Every company, large or small, online or offline should have an online marketing strategy because if it is done well it’s a very cost effective way to engage with customers. Search engines such as Google process 87.8 billion searches a month making it clear that companies have to make the most of the online marketing landscape to capture this potential audience. Never has there been a time when companies can make a success of themselves so quickly and easily, but you have to adopt the right strategy for your business. There are three main avenues which I will cover and I will also touch upon the phenomena of mobile marketing, since smart phones are now outselling PCs and with Android seeing almost 500,000 activations per day, mobile will only become more relevant.
- Display Advertising (Paid and affiliate)
If you are looking to raise brand awareness, perhaps associated with the launch of a new product or service then you are looking for high visibility ads which might not be particularly targeted.
For a direct response campaign where you are trying to get customers to complete a certain goal (eg purchasing an item or signing up for a newsletter) then click-through and conversion rate is important. Here, spend is much more targeted as you are focussing on ROI.
An alternative avenue to display networks is affiliate marketing, whereby you agree to have your ads shown on a site in return for a share of your profits,
- Search Advertising and SEO
In my experience this strategy is most effective for direct-response campaigns. You can target your keywords very carefully so that people searching for your brand or terms closely associated with it will be served your text advert. If you are looking to increase brand awareness however then bidding for keywords associated with your brand and brand values is valuable.
The organic search market has far less certainty than the paid search market and, I’ve discovered that a business should be very wary of in terms of spend. Here the key is the often misunderstood art of search engine optimisation. Since search engines are constantly changing their algorithms - there is no one recipe for success. Although crucial and a cost effective means of driving traffic I would advise you to be wary when choosing an SEO company because success is hard to quantify.
- Social Media Marketing
Always assign a small test budget to a variety of strategies, test them out, give it time and calculate the effectiveness before committing to a single strategy. And you will discover the joy of online marketing is that it allows you to be very flexible and try new things, often with low costs associated.