unlike traditional marketing methods where opportunities lesser, online marketing has tremendous opportunities for growth. From your content going viral to establishing yourself as a credible source of information and knowledge, the opportunities to having an online presence are numerous.
Reaching out to Your Audience
It becomes easy to reach out to a wide audience. When you send out a message, you send out a message to the audience that is already following you, along with people who are searching for content you post. It is important to keep in mind keyword research and hashtags while marketing online.
In traditional marketing methods, a business cannot reach audiences located miles away. However, in digital marketing, reaching out to a customer who is practically miles away is not at all a challenge.
Analyzing and Evaluating Every Action
Unlike traditional marketing where businesses have to wait for days to analyze and evaluate their best performing marketing techniques and campaigns, online marketing makes it possible to evaluate every business action taken instantly. This is possible because as and when people start to engage with your campaign, you are able to track insights. These include your reach, traffic to website, likes, shares, etc. Running campaigns on Twitter and Facebook can give you insights and analytics from within these applications itself!
When it comes to profit, businesses are keen to know and adapt every technique that helps them grow their business. This is possible by having an excellent online presence. It is as simple as getting maximum output from a minimum investment.
Driving Business Growth
Online marketing is a great platform for all types of businesses. Even a small business which has just initiated online marketing can succeed by wisely planning online marketing strategies for their brand.
Online marketing paves the way for better conversion rates. Getting leads for your online business is easier than traditional offline marketing. Highlight the pain points of your target audience and you will become your customer’s favorite. Reaching out to your targeted audience is much easier. It helps you generate more leads and improve your conversion rates with ease. The best part? All of this can be tracked using online insight, evaluation and tracking tools!
Online marketing enables a business, whether a startup or a small business, to stay in the competition. No doubt the journey to be as successful as huge corporations will be difficult. But the opportunity it provides will be huge. For a startup owner, this is an opportunity to experience/explore from the large corporations and make your startup succeed.
Building a Network with Industry Leaders
Besides reaching out to targeted audience, having an online presence makes the business owner build a fruitful network with expert, established industry leaders. This creates an opportunity for the business owners who have stepped into the world of digital marketing to learn more about the industry and form collaborations in the future.
Businesses are trying every possible opportunity to master their online marketing skills. Does your business have an online presence? If not, do you think about the opportunities you have missed out on?
It’s time to kickstart your online presence for your business, especially for small businesses and startups that have huge benefits of online marketing for small businesses.
Today, every business needs an online presence. Whether you run a local business or sell products online, a website, social media and other online profiles can help you reach a larger audience. Whether you’re just starting to build an online presence or looking to step up your efforts, here are some tips from members of the online small business community to help.
Create More Effective Instagram Videos
Video is the perfect outlet for getting a unique message across to your potential customers. If your target audience is active on Instagram, then you should be utilizing video on that platform. But how can you make your videos more effective?
It’s true that ads and paid promotions on social media can help you increase your reach significantly. However, you can’t really make use of these options without a solid base of organic social media content. John Jantsch explores this concept in this Duct Tape Marketing post. And the BizSugar community discussed it further here.
Fix Your Local SEO Mistakes
When you’re trying to reach local customers online, you need to be very careful when shaping your SEO strategy. There are tons of mistakes that impact businesses and make their efforts less effective. Gary Shouldis outlines some of them in this 3Bug Marketing post.
Target Adjacent Markets with Smart Risk Taking
If you want to expand your target audience, it helps to look into adjacent markets that are very similar to your current customer base. But it’s important to do this without alienating your current customers. That takes some smart risk taking, according to Ben Gibson of Marketing Land.
Leverage the Full Potential of On-Site Search
A search function is important for any website. It helps your visitors find specific types of content they’re looking for, providing a better experience overall. But simply having a search bar may not be enough. To make the most of this function, check out this Search Engine Journal post by Jes Scholz.
Get Inspiration for your Landing Page Designs
Landing pages can help you provide a more targeted experience for your website visitors, making it easier to purchase or convert into paying customers. If you’re interested in making use of this tactic for your website, see the examples in this DIY Marketers post by Lana Miro.
Examine the DNA of Shareable Content
If the content you create on your blog or website is shareable, you can extend your reach significantly. But what separates great shareable content from the rest? This Social Media HQ post by Christian Zilles includes a full explanation.
Embrace Different Ways of Promoting Your Business
If you always stick to the same methods for promoting your business, you’ll continue to get the same results. So if you want to grow, you need to embrace new methods, according to Lisa Sicard of Inspire to Thrive. BizSugar members also offered commentary on the post here.
Stop Making Simple Mistakes with Your PR Pitches
PR pitches can help you gain more attention for your business both online and off. But if you make mistakes with your pitches, they may not have the impact that you’d like for your business. Learn about the most common mistakes and how to avoid them in this RightMix Marketing post by Rachel Leist.
Create Content That Attracts Customers
Quality content can really help you step up the impact of your website and online presence. But it’s important to consider exactly how your content can attract your target customers, rather than creating generic posts. In this Social Media Examiner post, Michael Stelzner dives into what constitutes quality content.
A study from Adobe estimates that millennials spend about 6.4 hours each day reading their emails.
It’s not just millennials using email. Most people use email daily, and they check their inbox everywhere: while working out, eating, and even using the bathroom.
Email marketing provides a reliable form of communication between your brand and your customers. It’s a cost-effective solution to reach customers where they visit every day — their inbox.
Find out the other benefits that make email marketing a smart solution for communicating with your audience, finding new customers, and growing your business.
Why email marketing works
Unlike some other marketing channels, email marketing allows you to keep in touch with your customers on a consistent basis. Be it a simple, “Thank you for subscribing,” a cheery, “Welcome on board,” or a sincere “Happy Birthday,” email is the easiest and most effective way to let your customers know you value them. Customers love it when a business treats them as an individual, not just like everyone else.
That value should show in the emails you send, and the more value you provide to your target audience, the more they’ll look forward to hearing from you. When that happens, it’s easier to get them to engage with your call-to-action.
There’s plenty of data to back up the benefits of email marketing:
91 percent of US adults like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with.
Email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook, and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers.
Take your marketing to the next level with email
Email continues to be one the best ways to reach out to your customers and potential leads alike. There are several benefits to planning out the perfect email marketing strategy for your business:
1. Targeted and personalized content
Email marketing allows you to segment your customers into different lists based on their preferences to send highly personalized content. From crafting the perfect subject line to images that resonate with your customer, and valuable content that helps your audience, email is the perfect channel to drive engagement.
Adjust your messaging for different audiences so your emails are always engaging. Ignore the impulse to push for a hard sell too early in the process. Cultivate a strong foundation of trust between your brand and the recipient first, and create a bond with your customer than can grow over time.
2. Build credibility
Emails from an unknown sender or with a shady subject line can feel like spam. It just feels off, and customers often just delete these emails.
For some customers, an emoji will make them click and be happy. For others, the same subject line might make them go hunting for the unsubscribe link. You need to tailor your content according to what your readers want. Knowing your readers’ interests and needs gets your email into the inbox, instead of the spam folder.
Creating a permission-based email list that includes a checkbox for users to opt-in to your mailing list ensures that a customer knows which emails they’re signing up for, and how often they’ll be receiving emails from you.
3. Better brand recognition
Some of the most recognizable brands in the world today are so well-known that they are synonymous with the industry in which they operate. Spotify is a great example. All of their emails are relevant and brilliantly curated.
Now imagine your small business standing out as a clearly identifiable brand like Spotify.
Email marketing is a great way to develop your brand identity because it gives you a direct line to the email inboxes of your customers or potential customers. Once you begin creating valuable content for the customer, you’ll have an edge over your competitors.
You can even use your emails to get useful feedback. Are customers happy with the content you’re providing? Would they like to learn something different?
Use a survey or start a discussion on social media. Once you get them involved in the process, you’ll know exactly how to provide valuable content in your emails.
4. Boost sales
Marketing Week reports that email generates around $37B retail sales annually.
Email marketing provides a great opportunity for impulse buying. You can entice a customer to make another purchase in a few ways:
Feature items that are often purchased alongside the products the customer bought.
List similar items to the customer’s past purchases.
Create a special offer or discount for future purchases.
Customers often act on impulse when they get an email letting them know about a relevant product which is related to their previous purchase. This is especially true if there is a relevant promotion.
5. Stronger customer relationships
Your customers appreciate a good email. The time and effort it takes to draft the perfect email doesn’t go unnoticed. They want to know what’s happening with your business, and how they can get involved.
It’s nearly impossible to reach out to all your customers in person or by phone. Email marketing campaigns bridge that gap. You could even set up a drip marketing campaign to help you smooth out the process.
Drip campaigns are ongoing and drive the user down the buyer’s journey to a final conversion point. They’re often used to provide constant value to subscribers while helping keep your brand top-of-mind. Often times, these emails slowly “drip” helpful information, products, or tips, over days, weeks, or months.
For example, the emails you receive when you browse Amazon, but don’t buy anything, are a drip email marketing automation at work.
6. Optimize your time and budget
With any business, but especially within a small business, there are always time and budget constraints. While big businesses can afford to go all out and buy advertising space during the Super Bowl, small businesses don’t have that luxury.
Even targeted direct mail campaigns that deliver flyers to nearby mailboxes can be costly. Between designing, printing, and mailing costs, you could spend several dollars per flyer delivery.
All this time spent not focusing on your business is lost revenue, and a lost opportunity to connect with your customers on a personal level. One of the most significant advantages of email marketing for small businesses is the efficient use of time and budget. Designing a professional email marketing campaign is not complicated, or time-consuming. Sending emails to many subscribers is also still cost-effective.
7. Metrics to learn what works
There is a quick window of opportunity when it comes to customers opening your emails. They see your email in their inbox, and depending on how well the “From name” and subject line resonate, they decide whether to open the email or ignore it. A good open rate means that your customers know your brand well enough to want to hear from you, no matter the time of the day.
Next up is your click-through-rate (CTR) which generally gives you a good idea of how many customers took the time to go through your email content to click on the links within. The average click-through rate across all industries is around 7%.
After a customer has clicked through your email, ideally the next goal is to get them to convert – in other words, to follow through on the action your email has asked them to take. Your email conversion rates are an important metric to track, for they tell you how well the call-to-action in your email has performed.
8. Increased traffic to your website
Emails are a great way to get customers to visit your website. You can include relevant links to your site within your email content. You can also use your email campaigns to get customers to engage with other great pieces of content available on your website or blog.
For example, a local design school could send out emails to let them know about their new design class that has a limited number of seats. Many of their customers and potential leads may have missed out on this opportunity to attend the class, had they not revisited the website in time. The design school then can fill all the seats more quickly, instead of waiting for reservations to trickle in.
Include social sharing buttons in your emails to encourage your customers to promote your content across their own social channels.
9. Establish authority
When you run your own business, your goal is to be seen as an expert in your industry. Establish that to position yourself and your business as the authority in the eyes of your customers.
Your customers have signed up for your marketing newsletters because they want to hear from you. They like the content you send and keeping them engaged is one of the biggest wins for any email marketer. Your content is one of your most valuable marketing tools and you can use it to build other areas of your marketing strategy. If people love what you do, then they will sign up to see more great content.
10. Build excitement
Everyone likes to belong to a special group, especially email consumers who like exclusive perks.
Your customers aren’t all the same, and the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Use your email campaigns to drive home the message that your customers are unique and important to your business.
Whether you’re giving a section of customers a sneak peek into an upcoming product launch, or simply rewarding them for being loyal customers, they all love a sweet deal. Volkswagen offers email subscribers free movie tickets several times a year. Starbucks gives their gold members free drinks around the holidays.
As a small business, you might not be able to go around giving free stuff to your customers, but a little something extra can go a long way. Rewarding your customers is a nice gesture, and from your side, it’s a great way to accelerate your marketing goals. Everybody wins.
Start communicating with your customers through email
It’s easy to get caught up in the intricacies of building out an email marketing campaign that works for your customers and your business. There’s a lot of learning involved, but there’s also a lot of opportunity to communicate with your customers, rather than just sending emails all the time.
With email marketing, you can build your brand, out-do your marketing goals, and set yourself up as an expert, all without breaking your budget. No matter your level of experience, you can create professional email marketing campaigns quickly. That means less time spent worrying about marketing details and more time spent working on making your business successful. Original Source
So you feel like a dinosaur, and you’re not sure whether you’re proud of yourself or embarrassed. You feel proud because, as a small-business owner, you’ve stuck with the traditional marketing tactics that have always “worked” for your business. Rarely, have they let you down. On the other hand, marketers and other small-business owners can make you feel as though your methods are as prehistoric as a T-Rex and that you should join the legions of business professionals who have embraced online marketing.
There’s nothing wrong with friendly peer pressure, so if you’ve been curious about what you’re missing, read about the advantages of online marketing in a no-pressure zone of your choice. So that you don’t feel overwhelmed by all the forms of online marketing, limit your focus to the five most effective online marketing methods. They could make you howl – in approval or in derision.
Consider the General Advantages of Online Marketing
Some people refer to online marketing as internet marketing, simply because you need the internet to go online. Whatever you wish to call this type of marketing, online marketing is:
“The process of promoting a business or brand and its products or services over the internet using tools that help drive traffic, leads and sales,” Search Engine Journal states.
No matter what you’ve heard the advantages of the internet for online marketing, no one single tactic should stand alone. One tactic may be powerful, but it’s not almighty:
“Internet marketing and online advertising efforts are typically used in conjunction with traditional types of advertising such as radio, television, newspapers and magazines,” Webopedia states.
The five methods presented here – email marketing, inbound marketing, pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization and social media – are as different as television and radio. But generally, online marketing could deliver tangible benefits to your small business, assuming that the tactics are executed creatively and carefully. You could enjoy:
A growth in revenue. Reduced marketing expenses. Enhanced control over your marketing messages. Better customer service. A competitive advantage in the marketplace.* Elegant, classy – you can pick the adjective communications that set your company apart.
Consider Email Marketing
Don’t think in terms of a single email you may send to a prospective client but think about email campaignsthat drive traffic to your website via a link within the email itself. And yes, every small-business owner should have a website. It takes commitment, but many small-business owners also send monthly newsletters to inform and educate their clients about news and updates on their products and services. In this way, you can build a powerful subscriber list and entice active subscribers to invite others to join the fun.
Key advantages include:
A comparably simple method to implement. Believe it: One-page newsletter templates can make the task a snap. The ability to remain “front and center” with existing clients. The ability to target a campaign to only certain people.
A high return on your investment.
One billion people use Gmail.
Active email accounts are expected to reach 5.6 billion by 2019.* 75 percent of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI.
Consider Inbound Marketing
Your marketing may go in one direction: out – outbound – as in out the door with mailers, postcards, coupons, brochures and catalogs. Inbound marketing reverses this direction by bringing new customers in, with content as the lure. In fact, content anchors an inbound marketing strategy, and can include tactics such as the following:
Blog posts and articles. White papers. Case studies.
The advent of e-books.
Key advantages include:
Brings customers who are already interested in you directly to your website.
Provides upfront value by giving potential customers content for free. Converts leads to customers. Encourages customers to share content with others, thereby spreading the word about a business without any extra effort on the part of the small-business owner.
Enhances a company’s brand and reputation.
Companies that published 16 or more blog posts a month got about 4.5 times leads than companies that published from zero to four posts a month.
Content marketing gets three times the number of leads leads than paid search advertising.
47 percent of buyers view between three and five pieces of content, before speaking with a sales representative.
Consider Pay-per-Click Marketing
Pay-per-click, PPC, marketing is also known as paid-search marketing. As its name implies, advertisers pay a fee for web users to click on their ad to send these web users to the clients’ websites. The ads can take the form of display ads, shopping ads and video ads, but the consumer should know that he is clicking on an advertisement.
A small-business owner should be able to master the art and science of PPC marketing with time and practice, but this should be regarded as an eventuality. Initially, an experienced marketing professional should be consulted, because guiding the process to a profitable conclusion requires skill and precision. As Social SEO explains so well:
“Most of PPC marketing is conducted via Google AdWords, which makes up about 85 percent of search traffic comes through Google. AdWords is basically a giant, worldwide auction. When you start a paid search campaign, the first thing you do is determine a list of keywords that you believe are relevant to your business that people are likely to be searching for on the internet. Then you bid on those keywords and hope that your ad wins the auction, i.e. , it shows up at the top of the search results page.”
One of the quickest ways to generate web traffic. The ability to target ads by type of customer or location with speed and accuracy. If you want, you can even target people who are are searching on their smartphones. Results are relatively simple to measure.* PPC campaigns can be changed and updated quickly.
Nearly 65 percent of people click on Google ads when they are looking to buy an item online.
The average conversion rate in AdWords across all industries is 2.7 percent on the search network and 0.89 percent on the display network.
The average cost-per-click in AdWords across all industries is $2.32 on the search network and 58 cents on the display network.
Consider Search Engine Optimization
As you probably know, you have to do more than create a stunning website; you have to regularly optimize it, too. Search engine optimization includes all the techniques that improve a business’ visibility and rankings in search engine result pages, also known as SERPs. The higher a business appears in the rankings, the more website traffic, and hopefully revenue, it’s able to attract. Most people, after all, rarely scroll beyond the second page of a search.
Smart SEO techniques can, and do, fill books, which is why it’s equally smart for a small-business owner to place this important function in the hands of an SEO expert. In time, you may feel comfortable using SEO tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Moz and Bing Webmaster Tools. An SEO expert will ensure that your website is organized and designed so that it is “rewarded” with higher rankings. And he will review all your website content carefully so that one keyword per page is used in blogs, headlines and subheads. When Bill Gates declared in 1996 that “content is king,” little did he know that inbound marketing would wear the crown.
It’s flexible and capable of customization, especially when you create a tight union between inbound marketing and SEO. It’s relatively precise, even though some of the metrics behind search engine rankings will probably always be a mystery. You can track your rankings and scrutinize your audience.
72 percent of consumers who do local searches visit a store within five miles. Local searches spur half of mobile users to visit stores within one day. More than half of smartphone users discover a new company or product while conducting a search on their smartphone.
Consider Social Media Marketing
The advantages of online marketing may be tugging at your instincts, but it’s possible that social media marketing may be giving you the greatest pause. It is the youngest form of online marketing and the one favored by the younger, hipper generation.
It may help to know that many small businesses have done more than build their brand and reputation on social media; they have successfully – and sometimes exclusively – relied on it to launch a business. While there are literally hundreds of social media platforms, the most popular ones are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter. If it’s any consolation, it may not be wise for you to create a presence on all these platforms. Like any form of marketing, it’s best to align your business with the ones your customers gravitate to – i.e., target your messages carefully.
It’s free to create and post messages. It’s conducive to multiple strategies, including engaging and attracting attention, promoting, selling and developing customer loyalty. It’s capable of reaching a large and diverse audience. It encourages sharing, which can further extend the reach of a small business. It gives you the ability to respond quickly to customers and potential customers.
79 percent of all people online use Facebook. 76 percent of people rely on Facebook to find interesting content. The consumption of content on Facebook has increased by 57 percent in the last two years – statistics that should make any dinosaur stand up and take notice.
Facebook is an important source of traffic for many companies, including online publishers.
And a new search engine Facebook is testing in its iOS mobile app could enable the world’s largest social network to generate even more referrals for third parties.
As reported by TechCrunch, some users are seeing a new “Add a Link” button when they post status updates. When clicked, this button allows users to enter a search query and displays relevant links that Facebook thinks the user might want to share.
While it’s not obvious how exactly Facebook is determining which links it returns in search results, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine observes that “results seem to be sorted by what users are most likely to share, highlighting recently published sites that have been posted by lots of people.”
According to Facebook, it has indexed more than a trillion posts so it certainly has a lot of data to work with. Overlaid with data from its vast social graph, Facebook has the potential to do interesting things that Google can’t with its search results.
In order to leverage social media to fill your sales funnel, you’ll need to invest in a tool that will help your business filter content and target influencers and prospective customers. Many small businesses are using social media to build awareness about their services, but you can go much further and target and engage prospective customers. Before you invest in any of these tools, make sure that you’re also doing the basics when it comes to your businesses’ social media profile and lead generation.
Branded Profile – All of your profiles are branded and have a consistent look and feel. Social media isn’t any different than your website, collateral or a sales package. Your brand image and message should be clear.
Consistent Schedule of Content – You’ll need a consistent schedule of content to nurture your audience and grow your community. Keep your message conversational.
Relevant Content – Most businesses have a lot to share. Think about how you can educate your audience and showcase your expertise. For example, if your business targets marketers and small businesses, then your content should help those prospects solve problems and make their day-to-day activities easier.
Assets – Most businesses have many assets already created. Take a look at past campaigns, whitepapers and informational content that you can leverage in the social space. It’s not always about creating content from scratch.
Monitoring and Listening – In addition to publishing, you will need to listen and monitor what’s being said about your business and what prospects are saying about your industry. There are several free tools that can help you get into the flow of the conversation.
With over 20 years of business, sales, and consulting experience SMS is capable of serving many market sectors. We provide the field level support needed to generate results and grow your business. Other companies may provide appointment setting services; whereas SMS will partner with you to grow revenue.
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