How to Find the Right Approach to Online Marketing
There are a lot of different ways to approach online marketing, but finding the RIGHT approach to online marketing can often be elusive.
More businesses are dumping even more dollars into their approach to online marketing and competition is fierce. Ad spend is only going up, and just like everything else in this world online marketing is constantly changing — as should your approach.
Online marketing plays an indispensable role in every business.
Your approach to online marketing should be a continuous process that you regularly execute to offer solutions to the right people.
To achieve this, you need to adhere to a daily approach to online marketing in order to become more visible and build a steady flow of leads.
Online marketing might be one of the most valuable tools available to small businesses today. Not only are there various approaches to online marketing that allow you to target and engage directly with potential and current customers, but the data that you receive throughout and at the close of your marketing campaigns can act as the driving force behind any subsequent online marketing campaigns that you design.
Online marketing comes at a price, so you can’t afford to take the wrong approach.
The smart small business owner, who needs to maximize their online marketing budget needs to be careful about how they spend their limited marketing dollars. This means finding the right approach to online marketing right from the start.
Inc nailed it when they said the power of effective marketing, “requires understanding the many tools that are out there and the knowledge and skill to use them well. Only then can you see consistent ROI on your marketing dollar.”
Online marketing isn’t something that you should dive into unprepared. While many strategies and techniques are incredibly user-friendly for small business entrepreneurs, there is a lot of planning and information gathering that needs to be done prior to choosing any marketing tactics. With so many to choose from, it can be tough to understand exactly which approach to online marketing you should take in order to benefit your business the most.
The right approach to online marketing should include the best marketing techniques and best marketing channels that can empower you to position yourself as a problem solver for your target market. With that said, there are different marketing approaches and strategies to pick from, and determining the best can be daunting.
It’s imperative to consider a few approaches that you can consistently use. To make them more productive, there are several hints provided by companies online, for example, mystery shopping companies can provide custom program enabling you to know the level of your customers and also level the playing field against your opponents.
It’s impossible to create a one-size-fits-all approach to online marketing; however the steps to help you find the right approach to marketing your business online can be outlined as I have done below.
1. Know Your Purpose
Before you start looking into specific marketing tactics, it is important for you and your team to figure out what your specific purpose is in starting an online marketing campaign. There are a great number of online marketing approaches that you can take, but the right ones for your business will depend on exactly what you are looking to accomplish.
For instance, if you have a new product coming out and you are looking to inform current and potential customers about it, you might want to look into the various types of online advertisements that you might invest in. Email marketing can also be a good tactic to take in targeting your current customers with such information.
If, on the other hand, you are looking to engage more with customers in a general way, your approach to online marketing will be different. Ads can help with this as well, but other things, such as the launching of email newsletters, can allow you to become more of an authority on certain subject matter in the eyes of your customers, thus boosting your credibility.
Take the time to nail down exactly what you want to gain through online marketing so that you can find the right approach to take.
2. Know Your Audience
Once you know what your purpose is with online marketing, you will need to know who you are attempting to target with your online marketing campaign. This comes down to knowing and understanding your audience.
As far as current customers are concerned, you might very well already have some data on purchasing habits and preferences available to you. However, the audience that you have yet to reach might be a bit more difficult to break down. You should be prepared to take the time to do your market research so that you can obtain as much information as possible on your target audience. With this information in hand, you can then find the online marketing approach that is best suited to target that audience.
In light of today’s constant flood of content on the internet it is more important than ever for small businesses to focus on the quality they get for their marketing dollars.
3. Know Your Competitors
To succeed in your approach to online marketing, understanding your competitors is an essential step. Find out what they are doing excellently, what they are doing poorly, and the things you feel they can do better. Once you have an idea, replicate parts of their best strategies, and discount the others. This way, you save on time, effort, and money.
4. Determine Your Target Customer
Marketing to everyone isn’t a cost-effective approach to marketing.
So, be in tune with your target customers and find out their needs. Also, think of the people who are likely to purchase your products by asking yourself the following questions;
– What needs will my product fulfill??
– Will customers need what I am selling?
– Who are my current clients?
– How is my competition market?
Once you have the answers, decide on your targeted group and contact a sample population of the audience to ascertain whether they would be interested in your products or services. Chatrooms, telephone polls, surveys, or email questionnaires are some of the great ways to collect feedback.
5. Always Focus on the Customer!
Many marketing experts will tell you that people are more likely to buy when the offer is tailor-made to their needs, and these marketing experts would be right.
While generic products may have their use in society, the majority of people want to believe that their choices of purchases have been based on filling a specific need just for them. In order to do this effectively you need to learn what your visitors are really looking for.
This sounds easy, but many companies miss the mark by not truly answering the questions that their customers have.
What’s the right approach to find out what your customers are really looking for on your website?
That’s a good question. Have you tried asking them?
One thing that can really help you create content that speaks to your audience is by implementing surveys. In fact, in setting up an eCommerce site it would be the first thing I do after launch. Many of you have probably already heard about services like SurveyMonkey; which allow you to run surveys on your site in order to collect valuable information that will often times pinpoint exactly what might be wrong with your site. You will also get immediate insights into your site from a usability standpoint.
6. Evaluate the Available Marketing Strategies
There’s a wide range of effective approaches to online marketing available but not all of the work for every business, audience, or product. As such, before you decide on any method, evaluate what will work for your business and product.
For instance, if you run your enterprise online, you should focus your marketing efforts online instead of using magazines or email brochures to target clients who rarely use the internet.
This can’t be overstated – your audience matters. If you’re marketing to other businesses, then your approach to online marketing should be different than if promoting your business to consumers. Also, if you’re targeting adults, you shouldn’t use the same technique as while reaching out to students or teens.
For this reason, it may be necessary to apply more than one approach to cater to the needs of your target audience.
7. Keep It Simple
When it comes to online marketing, clear, simple and direct wins the day.
I’m guilty of cramming butt loads of information onto a page for seo purposes, but more often than not, the simpler your page is the easier it will be to not only navigate, but to motivate.
Your web design process needs to consider the visitor’s time and provide just enough of the right information to move them to the next action. In this ‘now generation’ people don’t like to have to wade through endless amounts of data that are unrelated to what they are looking for. When your website is full of too much crap like popups, images and convoluted copy it may become too confusing or even too irritating to move on. If your visitor becomes discouraged they will move on to another website.
8. Set an Online Marketing Budget
Most entrepreneurs fail to set a budget as they begin their marketing efforts, and this is a big blunder.
Before deciding on the best marketing approach online, you need to determine how much you can spare to get the desired results.
Some business owners use the 10% rule, and this is to imply that if you decide to execute a marketing strategy that can generate $1000 monthly sales, you need to inject $100 per month on marketing.
By applying this law, you’ll be unlikely to spend more money on a marketing plan that won’t be worth your effort. Moreover, you have to be realistic, start small as you test your efforts before investing heavily. It’s easy to jump in head first and lose your entire marketing budget on the wrong approach!
9. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
When it comes to your approach to online marketing, there’s simply no way around the fact that it’s going to take an investment in time and if you’re not careful you could rack up a pretty hefty bill.
But if you are careful and analyze your strategies first you will soon realize that everything doesn’t work for everyone and certainly don’t start by putting all of your eggs in one basket. If something is working well for you then you should spend your time trying to figure out how to capitalize on that.
However, if it is not, then it is time for a change.
Skyhawk Studios makes a great point, “If something is working, stick with it. If your ad copy is working, use it on your website or sales brochure. Get maximum use from your tried-and-true content. After all, Nike has been using “Just Do It” for 25 years. Capitalize on the equity you have in your existing logo, branding, and key product benefits.”
10. List All Approaches to Marketing Online
Create a list of all the best online marketing strategies used by your competitors. To get these, speak to other business owners or search online, and you’ll be amazed by the numbers of the approaches available. But, research first and shun falling for any of the marketing programs no matter how enticing it looks. Besides, many business owners are lured by paid attractive marketing programs and end up losing money with nothing to show for it.
While researching, you’ll realize that there are two key approaches to marketing your business online. One of the approaches is to pay for your online marketing;
- Pay Per Click
- Pay Per Action
- Buying ad space on other websites, newspapers, and magazines
For the paid strategies, estimate the monthly cost as per the number of keyword and the average clicks per day to get an estimate of how much you’ll need to spend. One of the best ways to start is by free techniques.
Examples of commonly used free strategies are;
- Article writing
- Video creation
- Word of mouth
Now that you have your list, divide it into two categories of paid methods and free ones. Compare the paid strategies and the free ones with your budget taking into account the amount of time you can spare towards your business daily. This way, it’ll be easier to do away with the costly strategies or the ones which may take too much time to execute.
11. Do More Research!
After narrowing down your choices, choose one approach to online marketing, and research more on it.
Gather as much information as possible on its implementation and how to track results. Remember, your goal here is first to comprehend how the strategy works then later move on to others on your list. Once done exploring all the business promoting methods, pick one that’s likely to offer the best results for your business.
12. Test and Analyze the Results
Whether your results are good or bad from your initial testing, be flexible and ready to lose some cash to attain more data.
With time, you’ll begin to paint a clear picture of your success using the results of your initial testing. Moreover, be ready to stretch your budget to build on the right online marketing approach for your business. Remember, your success will depend on how excellently you test your drive using different platforms and target audiences.
Some of the best marketing techniques may not work for your venture, target market, or product. So, follow the above steps in order to pick the right approach to online marketing for your business. One that will match your budget and website marketing needs.
By so doing, you’ll be likely to find the right clients for your product and service.