What is the key to successful online marketing? Marketing! There is nothing magical about marketing online. Too many businesses fail to realize that the internet is simply a collection of communications channels. Sound marketing principles still apply. True, the technology gives an organization greater reach that can be executed quicker and much less expensively than through many conventional means, but understanding the target market and delivering the right message are still essential. With current technologies, larger amounts of data can be exploited to more narrowly focus the targeted market, but without the application of fundamental marketing concepts the efforts are wasted.
First let me clarify that this blog post will deal primarily with the promotions subset of marketing. Marketing is a much broader topic that includes market analysis, brand building, strategic planning, pricing strategies, development of a marketing plan, etc. All of these things are important and should be used in conjunction with promoting your products or services, but for this discussion we will stay with the promotions angle.
What is it you are hoping to accomplish? Are you trying to build a list of potential customers that you can use in an email campaign? Are you looking for tools to stay connected with existing clients and to market more of your products and services to them? Are you trying to find new customers who are ready to buy your offerings now? Even if you ultimately want to do all of these things, it is important that you come up with one goal and put everything in place to achieve it before you move on to the next.
Knowing your target market is essential to being able to address their specific needs and find precisely where to deliver your message for greatest impact. I addressed this in this previous post: The Power of Defining Your Ideal Client.
The Right Message
Based on your objective and your target market, what is the right message? Different demographics groups will require different approaches. If you are trying to get someone to buy now as opposed to signing up for an email newsletter, your copy will be very different.
Delivering Your Message To Your Target Market
Next you need to decide on how you are going to get your message in front of your audience. This will vary based on the target market and the message you want to deliver. If your audience is mostly comprised of smart phone users, you may want to use SMS text marketing, or mobile optimized websites. If your business has a physical store front, you should determine if geo-local apps or local search engine listings would be useful approaches. Determine if your message comes across better as a blog post, podcast, or video. Make efficient use of content by extracting audio from your video to create a podcast, and/or by transcribing a podcast to create a blog post.
Testing and Revising
Some of the questions raised in the previous sections may not have easily identified answers. Even if the answers seem obvious, it is worth testing other approaches to confirm that you are on the right track. Use multiple methods of delivering your message and multiple messages and measure which ones work best in achieving your objectives. Since market conditions change over time, continue to test and tweak your efforts as needed.