The internet has created new opportunities for businesses, allowing them to reach hundreds of thousands of potential consumers with a single click of a button. While this may be appealing, it’s important to note that being online isn’t necessarily beneficial for all businesses. In fact, some research suggests that there’s a big difference in business outcomes between online marketers and offline marketers.
What is Online Marketing?
For those unfamiliar, online marketing is simply marketing activities (such as paid advertising) that rely solely on digital platforms (such as search engines, social networks, and browser extensions) to reach potential customers. In other words, it’s marketing done online.
The most popular and effective methods of online marketing are listed below.
Paid search, sometimes called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is one of the most popular and proven methods of online marketing and can be highly effective. In paid search, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You don’t need to have high traffic to be effective in paid search – in fact, you can use tools like Google Adwords to find the right audience for your product or service and then target them with ads.
Paid search can be effective for any industry, but it’s particularly useful for e-commerce businesses as it allows them to target potential customers who are already searching for a product that they need. When someone clicks on an ad, they usually find what they’re looking for within seconds and are then taken to a landing page where they can make a purchase or continue searching the website for more products.
One of the major benefits of paid search is that you get to see how well your ad campaigns are performing in real time. You can track your clicks, conversions, and revenue in Google Ads from any dashboard or in the Analytics platform.
While many focus on the effectiveness of online ads in terms of click-throughs and conversions, display advertising is also very useful in terms of generating interest and buzz around a brand/product.
To display ads on a website, you’ll need to work with a company that specializes in online advertising. Once you have a signed contract with a display advertising company, they will show your ads on popular websites and blogs across the internet. To be effective, your ad needs to be displayed in a manner that it stands out above the rest of the ads on the page. To make sure your ads are noticed, you’ll need to research popular content pages in your niche and then devise an ad strategy that will draw clicks.
One of the advantages of display ads is that you can target specific groups of people based on interest. For example, if your company sells shoes, you can target women between the ages of 25 and 45 who are interested in casual shoes.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing, which includes everything from posting on social media to engaging with your followers, is another very effective and popular method of online marketing. Your social media strategy is probably one of the most important aspects of your marketing plan and can have a significant impact on your business’ growth.
The most popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. These platforms give you the ability to create and engage with audiences across the globe. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 72% of business owners believe that “building an audience” is one of the most important factors for marketing success.
To make sure your audience is engaged and interested in what you have to say, you’ll need to consistently bring value to your content.
In the same way that paid search and display ads can be used to target consumers who are already searching for your product or service, social media allows you to target potential customers who are already engaged with your brand.
One of the major benefits of SMM is that you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry and gain credibility.
Email marketing, or sending newsletters via email, is another effective and popular method of online marketing. Just remember that people are much less likely to open your email and read your entire message than they are to click a link in your email. So be sure to include a call to action (such as “Click here to learn more”) in your email to ensure that your recipients take specific action – such as signing up for your newsletter or making a purchase. Also, make sure that you send emails at the right time – that is, when your target audience is most likely to be interested in your message.
Last but not least, we have content marketing, or creating and curating content that appeals to a consumer like you.
Thought leaders in your industry are often asked to write articles and create videos to help drive interest and engagement in your product or service. For example, if you’re a fashion blogger, you might be asked to write an article for a fashion website about the importance of finding the right shoes for your body type.
Why should someone read your article? First, you’ll be providing them with valuable information about a subject they’re interested in. Second, you’ll be building credibility by associating your name with trusted sources.
One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is that it can be very cost-effective. You can create content that is suitable for multiple platforms and channels and then distribute it for free.
The major downsides of content marketing are that it can be very time-consuming and requires a lot of research to ensure that your content is of value.
Why Is Offline Marketing Still Popular?
Despite the many benefits of online marketing, it’s clear that not everyone has the time to devote to digital marketing. For instance, 80% of small businesses owners would rather use their free time to work on growing their business rather than developing their social media presence.
If you own a business that relies heavily on face-to-face interaction, then it’s important to remember that there are still significant benefits to be gained from offline marketing.
The primary reason why offline marketing is still popular is that it’s still relatively easy to do. You don’t need to be technologically-savvy to be effective in offline marketing and can use tactics that have been used for decades.
For example, it’s well-established that people are more likely to purchase goods and services from individuals and businesses that they’ve met in person. This is why, when you walk into a store, you’ll usually see names and faces attached to the products – rather than just numbers. This phenomenon is known as “familiarity breeds respect.”
Respect is earned. To respect someone, you must show that you’ve considered their point-of-view and have done something to earn it – such as making a decent product or providing good service. This is why it’s often said that “you can’t buy respect.”
However, in terms of gaining interest and appeal, the internet has created a world of opportunity where anyone can become popular overnight. If you’re looking to gain credibility, establish your expertise, or just want to become well-known for your work, then you should consider creating content for the internet.
Which Method of Marketing Should You Use?
Now that you have a general idea of the different theories behind marketing, you can choose the right method for your industry and business objectives. While it’s ideal to use all three methods of marketing (paid search, display advertising, and social media), if you’re short on time or money, you might have to settle for one or two.
If your budget allows, go for paid search and display ads. You can use social media to build credibility and gain interest, but it might be a good idea to leave the monetization to the professionals – you don’t want to jeopardize your hard-earned credibility by trying to make a profit off your work.
Deciding which method of marketing to use is not nearly as complicated as you’d think and depends on your industry and business goals. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re just getting started, you might want to use paid search and display ads. As your business grows, you might want to look into more comprehensive strategies that will take advantage of all three.