A HubSpot survey found that marketers allocate 11% of their marketing budgets to online marketing and social media strategies, and only 3% to offline marketing, suggesting that more and more businesses are seeing the value in using the internet to increase brand awareness, grow audiences, and convert leads into paying customers.
But what is online marketing? Does it require a huge budget to have a successful online marketing strategy? Is it still effective to use social media for marketing? How do I get started with online marketing?
In this article, we’ll answer common questions about online marketing. We’ll cover what it is, why you should do it, and how to get started.
What Is Online Marketing?
If you’re unfamiliar, online marketing is the strategy of marketing a brand or business online. This can include everything from email marketing to social media marketing (also known as digital marketing).
What sets it apart from traditional marketing is that you’re not only marketing to people who already know and like your brand, but you’re also including people who may have never heard of your business before.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “marketing” is “the action of promoting a product or service by communicating information to customers” and “internet marketing” is “the practice of marketing merchandise or services over the internet”.
With so much focus on digital marketing, it’s important to understand the differences between it and other traditional forms of marketing.
Why Should You Do Online Marketing?
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ll know that the effects of COVID-19 are still being felt around the world. In the United States, many businesses have had to close down due to lack of customers. Some industries, such as travel and hospitality, have been severely impacted, while others, like technology and manufacturing, have had to adapt and change the way they do business.
But even before the pandemic, businesses that used online marketing were experiencing a rise in customer engagement and loyalty due to the ease of use of online channels, like social media. They also found that online marketing helped them build trust and credibility with prospective customers, which in turn, resulted in increased conversion.
An infographic from the HubSpot Blog states that while 68% of consumers have purchased a product or service after viewing online reviews, only 4% have purchased a product or service after viewing traditional advertising.
These figures suggest that businesses that utilize online marketing can expect to see an increase in sales as a result of this channel.
How Do I Get Started With Online Marketing?
It’s well-established that getting started with online marketing is easier said than done. You’ll need to consider several factors, including your budget, target audience, and existing online presence. If you’re looking for a no-cost way to get started, consider using platforms like HubSpot or Market Hero.
HubSpot’s Chief Marketing Officer, Shelly Hwang, suggests that businesses try out the platform for a few days to get a feel for how it works and takes the stress out of the process.
Hiring a digital marketing agency at this stage may be a good idea too. They can help you set up various strategies, such as email marketing, to reach your target audience and increase brand awareness.
Once you have an idea of what you’d like to achieve with your online marketing plan, set a budget and timeline and then take action. Don’t forget to measure your success in terms of leads, sales, and repeat customers, to determine the return on investment of this channel.