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Starting Online Marketing

Research

Before embarking on any form of online marketing strategy be sure to do your homework. Check out what the competitors in your industry are doing to reach customers - how they utilize Internet advertising, social media and mobile marketing.

Also explore how your customers typically access information about products and services. Using this knowledge you can begin to design an integrated marketing strategy.



Getting Started with Online Advertising

Internet or online advertising is a form of promotion that uses the Internet to deliver marketing messages to attract consumers. Examples of the various forms of online advertising include:

• Contextual ads on search engine results pages
• Banner ads
• Blogs
• Social network advertising
• Ad networks
• Cross-platform ads
• E-mail marketing


Reasons to Consider Online Advertising

• Bang for your buck. Targeted online display ads can be a cost-effective approach for reaching a wide audience, or alternatively, placing your message in front of the exact market segment you are trying to reach.

• Low risk. Pay per click (PPC) advertising campaigns only require that you pay when someone clicks on the link in the ad. Pay per click also allows you to set a ceiling on your advertising budget, and allows you to increase or decrease the amount as necessary.

• Performance-based. Effective online advertising can produce immediate results (e.g. increased traffic to your site, sales), which are usually easily tracked and monitored (e.g. number of users that clicked on the ad, number of conversions into sales). You can adjust your campaign based on the results.



Marketing Your Business Using Social Media

Social media is a broad term used to describe various online technology tools that enable people to communicate easily via virtual communities and networks (over the Internet) through sharing and exchanging information, content and resources. Social media has become one of the most powerful platforms for information sharing and exchange. Examples include:



Facebook Blogger Twitter WordPress LinkedIn Pinterest Google+



Engagement with Social Media

In terms of marketing, it is important to do your research to find out if and how your customers and prospects are engaging with social media.

Certain types of social media may be more relevant than others.


Benefits of Social Media for Marketing Purposes

• Expand the reach of your marketing efforts.

• Promote product/service/brand awareness.

• Publicize events and launches.

• Direct traffic to your website.

• Build and interact with a community of your target market.


Mobile Devices

Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers are becoming an almost ubiquitous presence in modern day society.

Learning how to harness mobile technologies is therefore becoming of ever-increasing importance to businesses.


Mobile Marketing

The simplest mobile marketing strategy is to make sure that your business shows up when people use their smartphones to look for local goods or services online.

Once your business is found, you want to make it simple for the visitors to see all the information they need right away. When mobile users visit your webpage, they should see a mobile optimized page (also referred to as a responsive design site) that loads quickly and easily conveys basic information on your business (e.g. address, business hours, prices).

Another approach is to create a brand new site that is specific to mobile. This type of site is designed, developed and optimized specifically with the needs of mobile users in mind.


Mobile Friendly Website

A mobile-friendly site can help your business connect with customers and increase sales. This is true whether your business chooses to use a responsive design site that adapts to the screen size or a separate mobile site.

Users expect their mobile experience to be as good as their desktop experience. There are tools you can use to test your website’s mobile-readiness (visit mobiready.com or validator.w3.org/mobile). There are also services you can purchase to make your desktop website more mobile-friendly (e.g. Google Sites, dudamobile.com).


Mobile Marketing Examples

The following is a list of some examples of mobile marketing:

• Advertising, such as text message marketing

• Text message services (e.g. reminders, fast information about a particular item)

• Location based services to entice customers to check-in and receive exclusive offers, discounts and participate (e.g. Foursquare, Facebook Places)

• Mobile display advertising (e.g. banner ads that sit above mobile site content)


Marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Good customer service is an essential ingredient of any marketing strategy.

CRM involves understanding, managing and improving a company’s interactions with its customers. To have an effective relationship with your customers, it is important to understand their needs and preferences.

In an e-business environment, customers tend to expect quick access to information about your business and products. Determine what your customers expect from your website.

You may also want to track how customers use your website to help you adjust your business practices. By better understanding your customers, you can determine whether your website is meeting their needs.


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