There are a lot of ways to market to consumers and sometimes attempting too many can actually damage promotional efforts. A business which tries to engage with clients through print, mobile, web and post will either have a whopping big budget (think mega-brands such as Coke) or fail to successfully reach their audience through any of them.
Even within the different mediums, there are different ways to engage prospective consumers. I often come across people who are frantically attempting to market through hundreds of different ways. More often than not, they are wearing themselves out, overspending on their budgets and failing to boost sales anyway.
For this reason, I think the web is a wonderful place. It presents many different marketing opportunities but many of them feed into one another, giving firms a marketing edge. Furthermore, the nature of the platform makes it possible to assess consumer response, carefully control budgets and target people more effectively.
Here are a few online marketing methods which are cost-effective and feed into each other – making them vital for targeted budgeting and targeting the relevant consumers.
Feeds into: PPC, Web 2.0, Email marketing
Raising a website in the search engine results increases both a firm’s visibility and credibility. It is obvious that the higher a site ranks, the more likely it is to be visited but it also gives a firm gravitas. Consumers have quite a lot of trust in portals like Google and businesses risk seeming shoddy and second rate if they do not rank well.
Ideally a firm wants top rankings both organically and through paid advertising. High visibility can both help and be helped by tactics such as blogging and newsletters.
Feeds into: SEO
Pay-per-click advertising is a funny beast. It is often used while companies raise their organic rankings, which can be really useful, particularly for firms which are new to SEO. However, some people feel it is unnecessarily costly and short term. There are arguments which suggest consumers trust websites which appear organically far more than those which pay for their position. However, I think PPC can be a really useful tactic by itself. It guarantees visibility and – let’s be brutal but honest – the more times a business can put its name in front of the consumer the better chance it has of a sale.
Ideally, a business will both rank highly organically and appear in the PPC adverts – lest a competitor lures the consumer away.
Feeds into: Email Marketing, SEO
Social media tactics such as blogging are a gift for marketers wanting to raise their reputation, visibility and sales. By supplying interesting and regular content – perhaps industry news and comment – a website raises its rankings, boosts the potential for targeting more obscure keywords and phrases, and looks prestigious and informed. Consumers who have benefitted from interacting with the brand online may be motivated to sign up to a newsletter or to receive offers, which increases their loyalty to the company in question. Social tactics boost the chances of inbound links, raising a firm in the search engine rankings.
Ideally, social media tactics will never exist in isolation but always seek to carry the consumer to the next level, whether that is signing up for further information, or an actual sale.
Feeds into: Web 2.0, SEO
Email marketing can take relationships built with Web 2.0 to the next level. It encourages readers of a blog, or those who have encountered a brand through a viral widget or other social tool, to actively seek out a company. They supply their email address, request a newsletter and suddenly, they are an engaged consumer with an interest in – and relationship with – the company. It is important, of course, that such newsletters or communications are interesting; everyone has signed up to a newsletter only to receive dull attempts at sales. It should be an extension of the trust the company began to build through social media.
Ideally, a business should refer and link back to its blog and other pages throughout the newsletter, in order to drive highly-targeted traffic to a website. By storing past newsletters on their website, marketers can provide a valuable resource for the online community and help SEO by showing the search engines regular, fresh content.