Why Internet Marketing is Important
As a business owner, you know that there are hundreds of different marketing channels and strategies out there for growing your business. You also know that your marketing budget isn’t infinite, so you have to be selective with the ones you choose. But as consumers continue to increase their reliance on the Internet as a research and purchasing tool, it’s important that you include it in your marketing strategy.
Although the Internet is a relatively new marketing tool compared to methods like print ads and billboards, it has arguably already become more of an essential. Consumers no longer accept the advertisements presented to them as facts. They go online and do their research, so it’s critical you’re your business has a presence there.
So why is internet marketing so important for your business? Keep reading to find out.
Your customers are online
This is perhaps the most compelling—and obvious—reason to start marketing your business online. Marketers have always tried to reach potential customers where they live, where they work, where they shop, where they get information, and where they entertain themselves. A growing number of people are using the internet to meet all of these needs.
About 3 billion around the world have Internet access, and although not all of them are potential customers for your business, there’s a good chance that some of them are. In a study of American Internet users conducted in July of 2014, 80% of respondents said that they use the internet to research products or services they might want to purchase, and 58% said they’d made at least one purchase online in the previous year.
As internet usage has grown, so has internet commerce. In fact, online sales in 2014 in the United States alone totaled $304 billion. It’s clear that consumers are spending money online, and Internet marketing is the only way to get your business on their radar.
As a business owner, you know that getting your business’s name in front of potential customers can be costly. And while Internet marketing doesn’t come without its price tag, the advanced targeting options make it easier to only advertise to the people who might actually be interested in your business. This means you waste less money on marketing to people who are unlikely to ever respond.
Let’s say your business is a hardware store in Harrisburg. Think about what happens when you place an ad in the local paper. You pay a fixed price for the ad and hope for the best. Sure, lots of people who flip through it will see your ad. But how many are actually in need of the products you sell at any given time? Probably only a small fraction of them.
Now, think about what would happen if you placed ads online that were directed only at users who searched for “hardware store in Harrisburg.” If you used a pay-per-click, or PPC, method, you’d only have to pay when people actually clicked on your ad and visited your site. By only paying to advertise to people who are actively looking for businesses like yours, you eliminate the cost of advertising to people who have no interest.
Communication goes both ways
Most traditional marketing methods, like print ads, direct mail, and billboards, simply involve getting your business’s marketing messages in front of consumers’ eyes. They present a campaign or special, and encourage the consumer to take an action like coming into a physical store location.
This can certainly be effective, especially if a sale is particularly enticing, but is limited by its one way nature. What if a reader is confused? What if they want more details? Thanks to the Internet, your marketing campaign can be a two-way conversation. By providing potential clients with easy ways to get more information or contact you, they can become much more comfortable with the idea of coming into a physical store, and may even make purchases online.
This two-way communication can also strengthen relationships with your customers. Instead of seeing your business as simply trying to sell them things, they will start to see it as a valuable source of information. Building these relationships increases the likelihood that they will return, and possibly even become regular customers.
Communication can be done on your main site, but social media also presents a simple solution. Creating a dedicated social team that responds to reviews (both negative and positive), answers questions, and keeps followers up to date can require a bit of effort, but can go a long way in building customer relationships.
The Internet is always open
Some businesses operate 24 hours a day, but most marketing teams don’t. How much would you have to pay someone to promote your company all day and night, including holidays and weekends? Could you keep a marketing rep on the clock all the time to promote your products and services? When that marketing rep is your website, the answer is absolutely.
Your customers have different work, sleep, and social schedules. It’s not possible to reach all of them at the same time using traditional marketing tactics. You need something that’s always running and can be there when they need it. Websites, social media pages, and blogs accomplish this feat. They’re always available, they can always take your message, and potential customers don’t have to wait until business hours to learn more about your business.
So why is Internet marketing so important? Put simply, because you can generate higher revenues at lower costs at any time of day or night. There are many other reasons that Internet marketing is valuable, but in 2015, it is an absolute necessity.
Consumers respond less favorably to traditional marketing than ever before, so you need a combination of engagement, education, and selling to reach them. Only online marketing provides that. If you need help creating an Internet marketing strategy for your business, feel free to contact us. Our dedicated team is more than happy to assist you.
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