Right. You read that correctly. Online marketing is no longer an option for your business. It’s now a mandatory part of every marketing campaign, whether you have a brick and mortar storefront or a simple website. Those of us who spend our days online know the ins and outs of the online world, but if you’ve been running a retail establishment or offline service business, you may feel a little lost. Let’s try to paint a clearer picture of why online marketing is now critical to your business.
The Elements of Online Marketing
First, let’s clarify what online marketing actually is. Online marketing involves the use of a website (to promote your brand), search engine marketing (to generate traffic from search engines for your website), and content marketing (creating articles for your website and others). Online marketing also involves social media marketing, which includes creating a presence on popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The Web is Where the People Are
Why do you need to use these methods? The truth of the matter is that the public is more connected to technology than ever before. This doesn’t mean that traditional advertising methods – like business cards or print flyers – will no longer work. It just means that you need to focus more of your energies to the avenues the majority of the population are using to find information.
When’s the last time you asked a question that nobody had an answer for? What was the response? They probably told you that you should “Google” your answer. There’s a reason for that response. A large portion of the population will quickly turn to the web for information – whether that’s information about how to complete a project or where the closest Pad Thai restaurant is. The search engines hold the answers and the links all of the sites on the web. Your job is to create an online presence so that when someone wants to buy a widget they’re pointed directly to your widget company website.
Mobile Website Creation
Your main focus should be the creation of a website, where you can publish as much information as possible about your products, services, and brand. You’ll also need to make sure there is a mobile-friendly version of your website for those who are accessing the web from smartphones like the Android, Blackberry, or iPhone. You can’t assume that your regular website will show properly on those screens, and people use their phones to search for information while they’re out and about. If your site doesn’t come up in a readable manner, they’ll just move on to the next site (and location), costing you a sale.
Social Media Presence
Your social media presence is also key. When people aren’t browsing the web, they’re spending hours and hours on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They use these sites to connect with companies and brands they love – and they also use them to complain about the things they don’t like. Your social media presence will help you to spread the word about what you do while at the same time giving you the chance to monitor your reputation and address any potential issues.
Millions of people access the web daily. While your business cards, print ads, and flyers will help you to reach a small portion of the population, your online efforts will ultimately reach a larger audience and will actually cost you a bit less in the long run. Incorporate both methods into your marketing campaign and you’ll see even better results!
About the Author: Emely Semas is a marketing strategist who loves incorporating different elements into small business marketing plans. She’s currently working on a strategy that includes print ads, content creation, and Tatango.com mass texting elements to reach a broad audience.