Navigating the digital environment can be an arduous task for small businesses, especially for companies that have been reliant on traditional marketing tactics. While business classes teach us that there are five main promotional activities in the communications mix – advertising, direct response marketing, sales promotions, personal selling, and public relations – online marketing has quickly evolved into a digital promotional mix on its own.
While traditional marketing practices have certain nuances and skill requirements, online marketing has become a massive endeavor for businesses, where an increasing amount of skill sets are needed to manage campaigns on a large scale successfully. Technical and coding prowess, creative design, astute analytics skills, and copywriting are only a few of the main factors to be considered when deploying promotional activities on the internet. The evolution of social media platforms, periodic algorithm adjustments from search engines, and conception of online advertising exchanges have given digital marketers an arsenal unlike anything that has been seen before in advertising.
However, despite all of the tools readily available at everyone’s disposal, many businesses have been slow in adopting digital marketing practices to capture traffic online. Contrary to popular belief, just creating a website will not lead to hundreds of users hitting your site every day. Whether it’s through social media marketing, search engine optimization, or media buying, you need to develop trust with users and search engines alike to even get the tiniest slice of traffic available on the web.
Before venturing into digital marketing, there are some things a small business must consider before launching any campaigns, which may include:
- What is my budget for online marketing? –> Depending on how much you’re willing to invest into digital marketing, the outcomes can either be substantial or minuscule. While we don’t want to hang onto the old saying “to make money, you have to spend money,” you will need to invest a good amount of resources, labor or otherwise, into propelling your brand into the spotlight.
- What are my objectives? –> While establishing your goals may seem elementary, this is where a lot of small businesses make mistakes with digital marketing. Although fancy metrics such as likes, shares, and views illustrate one’s popularity, they do not always translate into leads and sales.
- Who is my niche audience? –> Better understanding who you want to reach with online marketing will make it easier to develop a strategic plan of action. Media buying platforms, in particular, offer a wide array of targeting options that can help you pinpoint the people most likely to become a customer.
- What is my competitive advantage? –> Once again, this may seem like a fundamental element in the planning process, but it can be quite easy to forget if you’re building a new business from scratch. It’s important to define the reason why people should consider your company over a myriad of competitors, especially if what you’re selling isn’t revolutionary or truly distinct from others. Make light of the benefits you provide over competitors and highlight it within your marketing initiatives.
Now that we’ve gone through the preamble, it’s important to know the different tactics and channels that can be employed to promote your brand in a positive light and capture relevant traffic. Here is a list of all the ways you can market your business online: (more…)