As the usage of online platforms by people has increased significantly, it is the social media and web which are reshaping the dynamics of brand building & marketing efforts.
The tech-savvy audience today are more inclined to transact everything online and why not. Everything is available at the press of a fingure-tips. Companies can interact immediately, get feedback, resolve grievances and create a positive vibes among the customers.
Hence as a brand building exercise, companies are increasingly looking at online medium as the go to avenue for creating overall brand awareness. For small businesses online presence lends tremendous credibility to their businesses.
We can make our presence felt through social media or websites. Whatever we do, everything must be geared towards one single goal. That of creating a space for our brand in customers mind. So each action should be aligned and seamlessly address its target customer.
Get started with Website Design.
Online market place is tricky. Today customers have vast choices and getting noticed is not easy. One has to do play his cards perfectly to win the battle in the online space. One thing to remember that 90% of people think that they would leave a website if it is not design properly. Thats why its extreamly important for your website to have a good user experience and quality design.
“ A good website is that which turns its visitor into a customer. “
Clear message & visuals
Connect emotionally with visitor
Solving users problem right away
Good user experience & clear call to action
The basics theory of website design.
The website should be well designed as per the brand guidelines without any deviation. You should also keep in mind that the website is your 24×7 sales guy even if the store/office is closed. Even when nobody is around. Hence the whole website should project the brand’s every feature in a neat and fluid way.
Not to mention the UX should be great. Navigation should be easy and adequate information must not be hard to find. There must be comment section to build trust and make it interactive. Tell your story and experiences through the blog section. Use FAQ to address the common questions. Have clear pages for each of your services/products.
This way the customer will not get confused and a good experience. Lastly the customer can reach you easily through the website. The very intention of going online is to be more interactive with the customers and your call to action buttons, catboats and contact pages must be seen as advantages.
The types of online marketing.
There are many tools that can be used for online marketing. But they can be broadly categorised into the following types. Let’s dive deeper.
“ Mind you these the few of the initial stages of making a splash in the online space and not the end. “
Search Engine Marketing
Social media marketing
1. Search Engine Marketing
Search engines and specifically Google has infiltrated our daily life so much so that they are close to replacing every service provider on whom we were depending since forever. Teachers, doctors, plumbers, electricians and almost everybody. We seek to do everything by taking clues from Google. And yes there is plenty of stuff available online to learn and do it yourself.
My point is hardly a day goes by when we are not visiting Google. When we seek information from Google, it gives us the best possible results. Appearing in that result pages, especially in the first few is what online marketers are looking for. There are 2 ways one can show up there. You pay Google and Google places you there if possible and competition allows. This is called Ad words (PPC).
The other way is you build credibility, popularity and authority and Google puts you on top of the list based on your merit. This is called SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Both ways your aim is to be on top and gain the trust of customers.
2. Social media marketing
Social media has spread faster than wild fire over the last decades. And if you are not on social media, you are treated as alien these days. That is the power of social media. And online marketer has been immensely benefitted from this development. Why? The power to choose audience and present before them their products and services.
Moreover social media engages the audiences the most. One can go live and show them matches, presentations, product demonstrations, grievance resolution, quizzing, competition and everything else under the sun. The power of social media surpasses them all and hence a marketer’s dream. Here too both paid and unpaid posts are used.
3. Content Marketing
As the saying goes, “content is king” and rightly so because for every form of marketing, you need content. Content marketing is creating valuable content that can be shared with customers.
They include blogs, videos, important information that can entice customers towards a certain proposition, product, brand etc. High quality content enhances brand authority and authenticity. It connects with the customers.
4. Email marketing
Sending emails to customers to enrol or something similar is quite popular. But the recipient should be a voluntary recipient and not like spam where unwanted mails flood your inbox.
Normally people enrol to receive mails and get updates about products, services etc regularly so that if interest they can contact. Email marketing is the most inexpensive way of online marketing.
5. Display advertising
While browsing the web people come across eye-catching banner ads. This is display advertising. Here too customers can be targeted based on their interests, behaviour etc.
There are image ads, video ads and motion graphics ads in this kind. They are good for immediately grabbing attention and not so difficult to create. Bor display ad is used extensively for remarketing purposes.
One thing that stands out for online marketing is its cost-effectiveness and ability to target specific group of customers. And it is too dynamic. Companies have become overnight sensation just because of their power to harness the strength of online marketing.
Why do you need online marketing?
When you are ready to start online marketing, it is important to understand why you really need it. What are your goals and how online marketing going to help your business?
Online marketing can attract a bigger audience and you can connect with those audiences easily. Gradually your brand builds relationship with them and they started trusting you. You can target your potential clients by their behavior like what problems are they facing and how you can help them in a right way.
Online marketing is highly competitive and it takes lots of patience & hard work to succeed. The most important part of online marketing is a good design with great content. There are hundreds of competitors like you who use the same platform for marketing their business or products. So, a good design can convince your customers to stop scrolling and pay attention to your advertisement.
Online marketing vs. traditional marketing: Which you should choose ?
Digital advertisements are more appealing visually compared to the traditional media. The resolution, color details, illumination are unmatched. Marketing campaign in digital platform can be planned and implemented in hours. However for traditional marketing it needs months of planning in advance otherwise there will be problem in execution.
Digital campaigns have higher shelf-life compared to traditional marketing. One can keep an ad online for years in his own digital platform like website and social media platforms unlike a traditional campaign. Also the reach of digital space is global and in matter of hours visuals have gone viral.
Traditional media can only dream of such speed and reach. Online marketing is extremely cost-effective compared to traditional marketing. The resources that a traditional marketing plan demands is huge compared to digital marketing plan both in terms of money and time. Digital marketing offers an unique advantage of targeting niche segments.
Be it demographic, geographical, gender based or any kind group, it has the power of hitting the targeted segment only. In digital marketing one can accumulate valuable feedback by engaging with the customer effectively and immediately. Based on feedback one can change, adjust or adapt a marketing plan quite fast without incurring much of cost in digital setup which is extremely difficult in traditional marketing. It lends certain credibility to a business when it is on digital platform.
Digital marketing challenges in small towns
With people spending an increasing time on the web, marketers are leaning more towards digital platforms to showcase their offerings. The statistics for global ad spend also seconds this theory.
However in countries like India the marketers are showing a less urgent intent to embrace the change, especially in smaller cities. They are to an extent correct. But it may change, may be faster than one expect or react.
Let’s examine the roadblocks that may be hindering the digital acceptance.
1. Psychology – People in general are resistant to change until it is not forced upon them. Being less exposed to an external fast moving environment also seems to strengthen their belief systems. Hence, even if they are exposed to the digital platforms and well adapted to it, but they prefer the traditional set up.
2. Smaller cities are geographically less challenging to move around and hence traditional marketing is still a force because of people’s exposure time to their activity is more. The increase in traffic will change this scenario sooner than expected.
3. No matter what, the penetration of smart phones are less compared to bigger cities and people still turn to the nearby stores for information about products and services.
4. Many seem does not interested in researching about offerings from companies going on-line. They want a quick exchange of value i.e. sell and purchase.
5. One of the reasons is also because of low penetration of Net-banking. As ultimately one will visit the nearby store for purchasing, then why go online even for information.
6. Education does play a role as inadequate knowledge does make people less bold to do new things.