What Is Online Marketing?

While physical stores have adjusted to online shopping, online marketing is still a relatively new concept. Launched in the 1990s, the field is constantly evolving to fit the growing preferences of digital consumers. If you’re wondering what is online marketing and whether or not you should be exploring this avenue, keep reading.

Key Takeaways

There are six key takeaways from this overview of online marketing.

1. Focus On The User Experience (UX)

The first key takeaway from this brief introduction to online marketing is to focus on the user experience (UX). Across all areas of business, from marketing and sales to web design and development, the goal is to create a positive experience that encourages users to engage with your product or service and encourages them to return and to recommend it to others. This is the theory behind UX Design.

UX is all about delivering value to the customer and creating a satisfying, memorable experience in the process. When a customer finds your product or service valuable, they will have positive feelings toward it, increasing the chance of them engaging with your brand. This is also known as the ‘halo effect’. When a customer has a positive experience with your product or service, they will have an extended halo around them, influencing others, including potential customers, to feel the same way. As a rule of thumb, if you’re not satisfying your customers, you’re losing money.

2. Measurement Matters

Measurement is critical in any area of business, but it’s particularly critical in marketing and sales, where it can be difficult to determine the effectiveness of individual campaigns and activities. In an effort to create the best possible customer experience, many companies have turned to user experience (UX) analytics, which track user activity, measure engagement, and examine sentiment. With so much data available, marketing and sales teams can track the success of a campaign or program and adjust it to create even more positive results.

3. Build Test-And-Learn From Scratch

Every brand, organization, and business is different, which means that no one-size-fits-all approach can be used when developing a marketing strategy. One of the major differences between physical stores and digital commerce is the fact that it’s usually cheaper to build a website than to launch a physical store. Because brands, products, and business models can be analyzed and continuously refined through testing, it’s a common practice for digital marketing strategists to ‘scratch build’ marketing plans, testing ideas and tactics and learning from their results. This openness to new ideas is a key differentiator between digital marketing and traditional, ‘set it and forget it’ approaches to marketing and PR.

4. Be Genuine And Relevant

Marketing is all about connection, and that means being relevant to your audience, both now and in the future. To be relevant, you have to be genuine. The difference between the two is subtle, but it’s an important one. Genuine advertising is what psychologists refer to as ‘pre-emptive’ advertising. This is advertising that promotes a brand or product before the brand or product is even mentioned in a piece of content or an ad. This is compared to ‘descriptive’ advertising, which is the type of advertising that talks about the product or service and delivers a clear message about it, without necessarily involving the consumer in the message. A good rule of thumb is to be as genuine as possible while still being relevant.

5. Be Creative

Creativity is prized in any area of business, but especially in marketing and advertising. Fewer rules, more creativity. When brands and businesses are open to new ideas and willing to try something new, they are usually rewarded with success.

If there’s one area of business that leverages creativity and inspiration, it’s marketing. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, “Your customers aren’t creatives; your competition is. You have to be creative, even if you don’t feel like it. You have to find new ways to be innovative, even if you’ve spent the past decade in practice.” To that end, marketing strategies should be tailored to fit the target audience, but also should be flexible enough to accommodate the occasional, ‘A-ha!’ moment of inspiration.

6. Engage With Larger Audiences

In the not-so-distant past, a small audience was considered a bad thing, something to be avoided at all costs. Today, however, with audiences everywhere, from niche communities to large social media platforms, engaging with many people is critical for the success of any brand or business.

Whether you’re interacting via blog posts, social media, or emails, marketers must continue to develop and test new ways to engage with as many people as possible, as often as possible. This is not a new concept, and it goes back to the basic tenet of marketing, which is to “build a brand name, establish market share, and create demand for your products or services”. While this should always be the goal, it’s a never-ending pursuit to engage with as many people as possible, which is why marketers must continue to innovate and evolve.