Any good business will have a solid marketing plan in mind for the product or service that it sells, and many established mediums and strategies for marketing already exist, from newspaper ads to radio and television ads to physical signs and billboards set up to catch consumers’ eyes in person. All of these have their place, but any 21st century company would do well to invest in online marketing as well. Many customers, especially younger ones, make heavy use of the Internet in many different forms, and not having a social media presence or digital marketing plans can translate to a lot of missed opportunities to get new customers. What should a company do? In-house or outsourced IT professionals, marketing advisors, and web designers can be used to create and maintain websites and social media presences so that a company can launch an effective online marketing campaign. SEO services are another route to take, taking advantage of the use of keywords to find relevant information in a vast ocean of Internet articles and websites. How can online marketing be handled to draw in more customers?
Routes to Online Marketing
Several methods to online marketing are open for businesses today to try out. One of them is a slightly dated but still relevant method: a company website. In this way, a company will have an entire domain to themselves, and their website will have all the information and helpful links that a customer would need to conduct business with the company in question. Often, performing this labor falls to outsourced web designers (though in-house designers may be available). Web design experts will create a website that is visually appealing and on-theme, as well as make a layout that is easy and intuitive to navigate so that guests can find whatever they need on the website. Articles, bullet point lists, videos, images, company member profiles, and contact information can all be found in this form of online marketing, and visual assets can be very powerful here. Customers online are often impatient; studies show that most people will simply leave a website if its images or videos take too long to load, or if images are poor quality or absent entirely. Such a website should have high quality, relevant images of the items or services for sale, and any videos should load and not be too long.
Another powerful online marketing tool is social media, which is the online sphere where users contribute material en masse. Some people may dismiss social media as a medium for vanity and trivial matters, but this is not entirely true. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are very popular and reach out to many people, and they are also interactive, where Facebook “likes,” Twitter retweets, and YouTube subscriptions are often the metric by which social media success is measured. In fact, the Pew Research Center has found that 72% of adult Internet users are on Facebook, and customers are often very happy when businesses like or respond to their messages and comments.
How does this work? A business may create a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or even a YouTube channel as a means to share promotions, new deals or products, a new brick-and-mortar location opening, and more interactive content such as polls or invitations to ask questions or provide comments on recent products or actions. This social media presence can take an active role with its customers by responding to comments and questions in a timely manner and sharing poll results, and this allows a company to rapidly stay in touch with many different customers at once, many of whom should be pleased that they are being listened to. And since many people used social media on mobile devices like smart phones as well as desktop PCs, they may ask a company a question and find the answer anytime, anywhere. In this way, a business’s Facebook page or Twitter account can act as a hybrid between a traditional, personal account and a company website. Creating and maintaining these social media accounts and using them on a daily basis may fall to multiple people involved at the company, and managers can give guidelines about what sort of content to post and how to answer questions.