Mon, Dec 27, 2010

Online Marketing

The concept of marketing has been around for as long as we have been trying to sell things and the field evolves with the times just like the items we are trying to market. One of the newest fields in marketing is eMarketing. The term eMarketing is often used interchangeably with the terms Internet marketing, or online marketing. So, what exactly is eMarketing and how can a business use it to retain old clients, attract new clients, or build a brand identity for your business?First of all, eMarketing is marketing through the use of technology and electronic media, and usually involves marketing a brand through the internet. The application of eMarketing to a company’s business plan is very versatile, easy for even a small company, increases the company’s visibility worldwide, and engages with clients 24 hours a day even after-hours and on weekends or holidays.

Traditionally, marketing methods are costly and time consuming leaving many small businesses left out’”however, with eMarketing a small business can pay a tiny portion of the amount they might normally allocate for marketing and with a fraction of the time. Before eMarketing, a company’s advertising budget might have to be fairly generous to accommodate print ads, billboards, direct mailing, etc.

Benefits of eMarketing

With eMarketing a company can communicate with clients throughout every stage of the client lifecycle. If a company successfully uses eMarketing, the return on investment is much higher than with marketing campaigns of the past. This is true whether the company is located at a real address, like a ‘bricks and mortar’ business, or is located solely online.

The use of eMarketing cuts the time from when a customer sees an ad to when they decide to actually acquire the product. Most ads can be programmed with a link that directs the customer to a site that will help them purchase it.

The demographics of the Internet are really astounding as well. If Internet users as a whole can be considered a group, then the possible consumers for a business number among the millions in the United States and possibly among the billions worldwide. Beyond that, a company or their marketers know their target market best and can help tailor an eMarketing campaign to the consumers who would be most likely to use the product or service.

Another benefit of eMarketing is that marketing data can be analyzed immediately and the campaigns can be constantly updated to reflect the current market. That is opposed to the gathering of typical marketing data and statistics that could take weeks or months.

eMarketing Ideas

A few eMarketing ideas for small to medium sized business are as follows:

  • Advertise on websites, blogs, or sites that are of interest to customers for pennies on the dollar. For example, a small travel company could choose to advertise with travel bloggers instead of taking out a print ad in a well-known travel publication.
  • Engage with customers through email campaigns aimed at retaining old customers like reminding them of a sale, or sending out coupons.
  • A company could advertise through online coupon site Groupon that offers discounts and special sales for people who sign up for their email service. This would help attract new customers.
  • Set up a free Twitter account to interact online with customers and provide real time dialogue with consumers. This also acts as a positive online face for a business.
  • Set up a free Facebook page where customers could ‘like’ your business and at the same time be reminded about special events.
  • Offer specials to customers who use the social networking site Foursquare if they ‘check-in’ to your business once

The final benefit of eMarketing is that the opportunities are as numerous and endless as the internet and a business is limited only by its own creativity.

By Sara Beck. Sara is an MBA student and loves to travel. She blogs at www.sarabeck.wordpress.com.

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