It is no secret that traditional advertising media, such as radio and TV ads, are ineffective when it comes to driving sales for small businesses. With everyone bombarded with advertising, the attention of consumers has become more valuable and harder to gain. Despite this, online advertising continues to grow, especially in the form of online marketing. A 2014 report from the Radium group stated that online marketing, including email marketing, social media marketing and mobile marketing, will reach $16.2 billion in 2021.
As a business owner or marketer, it is important to understand the difference between traditional and online marketing and how to successfully integrate the two. Let’s take a brief look at both.
Often, business owners and marketers think of traditional marketing in relation to advertising when in fact, marketing can include many tactics, such as public relations, corporate events and online marketing, to name just a few.
Traditional advertising, also known as outbound marketing, relies on mass-marketing to spread the word about a brand. It also relies on a pricey ad buy to attract consumers’ attention. While these tactics can be effective, they often don’t result in increased sales for small businesses. According to HubSpot Blogs research, only 3% of respondents saw increased product sales as a result of radio ads.
The good news is that there is a better way! Although more effortful, inbound marketing involves a lot of strategy and research, it has the potential to increase sales for small businesses.
You might be familiar with online marketing if you’ve ever shopped online or used any of the larger social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter. Essentially, online marketing is the use of digital media to promote and sell a brand or product. This type of marketing may also include things like SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click advertising)—all of which are methods of attracting visitors to your website, through organic or paid means, respectively.
One of the distinguishing factors of online marketing is that it is often considered “undefined” or “unbounded.” Unlike with traditional marketing, which is often limited by TV stations or radio stations that can bring in potential customers, the possibilities for online marketing are virtually endless. You can target the right audience using different platforms, such as social media or email, and measure the success of your campaign, based on metrics like conversion rates, email open rates or the number of website visitors.
Integrating Traditional and Online Marketing
If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume you’re already familiar with the concept of marketing and how it relates to the success of your business. If you own a clothing store and want to expand your customer base to include millennials, you might decide to advertise on social media sites like Twitter or Instagram. You could create an online shop or offer free shipping for all orders over $25, to attract potential customers.
However, if you run a small business that sells snowboards and you want to target consumers in the Australian ski market, it’s a different story. In this case, you might decide to invest in radio ads, depending on your budget. It’s important to understand the difference between the two markets (snowboard and fashion) so you can decide which method is most appropriate for your business.
When integrating traditional and online marketing, you need to ask yourself the right questions, so you can choose the appropriate methods for the task at hand. For example, if you want to advertise on social media sites, you might ask, “Which of these sites do I already use to promote my business?” or “What are my specific goals for this particular campaign?”