Online marketing is simply the use of the internet to advertise and market goods and services to consumers through promotional marketing messages. It includes Search Engine Marketing (promotion of a website by increasing its detectability using search engine optimization), Social Media Marketing ( use of social media platforms and website to promote a product or service), Display advertising( banner advertisements and rich media display that relies on use of image, audio and video), Email marketing (sending a message to actual and potential customers about products and services through their electronic mail) and Mobile advertising( involving SMS marketing, app-based marketing and in-game mobile marketing) .
The marketing mix involves the 4 Ps and should always hold, no matter the type of product or service involved. The 4 Ps include Product, Pricing, Place(or distribution) and Promotion. Optimization of the marketing mix in terms of decision making would yield great returns. In online marketing, the means of promotion is through advertising online and making money as such.
Online marketing is fast becoming the most popular and one of the most efficient forms of marketing. This is due in part to the advent of the mobile age where an estimated 56.1% of the world’s population have access to internet service and over 80% of the developed nations are online. So, making money online has become much easier than before due to marketing to a larger and more varied audience. This comes with its perks but also has some overall disadvantages.
Tips to excel at online marketing
Even though the internet is providing an easier means of making money, certain steps and attitudes would ensure the success of your marketing online. Having a quality product or service to advertise is just the first step. With adequate referrals, you may have quite a large number of customers and that is the true goal of advertising. However, to amass this following, the following tips must be taken into consideration and adhered to strictly
Get involved in social media
It’s not just about having social media accounts for you and your business, but knowing how to properly use them, advertise with them, gain a meaningful following, and be able to get across your message properly and efficiently. Since you know how to peruse the internet, it’s time to put it to good use. Follow relevant accounts affiliated with your industry and share their important and informative posts, make relevant and inspiring comments and advice always. Build important and worthwhile relationships. However, you should avoid being dragged into social media squabbles and avoid a bad reputation. Initially, a bad reputation may increase traffic to your accounts and website but this traffic would not be sustained over time. This is because people like to invest in a brand and not necessarily the product. As you are the face of your brand, your actions and inactions speak for your product and ethics. Many people get their big breakthrough online marketing due to properly promoting themselves and then their products. The best way to build a genuine following is through good quality, service, value for money products and proper information.
You also need to know your audience so you can know the best way to approach sales. Based on your customer’s age group, social class, and even the product that you are marketing, varying types of online marketing media may be required.
Personalization is also very important. It makes the customer happy and believes you are solely there because of him and would certainly promote sales. Email marketing and blog post replies which write the customer’s name has been proven to improve online sales. Even using customer’s information to provide personalized service that you believe would be right just for them always leads to an impressed customer.
Whether it’s your own blog or guest blogging, writing on your industry and your work is always a good idea. Since you know a lot about your work and other aspects related to it, you can duly inform and bring awareness to it. This brings creativity, increases engine search rankings, provides awareness, authority, and credibility and as such increases your standing among competitors. This would also undoubtedly increase traffic to your website or social media account as the case may be. Nevertheless, these blog posts should be interesting and easy to understand as communication is key.
Offer services that are needed
At every point in time, there would be trends and the only way to stay afloat in business and earn money online is to learn to tailor your products and services to what is in demand. Always make it a goal to strive to solve a problem or provide a solution for your customers and do it in the best way possible. Listen to what they truly want and provide something even better. Earn a reputation for providing what is needed and add quality to it too.
You also need to build a strong relationship with your customers. Referrals are one of the most important ways in which businesses grow. Therefore, staying in the know and treating your initial customers right could be the right step to needed referral and expansion of the business.
Make your products/services more visible
This can be done by adopting Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The keywords on your site should be those you want to be associated with. Therefore, careful consideration is required when putting up posts to avoid lower search rankings for your products/services. In this regard also, duplication of blog posts and contents should be avoided as much as possible as search results ranking would be lowered by Google if that is observed.
Being online, there are statistical measurements to determine which particular product, service, blog post or article might be getting most traffic or patronage. This would help to make informed decisions on how to redirect and improve on the most promising aspects of the marketing process. Therefore, if it’s a particular blog post or keyword that seems to interest current and potential customers, then that blog article or keyword should be used more often. This would ensure increased sales overall.
Hire a marketing consultant
This should only be done if the owner of the business is too occupied to sell his business online by himself or is inherently scared of the internet world. This should not be the first line of action as only the owner of the business can have as much passion to move and promote his business as efficiently as required. Nonetheless, hiring a marketing consultant to promote online marketing can be ideal when an expert is required for marketing and there is adequate money to fund this outsourcing. Marketing consultants are experts at strategies to engage customers and would retain both existing customers and attract new ones.
Benefits of online marketing
Marketing comes in various forms including television commercials, radio commercials, roadside billboards, and even magazine advertisements. The benefits observed with online marketing over these other forms of marketing include
It is undeniable that the internet is a faster and more efficient means of spreading information right now and so should rightly be used for that. Additionally, information can be spread to almost any region and global market in the world and would exponentially increase potential customers for such a product or service. It could also influence offline sales.
Compared to paid advertisements in magazines and on television, online marketing is much more affordable. In social media marketing, for example, advertising on your social media account would require little or no extra payment costs and for paid online advertisements, the returns are usually better than in other media.
In online marketing, there is a variety of means by which services can be promoted. Links, images, videos, blog posts, games, etc. are just some and they offer the ability for the marketer to be unique and express themselves creatively.
On online marketing, there is the ability to reach narrow market segments and focus marketing on only those who would require such a service. This can be done through online geo-targeting to display relevant marketing to the geography of concern., for example.
Concerns and Problems
Some level of concern and problems may be associated with marketing strategies and online marketing is not an exception to this. Major concerns have emerged over the period that online marketing has been popular and some of them include
The number of unscrupulous individuals that have been found on online marketing is alarming and continues to grow every year. They usually act by promising services which they can’t provide and would collect payment for this service. In extreme cases, fake schemes such as Ponzi, “get rich quick” and “win cash prizes” are introduced to lure gullible victims into parting away with their money. These victims mostly never hear from the schemers after this initial payment and it has varying psychological effects on the victims.
There is also the fear of displaying or giving out one’s personal information online to marketers. There is always the risk of personal information falling into the wrong hands and subsequent exploitation. Internet hackers may also be able to access this information. There have been varying cases of people’s bank details used to empty out their accounts while their house addresses were used to commit crimes such as robbery, rape and kidnap. Even the marketers themselves are not completely safe as they run the risk of getting into trouble during delivery of service or product to a potential customer that they meet online.
Most people find online advertisements very annoying and try as much as possible to block them all. This is mainly because of their disruptive nature. In mobile marketing, for instance, unauthorized advertisements may pop up when playing online games, watching movies online or surfing the web. Advertisement blocks (shortened to Ad blocks) are now very popular with some apps created just to perform that blocking function.
Unlike most other forms of marketing where the product required can be viewed and appreciated, online marketing can only describe the product, show a picture and some reviews may be available for the product but not much information to work with. It is possible that the product in question may not meet the description given by the marketer and may be below standard. Also, not all online marketers provide the option for the customer to return the product within a fixed period of time if the customer is dissatisfied with appropriate refunding. Generally, the product’s authenticity cannot be assured and the customer can only act on trust, speculation, and review or the ability to return the product if it doesn’t meet up to standard.
Not all products and services can be successfully marketed online as a result of possible lag period between its marketing and delivery. Most foods and perishables cannot be sold online, and also products that may require hot or cold storage. Also, ethical products such as medicines cannot be sold by any online marketing platform except with due authorization from the pharmaceutical body and with very stringent restrictions.
Conclusively, online marketing is here to stay as it has become very ingrained in our lives. When done right, it can lead to very satisfied customers as there is time-saving from purchasing online. Many websites today are fully focused on marketing goods and have a cultivated a measure of security and trust for customers. However, a lot of concerns still abound for any form of online marketing and adequate protection both by the marketer and the customers is needed.
Nonetheless, online marketing is increasingly one of the best means of making money now and the attendant low-cost of starting is very attractive. Anyone who has a business to promote and can follow the tips carefully described should observe appreciable returns with time. But the effort is still needed for a successful online marketing venture. Adequate time and consistency are vital to maintaining a good following on your online marketing platforms. Making money online can be fun and rewarding if done properly.