ONLINE MARKETING DE-MYSTIFIED
The Importance of Online Marketing for SME’s
Ninety percent of business buyers (B2B) and two thirds of consumers (B2C) are starting their buying journeys online by searching for potential product and service providers.
But they’re not simply using the internet to find businesses like yours. They are also using online resources to do research and evaluate their options in order to make informed buying decisions.
- According to Sirius Decisions, “67% of the buyer’s journey is done digitally.”
- A study by CEB Research found, “67% of the buyer’s journey is done digitally.”
This is how your prospective customers are making buying decisions in this digital age.
What This Means for YOUR Businesses
If you are not found when your prospects are searching online, then to them you don’t exist. If you are not sharing your subject matter expertise and insights with them when they are researching online, then you won’t be building credibility and trust. In either case, you won’t be given a chance to compete for their business. This means lost opportunities.
Businesses must therefore embrace online marketing and take full advantage of its possibilities. A lack of commitment to online marketing, and to making it a core element of your day-to-day operations, could leave you at a competitive disadvantage.
Online marketing has become foundational to all things marketing, and in this day and age must be an integral part of any organization’s marketing mix.
What Is Online Marketing?
Using appropriate, available tools to offer relevant content that creates value
for communities of interest with the goal of driving sustainable revenue growth.
Appropriate, Available Tools
There is absolutely no shortage of tools when it comes to online marketing: websites, social networks, email distribution systems, online advertising, webinars, forums, webinars, etc. The good news is that these tools are available to any small and mid-sized businesses. There are no barriers to entry.
However with so many options, it is easy to engage in the wrong activities and spend money needlessly. The key is to use the right tools – those that are best suited to drive desired business results.
Relevant Content That Creates Value
Ultimately, online marketing is all about content. Both prospects and search engines are constantly looking for timely, engaging, valuable content that will assist buyers in making informed purchasing decisions. The companies that win online are those that do the best job of serving the informational needs of potential buyers.
Therefore, businesses must commit to becoming content-developing organizations. Various content formats such as text, images, videos, audios, blogs and infographics should be aligned with the preferences of the target audience.
communities of Interest
When prospective buyers go online to do research, they are exposed to insights from a variety of sources; influential organizations or individuals, bloggers, consumers, review sites, social networks, etc.
Of course, businesses must first and foremost communicate and be credible with their target prospects. But this is no longer enough. They must also engage in “influencer marketing”; sharing information and reaching out to those entities that influence prospective buyers. This requires an understanding of the influencer community that can impact buyer behaviour.
Driving Sustainable Revenue Growth
Online marketing must directly contribute to the key drivers of revenue growth: lead generation and conversion.
It’s not just a matter of engaging in online tactics for the sake of “being in the game” or because competitors are active online. It’s about a commitment to do the right things, day in and day out, so that online activities lead directly to tangible business results.
Online marketing is about the long-game. It’s not about quick hits or results that don’t continue to build over time. It should be approached with the single goal of driving sustainable revenue growth.
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