Online marketing, also referred to as digital marketing, is the term given to online activities undertaken to promote a business or professional individual. This may involve promoting and raising awareness of the business or individual and the business’s activities, products or services.
It will encompass many online activities to include but not limited to:
- Social media and social networking
- Website and SEO
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and email campaigns through tools such as MailChimp or Campaign Monitor
- E-commerce activities
- Other online advertising facilities or apps
Online marketing involves the development of a strategy that incorporates most or all of the online tools in use by the business. These tools are then used collectively in a complementary manner with the intention of delivering a message or promotional campaign.
The online marketing strategy should feature in the business plan and be part of the overall marketing strategy. It should be tailored to the business objectives and seen as a major tool in achieving those objectives.
The strategy and its process and reports should be consistently monitored and reviewed. Therefore, it is important to develop a strategy that has some flexibility and can adapt to, for example, changes in the market; local, national or global events; and, of course, changes in the business itself. Similarly, if the strategy is not delivering results, there should be room to accommodate any changes, foreseen or otherwise.
The message in your campaigns should be clear and consistent. It must have purpose and correspond with your objective. It must be relevant to the recipient: for example, sharing advice, tips and updates or news on a new product or service that you wish to promote or raise awareness of. You should clearly identify yourself and your business. It should be timely and provide ‘opt-out’ options. Imagery and branding should also be clear and consistent. A proofreader will help to identify any errors. If you are using material from third parties or other sources, make sure you have permission to use it and credit appropriately.
The recipient must understand why you are sharing with them. Salutations, content and calls to action are extremely important. A global message that fails to address the recipient or has no clear message, purpose or distinct call to action is more likely to cause frustration and be ignored, resulting in a loss of time and opportunity for both sender and recipient.
It is OK to identify disadvantages and express opinion, but overall a campaign should have a positive stance that does not discriminate, cause offence or target an individual or business.
A strategic campaign will also be sent in a timely, methodical fashion. It should not overwhelm recipients, their mail boxes or their social media feeds. Equally, inconsistencies with timing such as significant gaps between messages, poor flow with the content and not doing what you said you would in a previous message results in a loss of momentum which is difficult to regain.
A successful campaign will result in engagement from the existing client base and potential business. It should raise awareness of the business and communicate well what it does. It should draw attention to the additional above-mentioned online tools, such as social media, and attract followers and further engagement.
There are many reasons why an online marketing campaign does not achieve the desired outcome. Lack of time and budget, confusing online marketing with social media’ and issues with quality, content and timing are some of the factors that could be responsible. Therefore, it is important to assign the marketing, both online or off, to an appropriately experienced professional. There are many packages available online (many for free based on usage) designed to facilitate an online marketing campaign without much, if any, experience. However, it is important to consider both the short- and long-term effects on a business of a poorly executed campaign.
Nick Lewis Communications can provide a marketing assessment service, reviewing the client’s current marketing activity, suggesting improvements, highlighting marketing needs and including a project proposal to meet those needs. For a consultation, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07970 839137.