Ok, Online marketing – I’m interested – but where do I start?

Online Marketing Basics

The best place to start is to hang back and take stock of how you already use the Internet if you do at all. The Internet provides opportunityfor consumers and businesses for a number of reasons, and not necessarily all at the same time. Understanding the reasons why businesses are successful online is key to identifying where your opportunity lies.

You can build it, but they won’t come

The next challenge is to uncover where your marketplace is. This is a big challenge, especially if you’re making the shift from traditional marketing  (advertising based / broadcast only branded messages) to online marketing. With TV, Radio and printed media, your audience was there, in some part for most of the time. With Social Media and especially Search, there are no more channels that capture all of your “audience.” If your audience is on Search but don’t use Social Media, then you can’t woo them over.

Trip AdvisorAirlines, hotels, music and books became Internet best sellers very early on – offering accessibility, convenience and low costs achieved from the “internet” model. The best fit for this area is where there are high levels of consumerism and where the margin rate increases or is protected via savings in other forms of sales acquisition.

The convenience factor is contained in the 24-hour availability but in many cases convenience of speaking to a sales agent is sacrificed. So the convenience factor is lost somewhat.What this means is that the cost of selling to you is reduced because less advertising and people need to be employed. As the savings were passed forward, greater consumerism increased, decreasing the cost further (more seats per flight, more guests per night in hotels) allowed companies to offer more savings.

Value Proposition

Consumer empowerment is the next internet marketing opportunity – what do you offer to consumers that they cannot find anywhere else. Whether it be products that are difficult to find, providing information that helps them make a better and more informed decision or supplying a service that is very specialist in nature. The latter typically suits accountants, solicitors, most consultants and other services type businesses. The most successful will have a good margin value to justify a large online spend as the return on investment is quite easily calculated.

Commodity Markets

The last category is the most difficult – differentiating on price.   Typically, this only works well for high volume searches but high volume, low value, high margin does work. But you have to pay a very high price to get the right volume of traffic and sales. Low Volume, Low Value, Low Margin is the worst identifier in this category and it rarely works. In this area, often includes local restaurants, some affiliate marketers and products in very competitive industries with a low value and margin.Consumers want to make the best and most informed decisions. Empower them, make it easy to use and most importantly, give them a reason to buy from you.

Take-away: Find you where your market is. What are similar businesses or types of business doing and doing well. Search is an easy test – if people are paying money to advertise on search – by its very nature its easy to measure a return on investment – this is an obvious sign that your market is here.

Social Media is a little tough though: Top Tip! be advised that just because a brand is very chatty or has a lot of followers – you can only tell that they’re very active but it wouldn’t be right to assume that they are successfully creating sales or leads. But its probably a good place to start!

One Response to “Online Marketing – lets get back to basics”

  1. Great article David,

    I like your last paragraph – very often we think because we spend so much time online, that we are being effective. Being busy, chatty or all over the social networks does not guarantee sales, but it means we are seen, which can lead to sales.
    My biggest challenge is coming up with the right message for the specific platform.

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