Friday, December 17, 2010

What's the Scope of Internet Marketing - the Elevator Speech

A few times recently I've been asked to very plainly explain Internet Marketing/Interactive Marketing, why it's so much better than buying magazine ads, and whether it's really helpful. Here are the basic talking points:

  • Internet Marketing means promoting and advertising your business through all the Internet channels your customers might use, like your website, other websites, email and social media (i.e. Facebook and Twitter).
  • Most businesses have an Internet website, really nice ones, but that’s not enough - it should also be highlighted appropriately, for customers to discover…a beautiful storefront in a dark alley attracts no customers.
  • One way to highlight your website and business is by placing references or advertisements (i.e. “banner ads”, “articles”, “backlinks”, “coupons”, “infomercials”, etc.) on other websites – but only on websites that will most likely send valuable customers to you. There are many choices to consider, both free and paid, and the links or ads need to be well-designed (both the audio/visual and written elements).
  • Another way is through Internet search engines, like Google and Yahoo. Your customers can use many types of search engines online to find you. These services will highlight your business through their search results, in 2 ways – by paid advertisements (i.e. “Pay Per Click”, or “PPC”), or if your website is very popular and relevant for the search term. To be highlighted successfully, your website, and any online content you create that points back to it, must be “Search Engine Optimized” (SEO).
  • A third way for customers to find your business on the Internet, is through “earned media”. This means other people on the Internet are voluntarily writing about and sharing great feedback about your business, to their readers, friends and family. This is done on social media like blogs, bookmarking services, Facebook, Twitter, etc. There are many ways to engage and convince others to start online conversations about your products and services – leading to more interested and ultimately paying customers.
  • Other ways to market your business on the Internet include using games, applications, videos, podcasts…there are many ways to do this, but not all may be appropriate or within your budget.
  • Be sure to focus marketing first on websites you own - optimizing content on 3rd-party websites and relying on social media for advertising is a temporal proposition - these sites can quickly go away, and your material be lost.
  • Internet Marketing includes the “conversion” – i.e., your website must be designed to not only attract people, but convince them to act or buy your product.
  • If done right, they’ll come back for more, and tell others about it.
  • Most Internet Marketing is much less expensive and reaches more people in your target demographic than traditional media, including TV and magazines. It also lasts longer, and can be accessed not only through personal computers, but through cellphones, GPS devices, electronic billboards, game consoles and digital TVs.
  • Internet Marketing can also be tracked and analyzed in great detail – unlike traditional advertising (i.e. how many people saw your ad in a magazine, and called you as a result?). This means your return-on-investment (ROI) can be significantly higher. At a lower total-cost-of-ownership (TCO). More customers for less money.
  • In order to achieve best value, however, your Internet Marketing must be tracked, reported and analyzed correctly – since user activity and competing information changes so quickly on the Internet. Your own reputation and brand must also be monitored on a regular basis, to be quickly alerted regarding negative impacts to you, your business or product. Negative information can be spread quickly by employees, competitors, customers or other reviewers.
  • Your Internet Marketing campaigns should also be integrated with your other marketing and advertising campaigns, in content, execution, budget and reporting. Use phone numbers in online and offline ads that can be tracked via online voice services, for example.
  • Your competition is already on the Internet – and if they’re using effective Internet Marketing, they are very quickly gaining an advantage that’s not easily overcome.
  • Your customers are also already on the Internet, especially the younger ones. If they’re not, they soon will be.
  • To take full advantage of all the Internet Marketing techniques available, in a way that is best suited to your business, professional Internet Marketing services are recommended – especially services from a well-established, technically-current media and marketing firm. This is particularly true for local businesses – a DC local media and marketing firm or larger, national interactive marketing and web design firm will know best the conditions affecting your local Internet Marketing.


So that's the basic elevator pitch script - but there's obviously a lot more, at much greater levels of detail, that will come into play for large, complex online marketing initiatives across thousands of online "channels". Most, however, will want to start with the very basics, which will include SEO of your own website.

1 comment:

Darryl Tay said...

“If done right, they’ll come back for more, and tell others about it.” – I agree! Internet marketing isn’t only about promotion of your business, but it’s also about building a healthy professional relationship with your clients. And you can do that by relating and connecting with them.