To be able to grow your business successfully you need to follow certain steps. One of these steps is to make the right use of the internet and the various platforms available online. You can do this through online marketing; simply put, online marketing is a method of promoting your business or product online. It includes both digital and non-digital marketing methods.
Non-digital marketing methods mostly revolve around creating and distributing marketing materials such as flyers, posters, and business cards. These are common methods that people use to discover businesses and products. However, with the advancement of digital marketing methods, much of non-digital marketing has been replaced by digital marketing.
Digital marketing methods such as paid search and social media allow you to target the right audience and to engage with them online. Furthermore, you can monitor the results of your campaigns and measure the success of your online marketing efforts.
Why Use The Internet To Market Your Business?
To answer this question, let’s examine the anatomy of an internet search.
An internet search is made up of several parts: the search term, key words, and a few more words called the ‘phrase.’ The search term is what you type into the search bar to get to the search engine. Key words are words or phrases you choose to target in your search term. The phrase is what the search engine recognizes as meaning ‘this article’ or ‘this product.’
When someone does an internet search and enters your search term, the search engine looks for matches to the words or phrases in your search term. If it finds a match, it returns a list of results ranked according to how relevant the match appears to be. This is determined by a combination of factors such as the number of times the terms appear in the document and how well the terms are matched to the rest of the document (in other words, how well the document fulfills the ‘meaning’ of the phrase).
This is why using the internet to market your business is so effective. You can target the right audience by choosing the right keywords and phrases and use the search engine to find articles and web pages that suit your needs. Furthermore, with a few tweaks to your SEO, you can make sure that your website shows up on top of the search engine results page (SERP) for your chosen keywords. This will make a massive difference to your site’s traffic – and thus, to your bottom line!
In a nutshell, the benefits of using the internet to market your business are:
- No physical distribution needed
- Target audience found worldwide
- Instant feedback from the audience
- Ability to track results
- Free or low-cost marketing tools
- Continuous marketing (builds brand awareness over time)
- Ability to engage with potential customers
Let’s take a closer look at each of these advantages in turn.
No Physical Distribution Needed
If you’ve ever ordered a product or service online, you’ll know that most businesses will send the item to you via mail. For these businesses, physical distribution is very much a part of their operation. They either have to collect the items they sell from distant places (if the item is not locally available), or they have to get the item packed and shipped to the customer.
For online marketing, however, physical distribution is not needed because the internet makes it possible for businesses to provide their products and services and to receive payment without ever having to leave the comfort of their homes. This is one of the major upsides of marketing online. You can take your product or service anywhere in the world and sell it to anyone, anytime, from anywhere.
To illustrate this point, Amazon was once considered to be a giant in the realm of online marketing because most of their sales are done online. However, today much of their business model relies on door-to-door delivery by Amazon Prime (an overnight delivery service). In addition to being able to market their products online, Amazon has leveraged the internet to the fullest, creating a global network of distributors and closer to home, having created an infrastructure that enables them to deliver their products to the doorstep of their customers.
If you’ve ever tried to market a business or product in your home country but did not have the support of your national government or the corporate world, you know how difficult it can be to gain access to the international market. To give you some idea of the size of this market, let’s take a look at some of the statistics:
In 2019, there were 3.46 billion internet users around the world, representing nearly 88 percent of the global population. Additionally, there were 4.81 million YouTube creators, 3.85 million Instagrammers, and 3.85 million Twitter users.
If you are able to capture the attention of people around the world, you are able to grow your business quickly –assuming you can translate that interest into dollars.
One of the major pluses of marketing online is that your target audience is spread across the entire world. If you’re just starting a business or need to find immediate funds, nowhere is safe to hide. Therefore, the world is your oyster. You can find potential customers in every country and in every corner of the earth.
Forbes recently estimated that online marketing in 2020 would generate $16 billion in revenue worldwide and that figure is expected to rise to nearly $26 billion by 2025.
Eco-friendly is one of the major selling points of online marketing. Because you don’t need to be physically present to operate a business or make a sale, you don’t have to worry about wasting resources. When you consider the environment, it’s obvious why this form of marketing is considered “green.’
In 2019, searches on Google for ‘eco-friendly’ products and services increased by 27% compared to searches in 2018. According to Google, “earning a spot on the Silver List means your organization is committed to using sustainable production processes, energy-saving products and minimising its impact on the environment.”
To further illustrate how eco-friendly marketing can be, let’s take a look at reusable shopping bags. Many manufacturers and retailers offer custom-designed bags that are made from recycled materials and which have a lining that prevents plastic waste.
With the click of a button, you can send a message or make a purchase online. This type of ‘instant feedback’ is one of the major bonuses of online marketing. Instead of having to wait weeks or months for customers to come back and leave a review or for word-of-mouth marketing to reach potential customers, you can get instant feedback from potential customers. This feature allows you to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts in real-time.
Businesses with a presence on social media can use this feature to stay connected with existing customers and to attract new customers.
Ability To Track Results
With most online marketing platforms, you can track the results of your efforts easily via analytics tools. These tools allow you to study traffic to your site and to determine which content performs the best, allowing you to optimize your efforts toward bringing more traffic and converting this traffic into paying customers. As you can see from the example above, you are not required to maintain a massive web presence in order to generate revenue through online marketing. Even a single blog post can generate hundreds or thousands of dollars in online revenue for savvy marketers.
Free Or Low-Cost Marketing Tools
If you’ve ever shopped online, you’ll recognize that businesses generally offer marketing tools for free. These tools can take the form of email marketing tools, social media tools, or content creation tools. Naturally, you have to “opt-in’” to use these tools, but you can rest assured that you are not being charged for them. On the contrary, these tools are typically what you’d call “traffic boosters”, designed to help you attract visitors to your website.
In some cases, you could access these tools for free, but in exchange for using these tools to their fullest, you’ll have to complete a “free trial,’ or “demo’” (short for “demonstration’); this is what gives you access to these tools and lets you track results. After a free trial or demo, you’ll have to pay if you want to continue using these tools. However, even then, you’ll have to pay only for the functionality you use.