Even before the events of 2020, many experts have expressed how flawed and fragile the traditional business model is to modern-day disruptions and innovations. Technology was already making shopping more convenient for everyone, and that trend could be seen in the decrease of malls’ patronage.
However, some business owners still firmly believed that they didn’t need an online presence to thrive, and to an extent, that was true. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and all non-essential physical establishments were forced to close, it only opened business owners’ eyes to the reality that their model was highly susceptible to unforeseen disasters and wasn’t at all sustainable. Meanwhile, you see eCommerce sites and businesses with online shopping channels thriving during this time, with US online retailers reported a revenue of US$ 861 billion in 2020, a 44% increase from 2019.
This means, if you want to succeed and build a more robust business model moving forward, you must embrace a hybrid offline-online business model, and one of the ways you can effectively run a business online is through Internet marketing.
Internet marketing: Unpacked
Internet marketing is, simply put, using the Internet and online-based technologies to promote your business. It has become so in-demand that there are thousands and thousands of Internet marketing agencies all promoting various services necessary to promote your business online. Among them are:
- Social media management and marketing. Almost half the global population use social media, so many businesses see it as the best way to boost visibility. However, one must understand the difference in each platform to effectively use it to promote your business.
- Content marketing. Many consumers go to the Internet to consume content, and through your content, you can better engage with users and solve their problems while promoting your business.
- Search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines are the number one way that people discover new businesses. Knowing this, when people search keywords related to your business, it’s best if your website ranks as high as possible on those search engine results pages. This is because research shows that the higher a website is on the search engine results pages, the more impressions, and traffic they get.
- Web design and development. Your website is your physical store’s equivalent in the digital space. It has to be a good representative of your business. Many professional agencies offer graphic design and web architecture services to ensure you get a stylish and functional website.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) management. Like in traditional marketing, you still need to pay to put up your ads online. One of the most popular ad formats is PPC because you only pay an amount proportional to how many clicks that ad got you. PPC management helps you monitor your ad spending and optimize them for maximum traffic.
There are many other Internet marketing strategies to choose from, and it’s up to you to decide what works for your business. Often, businesses will use multiple techniques for a more well-rounded strategy, so that one can make up for the shortcomings of another.
The importance of Internet marketing
Internet marketing offers many benefits to businesses, big and small. Here are just some of them.
- You reach your customers. Back then, if you wanted to advertise your business, you’d make a print ad, TV commercial, or radio ad. Because almost everyone read the newspaper, was subscribed to a magazine, listened to the radio, or watched TV, you could guarantee that through these channels, you could reach your intended customers. However, marketing agencies say that nowadays, the use of radio, newspapers, magazines, and TV are at an all-time low. Most people have moved on to the Internet for their daily dose of entertainment, news, and information. Over 4.2 billion people use the Internet daily, so it’s where you’re most likely to find your consumers.
- It facilitates easier communication. Brand-consumer communication is easier than ever thanks to the Internet. With emails, social media, and contact forms, brands can get real-time feedback and questions from consumers and can reply to them quickly. You can also gauge response for new products by checking your social media comments and mentions. This significantly improves conversion rate compared to traditional marketing, where communication is largely one-way.
- It provides you with more valuable information. With sophisticated online analytics tools, you can gather more thorough information about your campaign. You can easily monitor your key performance indicators and identify where you can improve. Internet marketing also provides you with information on your consumers. You can know their location, age group, gender, search habits, and other details. All these help make smarter business decisions. For example, if you’re a business in California looking to expand and notice most of your online customers hail from Chicago, then you know there’s a demand for your product there and that’s a good place to consider putting up a branch. Knowing more customer information also helps you provide them with a better, more personalized experience. By knowing their browsing and purchasing patterns, you can recommend products that are relevant to their interests.
- You get more quality traffic. With traditional marketing, you pay a high fee to cast a wide net. However, studies show that this isn’t an effective way to advertise your business. Instead of paying a lot of money to reach out to random people, you need to find the people who already have an interest in your business because these people are more likely to convert. Internet marketing makes that easier than ever, thanks to keyword targeting and social media advertising. The more refined and accurate your targeting scheme is, you’ll get more customers for a lower ad rate.
Internet marketing has become so in-demand that there are countless marketing agencies for you to consult so you can build a strategy that works for your business. The key to becoming a successful business in a time of such rapid and great change is to listen to experts and be quick to adapt. By being flexible and open-minded, you can take advantage of new technology to get ahead of the competition.