How do you know whether investing in an online marketing campaign would pay off for your small business? Should you really spend time and money on promoting your company on the Internet?
The short answer is – yes. And, if the fact that we’re living in a world with 4.2 billion global Internet users, each of which spends around 6 hours per day online, didn’t convince you just yet, keep reading. Find out why a successful online marketing campaign can skyrocket your business growth!
But, wait. What is “online marketing” actually?
Online marketing is a of digital marketing, the latter standing for any marketing activities that use digital devices – including TV and radio. Businesses use various online channels to target new and existing customers, drive sales, and achieve many other specific goals, such as increasing the number of website visits, app downloads, social media followers or inbound links.
For now, the most popular ways to promote a business online are:
- Search engine marketing or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing,
- Search engine optimization aka SEO (for natural or organic results),
- Social media marketing,
- Email marketing,
- Content marketing,
- Affiliate marketing.
As you can see, opportunities galore! You can use paid advertising or focus heavily on free marketing tactics, such as content marketing (although, given that you need a strong team of writers and designers, this form of marketing isn’t free of cost either). However, most of us recommend combining free and paid marketing solutions for maximum results. This way, you can test out different strategies and approaches, and later on, invest in the one (or more) that represents your business, as well as desired audiences the best.
Ok, I get the basics, what else?
Online marketing campaigns, when properly managed, can turn your small business into a bigger small business! Let’s see why you need to launch one.
- You get more focus and direction
When planning an online marketing strategy, you get to learn more about your business as you need to be explicit about your goals, action plan, and steps required to get you through your plan to the desired goals. A good marketing plan asks for definite answers, analytical thinking, and clear instructions. Otherwise, you’d be lost, not knowing whom to target and how, let alone where and how much resources to dedicate. All of this further helps your business by giving you more directions as you go along. Everything is tracked online, so you’ll have plenty of data to analyze, and adapt your strategy accordingly.
- You can improve online reputation
Everybody’s online today. And people do more than listening to music or watching movies. They use online information to make purchase decisions: studies say that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, while 91% of them use search engine to find information on the web. Since 93% of searchers never go past the first page, it’s crucial that you rank high in search engine results – hence the need for search engine optimization, paid-per-click ads, as well as outstanding content and online reputation! You need to polish up your image as you certainly don’t want to be one of the businesses likely to lose over 70% of their customers due to negative or false information.
Online marketing is powerful at this stage, whether it be blogging, email or paid advertising. Use these channels to position yourself and represent your business the way it really is. If there are many negative reviews, reach out to those users and try to fix their issues. Others will then see how much you care about your customers, and start to trust you more.
- You become more reachable
Closely linked to online reputation, an effective brand recognition is guaranteed if people can recognize your business and contact you for any matter of their interest. Marketing your business online helps you interact with your customers, but also reach new audience. You can also retarget people who visited your website or social media account, but didn’t convert. This is a great opportunity to personalize content in order to get them further down the marketing funnel.
Additionally, with increased online presence, you’ll become more valued, because, let’s be honest, people are less likely to trust a business with no online visibility. If your company’s name pops in every now and then when people use Google to search for specific terms related to your business, or in their Facebook feed after they’ve browsed products on Amazon you also happen to sell, they will become aware of you. They will either click and convert, or find you directly. They might give you a call for a free quote, visit the app store to see what your app is all about or check out the reviews on social media – or elsewhere. See how it works? It’s fantastic!
- You can interact and be in control more
Customer engagement is one of the key elements of a successful business – as long as they talk, all is fine. With a smart online marketing campaign, you increase your chances of people wanting to do business with you! You can show special sales with Google Ads, create and promote related blog articles via Facebook, or share short, captivating videos of people using your products on Instagram, while including interesting text to start a conversation with the people you’re targeting.
More people will then reach out to you, which, in turn, gives you more control over your business. As you’ll be able to find out what everyone’s talking about more easily, you could use that information to your advantage to create a positive image.
Practically, you’d be in control of whom your ads target; moreover, you’d be in control of your content. You’d be able to prove any mean comments wrong. You’d be able to discreetly create the image of your business you want people to be aware of.
- You can learn and optimize constantly
As said, online marketing campaigns are easily monitored. You can use analytical tools to measure your key marketing metrics, including return on investment (ROI). These tools let you see how many visits your website gets, which pages are the most popular (per page views), how long people stick around, how quickly they leave (bounce rate), but also whether there were any conversions. Conversions are completed activities or goals that measure the success of your business marketing campaign. When properly set, these goals can show you how much each marketing effort contributes to the overall growth.
All of this, in turn, helps you understand your audience better, see what works and not, and find alternative ways to promote and grow your business. For example, if you notice that a current ad doesn’t lead to many newsletter signups, you can change its form, copy or creatives used to advertise.
You could also be targeting wrong people. It’s very important to be as precise as possible when defining your target audience – especially if you’re hiring an external online marketing specialist, who must understand both your business and customers.
On the more practical side, use comments and reviews to see what people think about your business, products, and services. Are people saying your customer service is hopeless? Assess and train your people! Is everyone complaining your barista makes smoothies that taste like baby food? Either discuss this with him or hire a new one!
Online marketing campaigns allow you to gather even more information as your online presence is improved. Use it to reap the benefits search engine and social media advertising platforms offer.
To sum up, whatever online marketing tactic you decide to choose, your small business will benefit from it. Not only will you be able to learn about your customers, and improve the way you communicate your purpose, but you will also be able to attract more people and market your products and services to anyone potentially interested in them.
If you don’t have an internal team to manage your online marketing campaign, hiring an external online marketing agency would be a great solution to grow your business. If you want to learn more, contact us today for a free consultation.