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Online Marketing, to me, is the greatest way to connect to consumers.
Look at targeting consumers. In the old days, a company would pay a large amount of money for a TV advert, radio jingle, or newspaper ad. There may be some demographics, such as “this media is typically consumed by housewives in their 40s” but the company cannot define who is looking with any detail.
With Digital Marketing, a company can be sure that they are reaching a sizeable segment of the target market. Keywords that can attract people who are searching for the product can be targeted, creating confidence that the message is reaching relevant consumers.
Digital Marketing also allows for ease of sharing. If someone reads a newspaper advertisement of a store opening event, and they want to invite a friend, they may have to find the phone, find their friend’s number, hope the friend is by the phone and, if they are lucky and the friend answers, spend time reading out the advertisement. Seeing the same event on a webpage, the user can (for example) click on an integrated Facebook event button.
Integration like this improves the performance of Digital Marketing in other ways. If they are using old forms of media, a company pitching services though radio, television and print advertisements, would have to make each advert separate from the others. That is, although each advert could have similar themes or tag lines running throughout them, the company cannot presume a consumer would be able to view all of the marketing materials. However, just by adding a YouTube link and a Podcast RSS feed to a website, a company can give a user all the tools they need to be able to find all marketing communications.
Another great thing about Digital Marketing is the vast amount information available using Analytics. The difficulty here though is sorting through the large amount of data available.
If you want to ease the pain of looking at all the data yourself, I’d recommend contacting a SEO professional.
Whatever you do though, do not ignore Analytics just because it has numbers!
With an understanding of Analytics, both Google’s Analytic tool and other custom solutions, you can see useful information on almost every website activity. For example, a company can track how many people shared invites to that store’s opening event. Alternatively, a clothing store can see that, although people are finding the site after a search for ‘red trousers’, these visitors are never visiting the red trousers product page, potentially showing fixable visibility problems. An online magazine can even see how many articles an average user has to read before committing to newsletter subscription options.
Digital Marketing moves away from the unsolicited, outbound advertising methods to more direct and inbound marketing methods. Seth Godin calls this the difference between “Interrupting Marketing” and “Permission Marketing.”
Interruption Marketing is when you are trying to grab the user’s attention when they are doing something else, for example, blasting an advert while a consumer is watching their favourite soap opera.
Permission Marketing is when you gain permission from a person to make a sales pitch to them. This permission can be anything from a consumer adding an email address to a newsletter list, to a searcher entering in a search for “Prada Shoes to buy.” These internet users are usually willing to listen to a sales pitch.
One downside, and even with my love for Digital Marketing I realise that there are downsides, is the low barrier of entry. Anyone can enter into this new frontier of permission based sales generation, creating many voices trying to talk to consumers.
Ultimately, you must make sure you are communicating your brand better than your competitors are.