Need internet marketing help? Here’s how to succeed
Web marketing, digital marketing, online marketing – it may have many different names, but internet marketing is a simple concept to wrap your head around. Take many of the audience engagement and conversion strategies employed in traditional advertising and apply these, with the aid of online tools, for greater reach and sales ability. Simple, right?
Well, maybe not quite that easy. Internet marketing offers a different approach to identifying, educating and selling to consumers, enabling a more education-focused, two-way dialogue between your business and your customers. To understand internet marketing, you first need to grasp the differences between inbound marketing strategies and an orthodox outbound campaign. Then you will need to understand three core principles affecting inbound marketing:
- Outreach – Focusing on the shifting role of paid advertising.
- Education – Creating content that readers find valuable and addresses their problems.
- Engagement – Making social media interactions about talking to customers, not at them.
Still lost? That’s okay – here’s the ‘internet marketing help’ starter pack to get you up and running!
Inbound versus outbound marketing – what you need to know
The difference between inbound and outbound marketing lies in how businesses communicate with potential customers.
Outbound strategies confront an audience with information to persuade or encourage a purchase. Consider it like a public speaker shouting at passersby – the aim is to communicate their message clearly, but not necessarily stimulate dialogue. Long-standing forms of media advertising, like print ads, billboards and television commercials, follow this tactic.
Inbound marketing strategies, meanwhile, follow a softer approach, addressing an audience’s pain points or knowledge gaps with direct engagement and relevant content. This way, consumers come directly to your business for help with their problem.
Harking back to our prior example, imagine this public speaker is now completely silent, but instead inviting the public to sit and discuss their message in an open debate. This allows people to decide for themselves whether the speaker has something worth listening to. In internet marketing, this translates digital content, social media posts and email marketing campaigns.
While inbound marketing seems more indirect than its outbound equivalent, it can deliver better results. HubSpot’s 2017 ‘State of Inbound’ report found that nearly half of businesses said inbound marketing offers the highest ROI, compared to just 12 per cent which claimed outbound worked better. Further, those surveyed by HubSpot thought inbound strategies delivered the highest quality leads to point of sale (59 per cent) than equivalent outbound campaigns (16 per cent).
Nearly half of businesses said inbound marketing campaigns offer the highest ROI.
This head-to-head is made even more one-sided when you account for the opinions of those implementing marketing campaigns limited to outbound tactics alone. More than half of outbound marketers thought their organisation’s existing campaigns weren’t as effective as they could be (HubSpot).
The modern marketing strategy needs to do more than just shout information at potential customers and hope for a response. While traditional outbound advertising still has a place, a complete marketing campaign needs to bring its audience into the conversation.
1) The changing role of advertising
Advertising has had a prominent effect on society for over half a century. This is partly because the signs are everywhere you look! Billboards, the sides of buses, posters stuck to benches and walls – every available inch is a canvas on which enterprises can showcase their products/services.
This approach to marketing has followed business practice into the digital world too – the online advertising sector’s global value is expected to surpass $500 billion by 2023, according to research agency eMarketer. Additionally, digital ad spending is forecasted to increase by nearly 18 per cent in 2019 alone.
The spend on online advertising campaigns is based on one factor – reach. Millions of people worldwide can see a well-placed ad, while traditional advertising is often limited to potential customers in an immediate geographic area. A broader base of potential customers often means more people converting to sales.
However, online users can simply ignore your marketing efforts with ad blocker tools. Market research company Global Web Index claims nearly half of internet users now use one, with this figure even higher in Asia-Pacific. If the time and resources you devote towards paid marketing promotion might be reduced long-term, it’s vital you supplement outbound tactics with inbound.
2) Original and informative content remains king
Developing original content that prioritises fixing users’ problems is central to any internet marketing strategy. This is reflected by the fact that more than half of marketers said blog content creation was the primary inbound goal for next 12 months, according to HubSpot.
Articles highlighting key trends in your industry or focused on remedying ongoing customer issues is often the first port of call for improving content marketing efforts. But there are many other types of content that can be built into an internet marketing campaign. High value pieces such as whitepapers and visual guides can act as a critical differentiator between prospects and leads. Defined by reps as the hardest part of a sale (HubSpot), prospecting by determining your user’s level of interest means you can better target those close to conversion.
Similarly, info images and videos are an engaging way of letting your customers know your business aims go beyond just sales. Producing visual content helps to inform new and existing customers about your business and products/services. Making this easily accessible also allows users to share the content across social media platforms and email, bringing more people to your business with less direct and aggressive marketing efforts.
The Content Marketing Institute shows both B2C and B2B marketers alike expect their spend on content production to increase in the next year. The future of internet marketing is written in the stars – by content writers.
Sales reps consider the prospecting phase of the sales cycle to be the most difficult.
3) Make your media social – using social media platforms
Social media offers businesses an unprecedented ability to connect directly with customers from all over the world and demonstrate that they are able to solve users’ problems. The We are Social Global Digital Report 2019 shows there are now over 3.4 billion active social media users. That’s a vast audience of potential customers to reach out to and engage with – but only if done correctly.
Conversing with your audience is essential to finding out what makes them tick and what they think of your business. Outbound strategies such as digital advertising or promoting your own content has its place – but ensure you blend these with inbound marketing strategies for a holistic campaign. Product giveaways and competitions are a good way of getting customers to come to you. Interactive marketing elements like polls and quizzes also encourage consumers to share their opinions without prompting.
Australians now spend around 90 minutes on social media every day (We are Social). This is an excellent opportunity to engage an ever-present audience for their opinions on your business. From there, encourage the community to interact with one another and watch your brand’s social rep flourish!
Measuring the success of your internet marketing campaigns
Tracking demonstrable internet marketing ROI is an ongoing issue for many business – 40 per cent consider it their organisation’s main challenge (HubSpot). However, factors like increased visits to your website quantify your marketing efforts’ enterprise value as a whole. Other examples include:
- More subscribers to a newsletter or email send out.
- Downloads of an online e-book or brochure.
- Higher conversion of prospects to leads.
- More demos accepted/more requests for purchase quotes.
- Increased number of product/service purchases.
The above concepts, while important to understand, are just the beginners’ tools in a digital marketer’s toolbox. To truly exceed in internet marketing, you need to:
– Conduct your own in-depth research on what your customers’ pain points are and what they expect of your business.
– Use this information to identify the kinds of content that suit your brand voice, audience values and internal marketing resources.
– Deploy paid digital advertising, content production and social media engagement in a holistic digital marketing strategy.