The growth of online marketing over the last few years has been nothing short of phenomenal. According to HubSpot Blogs research, online marketing budgets have increased by 71% between 2015 and 2018. This growth was especially pronounced among small businesses – those with less than 100 employees – where marketing budgets rose by 83%. Interestingly, the study also found that the average marketing budget for large businesses had decreased by 12%.
This shift shows no signs of slowing down, with experts predicting that by next year, online marketing expenditures will reach $16.82 billion.
The Rise Of Online Marketing
The reason for the growth in online marketing is quite straightforward: the web offers a number of benefits to businesses of all sizes.
The proliferation of smartphones and the Internet have provided consumers with the ability to access information at the tip of their fingers. Thanks to search engines like Google and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, businesses can target the right audience and reach them with marketing messages at the touch of a button.
The growth of SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click advertsing) as primary marketing channels is also testament to the increasing power of the online channel.
The rise of digital marketing also means that businesses can operate globally with a relatively small team. Thanks to the web and innovative marketing tools like HubSpot, a business can have an international office in New York and a customer base on the other side of the world. Marketing a business this way is known as global or local marketing.
Why Should You Believe In The Virtues Of Online Marketing?
With the increased use and power of social media comes a lot of skepticism about the value of offline marketing. For a while, it seemed as though social media was all the rage and traditional marketing was on the decline. However, that hasn’t been the case at all and, in fact, marketing budgets have actually increased on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram.
There are still plenty of reasons why you should believe in the power of offline marketing, even if social media has taken over.
Firstly, not all social media platforms are created equal. For instance, Snapchat is a highly valuable app for businesses, but you’ll need experts to optimize your content for maximum impact.
Secondly, audiences on social media are geographically limited. Thanks to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the proliferation of smartphones, audiences on social media channels are also more affluent. To put it simply, if you can’t communicate with and sell to affluent audiences on social media, then you don’t really need to be there.
Thirdly, while audiences on social media are getting more and more sophisticated, the same can’t be said for everyone. For example, people who use TikTok often find their content cluttered with too many advertisements. The key is to find the sweet spot between being too informal and too professional.
Finally, having a global reach on social media and the Internet makes it much easier to target potential customers regardless of where you are in the world. Thanks to websites like Google Trends and Google Maps, it’s even possible to pinpoint the location of your target audience.
One of the main reasons why you should believe in the virtues of online marketing is because it gives you the flexibility to schedule your adverts. Thanks to automated email campaigns and online forms, you can gather and process information at your convenience. The more you know about your customers the better, which allows you to tailor your approach and messaging to them.
As well as flexibility, the other major virtue of online marketing is cost-effectiveness. In the grand scheme of things, it’s fairly easy to set up automated email campaigns and online forms, resulting in a low total cost of ownership. The potential for cost-effective marketing on the web is endless. You can use tools like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads to get the ball rolling. From there, you can take advantage of all the free tools the platforms offer, like Facebook’s Lead Ads.
The 7 Virtues Of Online Marketing
While the increased use and power of the Internet and social media have made us question the value of traditional marketing, it hasn’t stopped anyone from doing it. As a result, we now have a plethora of marketing tactics to choose from including:
- search engine optimization
- email marketing
- content creation
- landing pages
- growth hacking
- market research
- direct sales
- outbound marketing
- inbound marketing
All of these tactics and more can be used to optimize a business’ online presence, with each one having its own perks.
The first and most obvious virtue of online marketing is creativity. You’ll find virtually every other virtue under this head, but none of them would be possible without the creative input of marketing executives, strategists, and designers.
Marketing is a form of art and, like any other form of art, it requires a certain degree of inspiration. To put it simply, you’ll never be able to innovate, if you don’t come up with any new ideas yourself.
Similarly, you can’t have attractive design without first having a brainwave to implement. To give you an idea of what we mean by creativity, here are a few of the other six virtues we mentioned above:
- growth hacking
- UX design
- graphics design
- UI design
- white-paper writing
We could rattle on about the virtues of creativity for hours, but we’ll stop here. Just remember: without it, nothing in life would be possible.
Intelligence is another vital ingredient in the recipe for online marketing success. Just like creativity, intelligence requires proper motivation and the willingness to learn from experience.
As a business owner or manager, you’ll eventually come across situations where you need to make an important decision. To do that, you’ll want to gather as much information as possible, including what others say about the subject matter and whether or not you’ve had any experience with it before.
Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing. After you’ve made the decision, you can implement it and analyze the results to see how well it worked out.
Those who lack intelligence sometimes get so absorbed in routine that they fail to see the big picture. To give you an example of this, let’s say you’re a plumber and your company installs bathroom appliances. One day, a customer calls you to ask how the plumbing in her house is working, as she’s never had any problems before. Without thinking, you say, “Well, I can’t really help you, as I don’t do bathrooms.” Even if you’ve done plenty of plumbing in the past, it’s still a rookie mistake to not consider what is motivating the customer to call you in the first place. This is especially important if you ever plan on expanding your business to other cities or states.
Like creativity and intelligence, resourcefulness takes proper motivation and proper learning, but it also requires proper guidance. To put it another way, you won’t be able to show initiative if you don’t know how to find the things you need to complete a task.
Imagine you’re the CEO of a small business and you’ve just got a new computer system. It took you half the day to set it up, but now that it’s running, you can’t figure out how to use it effectively. You’ve got all these programs and settings and pop-ups and you don’t know where to start. What then? You could contact tech support and get some help, but that’ll cost you money you don’t have.
The solution is to be resourceful and, for the first few days, make a list of all the things you need to do. Then, you can start working your way through it. When you run into problems, you’ll have all the necessary knowledge you need to fix it. This is also referred to as being “Google-smart”—being able to easily find the information you need to complete a task.