Online marketing has many aims, and an important one (perhaps your ultimate aim) is directly increasing sales of your products or services. It can do this by making people aware of your offering, driving traffic to your website, and persuading visitors to convert with compelling sales copy.
But online marketing can have some much more general benefits for your company:
- increasing your visibility
- reinforcing your brand image and identity
- connecting you with your customers
Can you see me now?
It may seem obvious, but if people aren’t aware that your company exists, they aren’t going to become your customers. Online marketing gets your name and brand ‘out there’ – putting you at the forefront of people’s minds when they’re looking to buy.
You don’t have to invest in online advertisements to make your company more visible. Taking part in online discussions, creating good content such as articles or videos and connecting with relevant communities on social media are all good ways to get your name seen online.
If you do this, be sure to include your company name and a link to your website in some way. If you’re lucky and your content is very good, people will share it with their friends – it could even go viral.
Who you are
Online marketing is a useful way to promote your brand identity – reinforcing your professional image in customers’ minds and making it clear how you differ from your competitors (your unique selling point or USP).
You could also enhance your company image by promoting yourself as an industry expert online. You could write thoughtful articles or run a blog, or post well-informed and helpful responses to questions in forums. All these will help position you an authority in your field – increasing credibility and trust.
The customer connection
As social media marketing is interactive, it gives your company a fantastic opportunity to connect with customers – finding out what they really think about your company and what they want and need as consumers.
You can also use it to improve your customer service offering, for example offering aftersales support via social media. If you’re lucky, you may get word-of-mouth referrals this way.
E-mail marketing can also help keep relationships with existing customers ‘warm’. You can use it to share special offers or promotions, showing you value people who interaction with your business and helping to keep them engaged and loyal.