The marketing landscape has shifted radically since the arrival of the internet and at amazing pace. After all, just ten years ago people would have asked what’s Google?
Here are seven crucial ways that the internet has changed marketing forever:
There was a time when even the most basic marketing campaigns cost money – and lots of it. Direct mail, for example, meant paying to have materials written, designed, proofed and printed – then delivered to thousands of addresses.
It was expensive, with a relatively poor return on investment. Now, at the touch of a button, you can send an email to everyone on your mailing list for free. And, it’s measurable…which brings us onto the second point:
With extra pressure to justify media spend, marketing departments need ways to track defined metrics.
Through analytics programmes and other software you can measure your traffic, conversions and ROI and make immediate strategic decisions about your website. It’s not that traditional marketing can’t be measured, it’s just that you have so many more options and metrics to control and analyse online.
The internet isn’t bound by geography. A small business in Devon could easily market to customers in San Diego. While businesses can still use the internet to target local traffic, marketers can now cast their nets into areas and demographics that they wouldn’t have dreamed of a decade ago.
Plus, people can engage with a company any time they like. It can be midday or midnight a website should always be accessible, unlike high street shops constrained by their opening times.
4) Search and keywords
Search is one of the most powerful forms of online marketing. Getting high rankings in the search engines for terms relevant to your business can have a huge effect on sales. The beauty of search engine optimisation is that it helps you discover what your customers want through keyword research and helps you deliver the appropriate results.
Analysing keywords is also free market research. By mapping what users enter into search engines you’re getting a window into your customers’ minds. Instead of paying for focus groups and surveys, or relying on sheer guesswork, you can find out what they want and give it to them.
With most traditional marketing the message is brought to the consumer – sometimes known as push marketing. Online, things are much more complex. Users decide what they want to reach via search engines. They block ads and shy away from hype. Internet marketing is more about engagement or pull marketing. This is why the following is so important…
Content reigns supreme on the web. You could look at Google as the ultimate content provider and Google’s ability to deliver relevant content enables it to generate billions in online advertising.
Consumers now use the internet to research, find entertainment, share opinions, read, watch videos, socialise and educate themselves. Customers demand information. An abundance of info can be skimmed, but a lack of information cannot be remedied.
Be useful, meaningful, genuine and open and you’ll avoid getting lumped in with the avalanche of spam and pointless content. You can use SEO and PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns to help ensure that you deliver relevant content that users love.
When marketers throw around the words social and web 2.0 they aren’t just using buzzwords (well, maybe just a little.)
The internet is build on interactivity whether that be through social networking sites or simply clicking on a hyperlink. Internet users now demand the ability to connect with each other online through blogs, comments, personal profiles, reviews, favourite lists anything that allows individual expression.
The significance of this for the canny marketer is that you can’t push products on people online. Customers are now encouraged to engage with a company and its brand, offering feedback, connecting with like-minded people and even joining social networks. Ultimately, your customers are your best marketers online, and treating them well can be extremely productive.