Marketing is one of the key factors for your business to grow and develop. It functions like the engine of your business. Whether its services or products that you are offering, marketing is essential. Through online marketing you create a channel between potential customers and your business.
In this article we will discuss the importance of online marketing, and how it differs from the traditional marketing.
What is online marketing?
Online marketing refers to the employment and use of digital techniques available on the web to promote services or products to your audience. There are various tools and resources when it comes to online marketing, and most of these have one central thing in common – your website. Starting with website development you can move on to search engine marketing, e-mail marketing, social networks and more to grow your business.
But why online? Because you need to be where your audience is, and nowadays everyone is online. For example, I’m currently looking for a shoe cabinet for my new home in Dubai, what is my first point of call? Google. I can then browse the different online marketplaces and brands to check the models and prices.
Most people go to Google or their preferred search engine when they are looking for something online. Tourists generally book online, shoppers research and buy online, we even make doctor’s appointments online. If you aren’t online, then you are almost invisible. The internet provides you with many opportunities, offering reach and information access that is arguably not found elsewhere. And, when done the right way, it’s both cost-effective and efficient.
Here are the most important advantages of online marketing:
Marketing to a greater audience
Easier to analyze, and therefore optimize
Easier and quicker service
1- Marketing to a greater audience:
Online marketing eliminates geographic restrictions, allowing you to promote your business beyond your local area. You can easily reach consumers in other cities, countries and even continents, which can help you widen your target audience.
And in turn, all your customers need to reach you and check out your website for products and services is an internet connection, that’s it. Plus, if you offer a multi-language interface of your website you can overcome the language barrier and widen the range of your visitors even more.
2- Easier to understand your audience:
Digital channels allow communication and expression, reflecting what we do in everyday life, and making it easier for people to share experiences, leave complaints or ask questions. And in turn provide you with the opportunity to interact with your audience, answer their questions, respond to criticism and provide support. One of the massive advantages of digital is data. We are able to measure these interactions, analyse our customers and evaluate our performance to ensure we are delivering a better service and user experience to our customers.
Now, how does that work exactly?
Digital enables us to pinpoint keywords, which are phrases or words that people enter into search engines. Because we are able to know how many times they are queried via said search engines, we can understand where and how we rank, and how to then improve our content to better deliver what our target audience is asking for.
This data is both qualitative and quantitative. Qualitatively, we can work with keywords to categorize positive or negative reviews and pinpoint areas where we may need to improve. For example, if we see the keyword “price” coming up in 75% of the comments or reviews we receive, then it may be time to review prices or run a discount campaign.
When it comes to your digital presence, you can track behavior and interactions. For example:
- Your website: How do people behave when they visit your website? Where are your visitors clicking? What is the conversion rate? What is your bounce rate?
- Your marketing strategy: Where is your traffic coming from? What is your conversion rate? How much time do your visitors spend on site? You can A/B test a Facebook post or an email subject line and see which version gets a better click through or open rate.
- Your customer segmentation: If your visitors and customers create accounts on your website, you can use details like age, gender and location to know more about the preferences of your visitors and based on that you can send them special offers and promotions. You can also create lookalike audiences based on your existing customer base demographics.
3- More customized targeting:
As we previously mentioned, digital communication allows you to collect data. Online marketing allows you to do more customized advertising. It allows you to choose where and to whom your ad appears.
You can use social media ads or AdWords to promote your products and services on other websites, social platforms and search engine result pages. You can choose which ads appear to which demographics.
If you offer various products or services tailored for different demographics, you’ll want to be mindful of to whom you’re talking. For example, you wouldn’t want to market something tailored for a European audience in the Middle East. Online marketing allows you to take control and specifically determine where and to whom your message is delivered, which isn’t so easily or efficiently done with traditional marketing.
4- Cost effective:
Online communication is often more cost effective than traditional communication, and we see a similar trend in online marketing. When it’s done right, advertising on the web can be more cost-effective than advertising on TV, newspapers, radios, billboards or printing brochures – especially if you are just starting out. It allows an opportunity to learn and test, at a lower cost. If you see one ad set isn’t performing well, you can troubleshoot and test to optimize or invest elsewhere.
For the cost of a coffee and croissant, you can invest in content writing, small social media campaigns and some website development or enhancements. And when it comes to visuals, you don’t necessarily have to hire a professional photographer.
5- 24\7 marketing and service:
Having a digital presence means your business is open, even when you are asleep. Whether it is a customer looking for a venue for their dinner meeting tomorrow night, a mum that is looking for a last minute forgotten ingredient for her pasta sauce or an entrepreneur looking for support on opening up a company in the UAE – you can offer your products or services even if you aren’t physically “open”.
As we mentioned before, online marketing offers you the chance to expand to other regions. And this last example may fit with someone from Australia or Japan, residing in completely different time zones. Marketing online keeps you available 24\7, so that you don’t lose any customers.
6- Easier and quicker service:
Convenience is something we always look for in everything we do. The internet is becoming extremely easy to access and the number of internet and mobile users is rapidly increasing. As of April 2017 non-internet users have become the “minority” (only just!), as more than half of the world’s population (%51 percent) have become internet users.
The rise of the digital world affects the buying behavior of consumers as well, and as of 2017 more than one in every four Middle Eastern consumers shop online every month.
For businesses, merchants and budding start uppers, online marketing gives you the advantage of being able to handle hundreds transactions at the same time. It also provides you with additional opportunities to increase customer satisfaction through optimization, enhanced support and communications to help you grow.
In a nutshell, marketing online increases the visibility of your business, facilitates customer engagement, helps you reduce marketing and advertising costs and allows you to do more targeted marketing. In addition, you will be available for your customers anywhere and anytime, offering them a more convenient service.
It’s a very powerful tool to develop your business. And in this digital era, being online is a must for any business.