Online marketing, also called digital marketing, is a broad and varied discipline that utilises multiple tools and strategies to acquire customers using the internet. Online marketing has the benefit of being able to reach millions of potential customers across the entire world. Sophisticated tools exist to help you target the audiences who are most likely to purchase your products and services, and through the use of other online marketing techniques you can get their attention.
What is online marketing?
Online marketing consists of practices which use the internet to generate sales, this is done through many channels, including:
- Affiliate marketing
- Online display advertising
- Email marketing
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Social media marketing
- Game advertising
- Online PR
The way these channels are used depends on the nature of the business and the goal of their marketing efforts. To use these channels effectively, other disciplines are required to guide the creation of marketing materials and content which effectively triggers purchasing decisions.
If you are considering using online marketing to grow your business, you may need some of the following to do it effectively:
- Market researchers
- Copywriters, content writers and bloggers
- Web designers and developers
- Graphic designers
- Film production services
- App developers
These professionals can help you create a website which acts as the central hub behind all your online marketing efforts. They can also ensure that your online advertising is attractive, professional and engaging and that your overall strategy is strong.
Depending on what you are selling, your online marketing strategy might include eCommerce so you can sell online and reach a larger customer base.
What are the benefits of online marketing over traditional marketing?
The biggest benefit of online marketing is the capacity for segmentation, which allows you to target very specific subsets of the broader online community. This means that even businesses with a small niche can focus their marketing on those who want to see it, leading to a higher conversion rate and more cost effective marketing overall.
Another huge benefit is the data-driven nature of online marketing. Installing Google Analytics is a must, and provides website owners with incredible insight into the size, nature and behaviour of their visitors. This information includes how they found you, which pages they visited on your site and how long they stayed, the path they followed through your site, which country they come from and much more. Many of the tools available to online marketers offer even more valuable data, including tracking trends and mentions on social media or the search volume of keywords over time.
In a professional online marketers hands, this combination of ample data and precise targeting tools is incredibly powerful. They will use what's available to them to plan and implement an effective strategy, watching its performance closely with the analytical tools available to them so that they can continue to refine and adapt the strategy for the best results.
Other benefits of online marketing include its location-independent nature, it's relatively low cost, it's low barriers to entry and its flexibility.