A recent Pew Research study found that 81% of American adults go online once a day, and 28% report being “constantly” online. Chances are your potential customers are hanging out online right now.
That’s why the marketing of yesterday (think billboards, newspapers, and flyers) is no longer the most efficient way to get your brand noticed. Particularly for this generation, online marketing is most effective advertising as everyone typically has easy access to the Internet.
If you’re like many of our clients, striving to market their small business in a digitized society, you’re facing a pretty steep learning curve. But don’t worry – we’ve got you. With the right support, we’ve seen clients go from stressed and overwhelmed to confident and savvy.
Here’s what you need to know about online marketing to get started.
First, let’s start with some theory. Whether they’re scrolling through their Facebook feed, getting updates from news sites and blog posts, or searching Google for a product or service they need, it’s very likely that your customers are online right this second. By leveraging online marketing channels and tactics, you’ll be able to get in front of them to promote and sell your product or services.
When you’re starting out, it’s helpful to pick just one or two platforms to begin with. Choose the platforms that you think your target audience is on right now. As with all marketing efforts, the more targeted, the better. We’ll cover the basics of the most popular online marketing tactics: content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and search marketing.
The best way to think of content marketing is as high-quality, value-packed storytelling. By creating, publishing, and distributing content for your audience online, you’ll be able to:
- Generate brand awareness and attract leads
- Expand your customer base
- Increase customer engagement
- Build brand credibility
And most importantly, you’ll be able to make sales while you sleep! For some of you, this will be hard to believe. But according to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of people rather learn about your brand via an article than an ad. Even The New York Times has reported that native advertisements perform as well as the newspaper’s own content.
Ultimately, content marketing gives your brand a perceivable identity and approachable voice to build trust with prospective customers. Telling your brand story and enriching your target audience’s lives in blog posts, articles, case studies, ebooks, or podcasts is a high-performing strategy to market your business.
Is this right for me?
More than 85% of brands use content marketing, so it’s likely that this tactic will work for your brand, too. It’s easier than you think to get started. Remember, content marketing is really just storytelling from your brand.
Now, let’s move on to email marketing. (Which is essentially an application of content marketing.)
Email marketing is the tactic of sending various types of content via email to your list of subscribers. By appearing in their inbox, you are establishing direct contact with your customers. Now, there are a few key things to remember when starting a email marketing campaign:
- Make sure you have permission to contact your customer list via email
- Get your customers to whitelist your email, so your hard efforts don’t end up in the spam folder
- Experiment with different subject lines and optimize toward the copy that drives results
Is this right for me?
The latest data suggests that the median return on investment for email marketing is 122%. Plus, email marketing services make it easier than ever to manage your contact list, strategically segment users, and track the performance of your emails.
Before we move on to social media marketing and search marketing, it’s important to note that your message is 45 times more likely to be seen using email than Facebook. Recent statistics show that, on average, 4% of visits from email marketing campaigns convert, while only 2% of visitors from search engines and less than 1% of visitors from social media convert.
Now, please don’t take this as us telling you that social media marketing and search marketing isn’t worth learning about or not right for your business – the truth is, we don’t know. But we do know that finding the right online marketing channel for your business will have a direct, positive impact on your bottom line.
Social media marketing
Like email marketing, social media marketing is another application of content marketing. Planning, creating, sharing, and publishing great content on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn is another online marketing tactic that will help your business authentically connect with your target audience. Social media marketing is great strategy for brands, as it allows you to:
- Listen to and engage with audience
- Drive new, untapped website traffic
- Build brand voice and showcase brand values
- Promote your business on a tremendous scale
The numbers are clear – almost 80% of U.S. Internet users are on Facebook, and more than half get their news updates from social media.
Is this right for me?
Digital marketing thought leaders say that if you’re not using social media marketing already, you need to learn it now or you’ll lose out in the long run. If you can strategize, produce, and share thumb-stopping content, then social media marketing is worth a try.
We could spend the rest of 2020 telling you about all the online marketing channels and tactics, but, we’re big believers in the 80/20 rule. Also known as the Pareto principle, we believe that 80% of your results will come from 20% of what you do. And, as you’ll likely find, this is directly applicable to online marketing campaigns, particularly search marketing.
The trick to a successful search marketing campaign is using the right keywords. In our experience managing search marketing campaigns, the Pareto principle is in full effect – 20% of keywords often drive 80% of revenue. That’s why you’ll want to do keyword research using tools like Google Trends and SEMRush. When you’ve compiled your ideal, low-competition and high-relevance keywords, you’ll create ads that will appear on the search engine results pages when someone types in a query containing those specific terms.
On a pay-per-click basis, you’ll attract extremely qualified users, as they have already demonstrated interest with their search query. The best part about search marketing is that impressions are free! Because you only pay per click, whenever someone searches your keywords, but doesn’t click, you still get free eyeballs on your ad.
Is this right for me?
Depending on the keywords you choose, search marketing can get pretty pricey. Unlike social media marketing, you’ll have to spend money on your search marketing campaigns. But, pay-per-click visitors are 50% more likely to make a purchase than visitors from organic search, which can very quickly result in a lucrative return on investment. You should strongly consider search marketing if your business:
- Has a high customer value
- Services an extremely targeted audience
- Needs a boost in visibility
- Invests in website UX
With online marketing tactics, strategic planning and focus is crucial. To make this work for your business, you must have clear goals and a strategy to achieve them.
So, where do I go from here?
If your head is spinning and you know you don’t have the bandwidth to successfully executive online marketing campaigns, rest assured that we are here to help.
We know how difficult it can be for non-marketers to learn to grow their business online, with confidence. Some people don’t even know how to start. That’s why we developed this quiz that helps you identify the smartest steps you can take right now to get your company to the next level. Take our quiz, now!