The internet has truly changed the way we work, play, and communicate. It’s opened up new opportunities for marketers, allowing you to get in front of potential customers when they’re already searching for your products or services.
As the internet of things continues to evolve, new methods of marketing will emerge, enabling brands to engage with customers in entirely new ways.
What Is Online Marketing (Plus Points and Minuses)?
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already somewhat familiar with online marketing. Chances are, you’ve even participated in some form of online marketing, whether you’re a marketer, social media influencer, or content creator.
But what is online marketing, exactly?
Broadly speaking, online marketing is the promotion of products or services using digital marketing tools and platforms, such as search engines, social media, email marketing, and mobile applications.
While there are many advantages to digital marketing (such as the ability to reach a massive audience), there are also some drawbacks. To help you figure out if digital marketing is the right fit for your business, let’s take a quick look at some of the plus points and minuses of this type of marketing.
One of the things Twitter user @markfguarisco credits his success to is the reach of his tweets. According to the Twitter Data Analytics Guide, his average engagement rate is 35% and his daily retweets average 15.3k per day. That’s a lot of potential customers.
While having a large reach is definitely a perk of online marketing, you need to keep in mind that there are drawbacks, too.
The first is that unless you have a very large social media following (which you might not even have yet), your reach is going to be limited to the people who are already on your platform of choice. That’s a definite perk for marketers who are already on social media, but if you’re looking to grow your email list, you’re going to have to rely on traditional marketing to achieve that goal.
The second drawback is that while we’re thankful that the internet has provided us with the ability to connect with millions of people (just remember the adage “it’s not what you say, but how you say it”), there are times when we as humans can’t help but be influenced by stereotypes and generalizations.
For example, men typically buy more products than women when they’re shopping online. So, if your product or service is geared toward men, you’re going to see a higher conversion rate if you use gender-specific marketing language or phrases.
If you notice, most product names, website URLs, and social media handles are usually created to be short and catchy. Although it’s tempting to use an abbreviation or a nickname instead of the full name of a brand, doing so can potentially hurt your SEO. Having a longer URL is usually better because it looks more “natural” to a human eye. But if you want to go the extra mile, you can use the “nofollow” attribute to reduce the SEO impact of a specific link, especially if it’s a bad link. You can also use services like Google My Business to get your business’ website and social media feeds onto one account, and manage your social media content across various platforms.
One of the biggest perks of digital marketing is that you can target your audience. Whether you want to reach fans of a certain band or you want to engage with people who live in a certain region, you can do so through digital marketing.
So, as a marketer, you have the ability to target your audience based on something they’re interested in or have an experience with. For example, if you notice that a lot of your leads are coming from Pinterest users, you can determine that you’re targeting the right audience by creating content that’s relevant to them.
The downside is that since you’re essentially narrowing your audience, you’re decreasing the chances of someone finding your content organically. That’s why you should try to limit the amount of targeted traffic you send to your site. Instead, focus on reaching as many people as possible with your content. You can also use services like Google Adsense to gain monetization without having to target a specific audience.
Another perk of digital marketing is that through the use of social media, you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry. The more you participate in social media, the more you’ll be regarded as an authority in your industry. As an expert, you’re going to become the go-to person for your industry.
So, while it’s certainly beneficial to establish your personal brand online, it’s also important to do the same in person, as well. By participating in industry events, conferences, and meetups, you can further establish yourself as an expert in your industry. And when others see you as an expert, they’re more likely to believe you when you say your product or service is good.
The downside is that just because you’re regarded as an expert in your industry, it doesn’t mean that your customers agree. In fact, according to HubSpot Blogs research, customers in your industry are significantly less likely to recommend your products. So, if you want to succeed as an online marketer, you need to make sure that your customers feel that they’re getting something valuable when they make a purchase from you.
Traditional Versus Digital Marketing
Nowadays, many businesses successfully integrate online and offline marketing, using tools like Google Analytics to collect data about their digital and traditional marketing efforts.
However, that doesn’t mean that one approach is better than the other. In fact, historically, offline marketing has always operated in parallel with online marketing. You can use traditional marketing, such as advertising and retail marketing, to reach new customers and potential customers.
So, while online marketing might be the modern-day mode of operation for businesses, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of the tried-and-true methods of marketing, either.
Which Ones Should I Be Using?
So, which types of marketing should you pursue? Should you focus on digital or traditional marketing? Or should you integrate the two?
That largely depends on your personal style and what you want to focus on. For example, if you have a strong digital marketing background but are looking to branch out into retail or advertising, you might want to consider those options. However, if your expertise is more in the area of media and content, then you might want to consider an integration of the two.
The most important thing is that you pick a path that you feel comfortable with and that suits your business goals. Just remember – not all “perfect” road maps are created equal. You might need to experiment or adjust as you go.