Understanding Online Marketing
Online marketing is the process of making maximum use of web-based content to spread messages about an organization’s brand, products, and services to potential customers. The most common methods and techniques used in online marketing include e-mail, display advertising, social media, Google AdWords, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The major goal of online marketing is to make the business reach a wide audience through online channels used by them, where they spend time searching, socializing, reading and shopping.
The adoption of the internet in a widespread way for business-related as well as personal use is seen to be generating new channels that are useful for marketing and advertising engagement, and it includes all the methods mentioned above. Furthermore, there are many plus points as well as challenges for online marketing that mainly make use of digital mediums for attracting, engaging and converting visitors into potential customers.
The strategies of online marketing are usually different from those of traditional marketing which includes marketing mediums such as print, television, billboard, radio advertisements, etc.
Before the commencement of online marketing channels, the cost of marketing the products and services of business was very expensive and often difficult to be measured as the business expands. Most of the national ad campaigns in TV were measured through customer focus groups for determining the level of awareness for the brand; all of these methods were not suited for controlled experimentation.
Nowadays, most online businesses participate in online marketing through strategies such as creating a website and building campaigns for customer acquisition at a very low cost. Businesses that market products and services also can experiment with a lot of optimization techniques to fine-tune the ROI and efficiency of the campaigns they put forward.
Benefits of Online Marketing
One of the major benefits of using online marketing channels for a business is that it can measure the impact of a given channel, and also how users/visitors interact with a website. Of users who get converted into potential customers, many detailed analyses can be carried out for determining which of the channels are effective to acquire customers.
The analytics for web or mobile app experience are beneficial in determining the following factors –
- which of the marketing channels bring in most effectiveness in for converting more visitors into potential customers for a business, based on the rate of conversion of visitors into customers.
- which are the most effective channels for attaining and maintaining a higher value of life for customers which encourage repeat purchases from prior customers.
- which group of customers show strong behavior of engagement and potential for upsells which expect to sell products to consumers who are highly engaged in a particular business.
Tools for Online Marketing
Various tools are used in building and maintaining a great online marketing program. A few of them include email marketing, display advertising, social media marketing, events and webinars, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), website optimization, A/B testing, content marketing, marketing automation, video marketing, marketing analytics, etc. Customer relationship management, LinkedIn Ads, content management system, affiliate marketing, pay-per-click, etc. are also some of the popular tools used for online marketing.
Examples of Online Marketing
Some of the common examples of campaigns relating to online marketing are:
Canon advertises while searching keywords related to “photography” on Yahoo, Google as well as Bing search engines for marketing their cameras to a wide audience to drive traffic to a webpage.
Whole Foods collect email addresses on their site which helps them create an email list that can be used for advertising their new products, events, and sales in stores.
Dove creates video advertisements for sharing it with their audience on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote conversation about their products.
Bite Beauty partners approach influencers for promoting their new products to their target audience of beauty enthusiasts.
Even though the strategies of online marketing helps in creating as many opportunities as possible to grow the presence of a business through the internet, various challenges also come along with it. Initially, marketing can be impersonal because of the virtual nature of the message. Marketers must reframe their strategies for online marketing after having a strong understanding of the needs and preferences of their customers. Different techniques such as surveys, in-person conversations, and user training could be adopted to understand the user experience in a better way.
Online marketing strategies can also be competitive. Even though the opportunities available to provide services in various markets is empowering, there can also be significant competition in the market. The businesses that invest in online marketing could find it difficult to catch the attention of visitors because of the overwhelming number of businesses in the market that try to market their products and services. Therefore, marketers need to develop a fine balance to build a brand voice and unique value proposition while testing and building more campaigns for marketing using various marketing channels.
Ways to Get Started
The first and foremost step of getting started in online marketing is to understand and evaluate your goals to make it measurable as you go further. You would then need to choose comfortable ways to build an online presence that can help you to achieve your goals and to create the corresponding marketing strategies for the channels. You might mostly need to set up a site for e-commerce. If you are interested in blogging, you can look forward to setting up a blog for driving awareness to customers. For this, you would have to strategize on how to create content that stands out from your competitors, which would get encouraged to be shared on social media platforms.
You can also look forward to partnering with customers who are willing to engage in your business, and also in creating a case study. Creating a website or a landing page that has a forum to capture leads can be beneficial for you to generate traffic to your business. An analytics platform such as Google, which is free can be helpful for you to measure your marketing and tracking efforts towards the initial goal of your business.
Online marketing is also popularly known as internet marketing, digital marketing, search engine marketing, and web marketing whereas internet advertising and online advertising are techniques that are involved in online marketing – they are not in any way synonymous with the term online marketing.