Operating a successful business is more than just providing in-demand products or services. It’s also about leveraging the right kind of marketing techniques to reach out to your target audience to convert them into actual consumers. Any business that wants to increase profits will almost always have set aside a proper budget for marketing, and SME business owners must not confine themselves to traditional marketing, overlooking what digital online marketing strategies can offer.
Before the Internet and digital revolution, what is now termed Offline Marketing has been the main strategy used, and a typical description would include:
Offline marketing strategies utilise offline media channels to create awareness of a company’s products and services. These campaigns can include:
• Print advertisements in magazines and newspapers
• Television and radio advertisements
• Outdoor advertising such as billboards and car signage
• Direct mail campaigns
• Printed newsletters and catalogues
• Sending out birthday and holiday cards
• Offering incentives for referrals
• Participating in events such as charity fundraisers, networking events and seminars
• Product launches and giveaways
• Business cards
• Loyalty programs
Pros of Offline Marketing
• It can have a more personal approach, and be better tailored to your target market.
• It has higher credibility, as people are able to see tangible aspects of your business and products.
• You can reach the older generation and those who aren’t comfortable using the internet.
Cons of Offline Marketing
• Not measurable if you aren’t providing an incentive.
• It is costly – since it involves more labour, time and money.
• It can be challenging to establish your company as an expert offline.
As most business operations today will likely have a website, offline marketing media will have links in some forms (QR Code, for example) to a company website and social media platforms.
Online Marketing is a marketing strategy that utilises the World Wide Web to deliver promotions, advertisements and solicit the attention of the target audience (consumers or companies). For online marketing to prove effective, a business needs to connect with where its target audience choose to spend their time on digital channels such as social media, email, blogs and websites.
7 major categories include:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): is the process of getting optimised traffic from the free, organic, editorial or natural search results on search engines, through understanding how search engines rank websites, to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website. Kewords and contents for your business website play a big role.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM): is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines, which involves buying PPC (pay-per-click) ads that display on a search engine results page. Ads may be placed through Google Ads, Bing Ads, or other search engines.
- Content Marketing: is the process of creat quality content that provides value for your leads and customers, along with credibility and authority for your business, to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM): is the process of creating and sharing content on targeted social networking websites and applications to spread brand awareness and promote products/services.
- Affiliate Marketing: is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products, through promoting that product. The affiliate earns a piece of the profit from each sale made, as sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.
- Email Marketing: is the process of sending a commercial message via email to potential or current customers, to request business or solicit sales or donations. The targeted audience can be a purchased lead list or a current customer database.
Pros of Digital Marketing
- Digital marketing is very low cost
- Digital marketing can access a massive audience
- Digital marketing caters to multiple demographics simultaneously
- Digital marketing is fast
- Digital marketing reaches decision-makers
- Digital marketing creates brand interactions
- Digital marketing offers you an opportunity to expand your customer service
- Digital marketing creates higher levels of brand loyalty
Cons of Digital Marketing
- Digital marketing is going to consume a lot of your time
- Digital marketing always creates negative public reactions
- Digital marketing sometimes takes control out of your hands
- Digital marketing can make it difficult to determine your ROI
- Digital marketing sometimes takes control out of your hands again
- Digital marketing campaigns are very easy to copy
- Digital marketing can get lost in the online white noise that exists
- Digital marketing judges you on first impressions