It’s a new day, and there’s a new way to market your products and services. Gone are the old methods of “interruption marketing,” which used mass media to push out your message to a huge audience who, more than likely, just tuned it out. Online marketing has brought the ability to reach customers right to the door of every company, and there are multiple reasons why you should invest in online marketing & join the digital bandwagon:
It’s Where the Customers Are
As of June 2014, 87.7% of adults in the U.S. and Canada are online, according to Internet World Stats. What’s more, 97% of those use online media for local shopping. So the old arguments that “our customers aren’t online” and “we don’t sell internationally” simply don’t hold water any longer.
Reaches a Wider Audience
Because your prospective clients are almost all online, you can reach a much wider audience that you would with any other form of marketing. Traditional forms of advertising have always touted their reader/viewership as bait for marketers, suggesting that you can “reach up to xxx,xxx subscribers.” Well, multiply that by the millions online and it’s clear that even if you aren’t aiming to sell to everyone you can reach, you’ll certainly spread awareness of your brand. Chicago’s high-end online cake store The Cake Girls discovered after their brick and mortar store selling thousand-dollar cakes burned down that there was a far more lucrative market online—because of the wider audience reach.
Competitors Are Doing It
If you’re going to compete, you have to be where the action is. And since the majority of your competitors are probably already marketing online, if you aren’t there you face being sidelined and reduced to irrelevance. Getting online ahead of the pack will give you a significant competitive advantage, too. Besides, being online also gives you the chance to check out what the competition is doing.
It’s More Cost-Effective than Traditional Methods
Yes, it’s true. A 2012 study by HubSpot showed that companies focused on inbound (read: online) marketing have a lower cost per lead of 61% compared with those who still use traditional methods. That’s quite a significant difference, and it means your marketing budget will go so much further.
Everything is Measurable
One of the biggest headaches marketers have had to deal with in the past is measurement of their ROI. It’s difficult to know how successful that expensive new billboard is unless you build in a special offer with a unique identifier, which only measures sales, not awareness. With online marketing, however, the ability to measure results is what makes it a science, according to Forbes. From visitors to your website through to customer feedback, everything truly is measurable.
Generates Data You Can Use
By using the same methods that make your online marketing measurable, you’re able to collect data on your prospects that helps to inform your customers’ typical buying cycle and your company’s sales pipeline. Recording and mining the data helps with your overall business strategy, including specifics such as sales forecasting and merchandise planning.
Brings In Customer Leads
Online marketing helps you to generate “warm” leads rather than cold ones. This gives your sales people a much warmer (pun intended) reception when they make contact that they would have got otherwise, and you’ll achieve more sales as a result.
Reduces Marketing Overhead (Man Hours)
In the old days, getting new business leads was primarily done through cold calling. Back in 2007 it took just 3.68 attempts to reach a prospect; now it takes a whopping 8 attempts, according to Business2Community. By limiting contact to prospects who have already shown an interest in your products and services, you can reduce the number of man hours it takes to achieve sales targets.
Optimizes Your Presence In Search
The whole principle behind inbound marketing is encouraging the customer to come looking for you, when he (or she) has a need to fulfill. With 92% of adult Internet users turning to search engines when they want to make a purchase, you need to be findable in search. Online marketing enables you to optimize your website for search engine indexing and you can work to improve your ranking by reviewing your keywords and content regularly.
Helps Build Credibility
There’s nothing like visibility to make your product or service credible, but getting visibility in traditional media is far from easy. Online marketing gives you the opportunity to develop thought leadership through content marketing, become a published author of an eBook or blog and build a following on social media. All this helps to make you a household name.
Gives You a Strong Online Voice
By building up your online profile you develop a powerful presence in the virtual world. This puts you in a position of influence, enabling you to establish yourself—and your company—as industry experts. You can develop your brand’s personality and humanize your organization by creating buyer personas to target using a one-to-one approach. And if there are industry battles to be fought, having a voice is all-important to enable you to make a difference.
Is More Scalable
Scalability hasn’t always had the strong rep it has nowadays. In the past, when profitability was down often the first thing to go was a “luxury” function like Marketing. Now, however, if you have a few months of a down economy you can simply scale back on your marketing expenditure for a while, unlike the days when you had to pay upfront for a billboard or advertising campaign.
Levels The Playing Fields
Few small and medium-sized enterprises have the funds to compete with the big guys. Online marketing levels the playing fields by making it possible for your company to project itself as a professional organization regardless of size. With equal access to social media marketing, email marketing, website and content marketing, there’s nothing to stop you coming across as strongly as your biggest competitor. Except your self-limitations, of course. We can’t help you with those.