What’s Online Marketing?

You have a product. Maybe you made it yourself, maybe you found someone else who made it and you bought it, or maybe it’s even already on the market. Regardless, you have something for people to buy. Now what?

You’ve built a product, gained some traction with a few customers, and garnered lots of positive buzz. You’ve opened the gates to the internet, connected with potential customers all over the world, and taken the first step on the road to building your empire.

But now what?

Do you stop there? Or do you keep going?

What’s the next step? How do you continue growing and expanding your business?

If you said, “I’m going to sit back and let my sales speak for me,” you’ve officially got yourself a problem.

Because right now, your sales are probably pretty low. People aren’t knocking down your door to buy your product or service. Even those who would consider buying your product aren’t exactly sure what it is yet or know what features and specs they should look for.

Now is the time to bring in the expert. That’s you. The on-the-job trainer. The individual who is already walking the walk. The person who has the experience.

The one thing you need to do is educate the potential customers about your product. You want to turn them into advocates. People who are willing to tell the world about the awesome features and benefits of your product. People who will happily shout your praises from the rooftops.

But how do you do that? How do you reach out to these customers and let them know about your product?

You can’t simply throw up a blog or put a link on your social media accounts. Because guess what? Chances are, those customers didn’t even know you existed. They might never have heard of your company or brand.

Which is why you need to take the time to find forums and communities where your target audience gathers. Where they discuss relevant topics. Where your product fits in with the conversation. Where they can learn about your product and hopefully, one day, buy it.

Let’s back up a bit. What is online marketing?

Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes for a moment. What is your normal day like? How do you spend your time?

If you’re like most people, you probably wake up, rush to work, and spend the rest of the day doing your job and pursuing your business goals. You get a break from work, maybe you eat dinner with your family, and then it’s time for bed. Perhaps you get a bit of work done before bed, but it’s not regular work and it doesn’t leave you with time to do anything else.

All of this might seem pretty mundane, but that’s what makes it so important. Your daily routine, the stuff that you do without thinking, is what makes up your life. And the same goes for your target audience. So, what do you do to entertain yourself during this time?

What do you normally do?

If you’re not sure, take a guess. Chances are, it’s a combination of watching TV, reading the news, surfing the internet, and listening to podcasts. Sound about right?

Now, even though you have regular hours, you don’t have exactly the same amount of time. Sometimes you might have more, sometimes you might have less. But, generally, you do have enough time to engage with your target audience on social media.

What does that mean?

It means that you have a little bit of extra time every day. Maybe even a few hours. And even though your schedule is packed, you can carve out a few minutes to respond to a customer, check in on social media, or engage with another business owner.

So, what does that have to do with online marketing?

It’s simple. Instead of doing one of the above during your downtime, why not try doing all three? During those few hours, you can engage with your target audience and grow your business. Instead of passively consuming content, you’re now able to engage with potential customers and let them know all about your product or service. And you can even grow your followers and fan base so that, when you do have free time, you’ve got a ready-made audience to pull content from.

Let’s put this into practice. For the next few days, try taking a different approach during your down time. Instead of watching TV or reading the news, why not try doing something else? If you absolutely must entertain yourself, why not try a game or a hobby? If you’re a tech-savvy person, you can always try out a new app or software that will improve your life. Or, if you’re into photography, you can always try out a new piece of photographic equipment or software. There’s a plethora of choices that can be educational or entertaining. So, find something that can teach you something new or that you can use to improve your life and then dive in.

How To Use This Time Well

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge. You’ve decided to use your newfound free time to educate yourself about online marketing. Or, maybe you’ve decided to take a break from your job and follow your passion. Either way, it’s great that you’ve found that little bit of extra time. But, now what?

Even though you have those few extra hours every day, you still need to make the most of them. There are proven ways to market your business effectively while still keeping your day-to-day routine. And, as a business owner, it’s your duty to make the most of those precious few hours. To take advantage of this new found free time and do whatever it takes to drive more sales.

The first step is to get inspired. Look at other businesses in your same industry for inspiration. How do they approach marketing? What do you love about their campaigns and what do you hate? Use your answers to help you figure out how you want to approach your own marketing. Or, look at other industries for inspiration. What are their secrets to success? Which approach do you think you’ll use in your campaign?

Once you’ve got your answers, it’s time to move forward. Decide which platforms you’ll use to spread the word about your product. Bear in mind the demographics you’re aiming at and whether you’ll use paid advertising or focus on organic reach. Think about whether you want to use social media, email marketing, or a combination of the two. Remember to treat marketing as a long-term investment and not a short-term expense.

Build A Marketing Strategy

Now that you’ve got your strategy in mind, it’s time to build a marketing plan. A plan that will help you carry out your strategy and drive more sales. Think of everything you’ve learned so far and decide which tools and tactics you’ll use to get the job done. If you’re totally new to the concept of marketing, it might be a good idea to read a bit about marketing strategy first. So, even if you’ve got experience, it never hurts to learn more.

With your plan in mind, it’s time to get to work. First, educate yourself about marketing. Learn as much as you can about your target audience and how to reach them. Then, take some time to do research on your competitors, their pricing, and the like. If you’re looking for a complete rundown of everything you need to know about marketing, check out our guide to the essentials of marketing strategy.

Measure And Iterate

Finally, you’ve got a plan. A solid plan that you’ve built with the help of God and others. A plan that you’re happy with and that you know will help you drive more sales. Awesome!