What is online marketing, and what does it mean for your business?
Marketing is a broad term often used for the combination of advertising and PR to drive brand identity, recognition, and ultimately, sales. How you market yourself determines your results, and those results are driven by strategy.
Traditional marketing often encompasses anything used by companies prior to the existence of the internet. Brochures, print advertisements, TV commercials – these are all older forms of branding and creating campaigns. One of the most famous (albeit controversial) marketing campaigns of all time – Da Beers Diamonds – proved how messaging can ultimately redefine how you sell your product.
Da Beers created the slogan “Diamonds are Forever,” branding the idea in the 1930s that their diamonds should be used as a symbol of love and marriage. Before that, diamonds weren’t even used for engagement rings. This is just an example of the power branding and marketing has to create narratives about your product, driving your sales. The internet has changed the way we do everything, and marketing is no excuse. Making brand presence online is now vital to driving sales, and there are several ways to do this successfully.
Types of Online Marketing
Website – Your company’s website is often the first line of contact, and should be informative while remaining concise. Don’t overload with text, and keep links easily accessible.
Targeted Ads – Targeted ads, like Google ads, are easy to use and fairly cheap marketing tools that follow your customers once they’ve visited your website. Once someone has expressed interest in your products, you can use Google AdSense to make sure your customers stay interested. Google has changed the advertising game, and with their AdWords and AdSense. AdSense is the service that shows ads for your business on related sites or after someone visits your site (retargeting). They’re highly customizable and controllable, which is part of what makes them so appealing.
Emails – Email campaigns are some of the simplest and most traditional ways to reel in customers and let them know what you’re about, so if you already have an email audience, using this to create a newsletter or advertisements could be beneficial. Email ads aren’t new, but they are incredibly effective. Emailing has a median ROI of 122% – this is four-times higher than other marketing formats, including social media, direct mail and paid search ads. It’s likely that you already use email to communicate with your customers, so creating marketing campaigns with them can be quick and easy.
Social Media – It’s not breaking news that we live in an increasingly social media-centric world, and many people get the majority of their news, advertisements and products through it. Often, businesses must pivot their advertising to target these people and businesses.
In 2018, Hootsuite (a social media management website) reported that there are over 2.9 billion active social media users in the world, and that’s up 13% from 2017. Facebook has consistently been the most popular, with Youtube being second-most popular. When you post on your company’s Facebook page, it’s estimated it can reach 10.7% more people than your current number of followers – and in business, the more people you reach, the better.
SEO – Unfortunately, sometimes it’s all about the ranks. With SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, you can somewhat control how high your site is ranked in searches. There are several ways to do this, but often it includes repeating keywords and phrases across page content.
Goals of Marketing your Small Business
Keep a solid brand – Keep your branding consistent across all platforms. This makes your product and brand recognizable. There’s a reason why sports teams have colors – to make people think of the team whenever they see it. The University of North Carolina has a specific HEX code of their signature Carolina Blue (#7BAFD4). While there are many other variations of blue that look like Carolina Blue, the purpose behind keeping it the same on all of their online platforms means it’s immediately recognizable. It’s right on brand.
As for a company that has mastered keeping a consistent brand, look at The Wing. They’re a coworking space specifically for women, and across all digital platforms (social, website, email, etc), they have a clear and obvious brand. All of their posts have the same design, style, colors and graphics, along with the same messaging. This makes them recognizable, and “known for” a specific thing – and that’s the point of branding.
Know your audience – The Wing, again, knows their audience. Young, professional women. Their branding has a young and professional feel, which remaining feminine, bright and minimalist. They know their millennial cohort, and they’re catering to it. All online marketing should be made with your audience in mind. If you’re selling car parts, don’t put a cake on your logo.
If you have the ability to collect basic information on your customers, use that information to shape your brand strategy. Google Analytics can do this for you. If most of your customers live in one state, focus your targeting ads there. If you’re a B2B company that has an older demographic reach, investing a lot of time and money into Instagram marketing might not be the best move. Know your audience, and know what they like. It’s now easier than ever to collect analytics and understand your audience, and online marketing gives you a chance to target them directly.
Retaining customers – You don’t just want to recruit customers, you want to keep them. This goes beyond targeting marketing. Word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to bring in business, and keeping your products and business on your customers’ minds is a way to do that. How do you achieve that with online marketing? Emails. Once someone buys your products, you can send them emails detailing other products or services. This creates retention.
Clear objectives – You obviously know what you’re selling, but do you know why you’re selling it? In order to make your products memorable, you have to make the messaging consistent. What are you trying to achieve? How will your customers benefit? Keep that clear in your mind. The problem you’re trying to solve is your biggest objective, and everything else is just a side-effect of that.
Again, take The Wing as an example of clear, online branding. The Wing is a coworking space for women only, and they have crisp, clear objectives that are obvious from the moment you click onto their site – “The Wing’s mission is the professional, civic, social, and economic advancement of women through community.”
The ultimate goal of all your online marketing should relay the same message, over and over again, in new and creative ways. Think of it as train tracks – the train always runs on the same tracks. There could be hundreds of stops along the way, but the train doesn’t ever change its course, or leave its tracks. All of your messaging should run parallel to your ultimate objective.
FaaStrak is a company giving you tools to market your company online, no matter what you’re selling. They see the value in helping customers take advantage of powerful advertising tools, and want to help them reach the marketing goals described above. They’ve created a custom digital graphic building tool that’s simple and easy for anyone to use, not just their own customers. Click here to use their site to create your own marketing graphics, all for online marketing.
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