It is scary to think how dependent we have become on the internet since CERN made it free 22 years ago. Since then this medium has gone on to allow us to share stories and updates with our friends from across the world at a click of a button, as well as making shopping easier.
No longer do you have to leave your home to catch up with friends or complete the weekly shop. Instead you can pop onto your laptop or tablet and place your order from the comfort of your sofa.
As such, the internet has profoundly changed the way we market products and services.
Alongside offline marketing, leaflets and word of mouth; top businesses now heavily rely upon the internet to reach their prospective audiences to ensure that they succeed at increasing their sales. Fail to keep up and take advantage of this technology, and your lack of online presence could cost you your business.
So how has internet marketing changed?
- Websites – you don’t need to be a computer whiz or an expert in coding to create a website these days, which is great news for businesses as this allows you to easily communicate with your audience as well as showcase your services/products. The fact that 81% of shoppers use the internet to research products before they buy is a testament to how important the internet has become.
People trust in what they can see and no longer want to spend hours browsing through the yellow pages or walking up and down the high street. They want information that they can read in an instant, so if you haven’t got a website to go with your name, then they will go elsewhere.
To achieve this, it is important to invest in responsive web designs, as these can help you to easily fulfil the demands of your customers. In addition, they can offer your website the flexibility of being compatible with various mobile devices and platforms, meaning your website can be viewed from anywhere, at any time.
- Reviews – continuing from point 1, consumers use the internet to research and one of the most common ways they manage this is by reading/watching reviews (61% of the population) created by professionals and other consumers. By taking on their thoughts and opinions, these reviews help to inform their own decisions on whether or not to invest in your product.
Most reviews can be found on websites that sell the product/service (including 3rd parties and your website); impartial review sites e.g. Yell; social media, blogs and even on YouTube.
- E-commerce – e-commerce websites have transformed the way we shop. You can now shop without leaving your home and find better deals than if you actually visited their shop. DVD’s, food, books, electrical… you can buy everything you need without having to speak to anyone, visit a store or suffer through their sales spiel.
The internet has also allowed businesses to eliminate the risk of owning a shop. Not only can creating an e-commerce website, offer you a cheaper solution for selling your products/services – without the expense of purchasing or renting shop space – these types of websites can also help you to broaden your business reach and escape the geographical restrictions of a physical shop.
- Advertising – from the first advertising banner in 1994 to the launch of Google AdWords in 2000; it has never been easier to advertise your business thanks to the internet.By incorporating well-researched keywords into your content, you can instantly connect with your target audience and do so without completely relying on search engines or your website.
In fact, you can now place your adverts on: social media networks, in apps, music streaming services and on devices i.e. Kindle Fire; by simply analysing consumer demographics and behaviour, and by examining which sites they’ve visited/searched for.
- Social Media – social media is another fantastic online medium that allows you to effectively connect with your audience and communicate your brand message – thus encouraging them to come visit your website.
Alongside posting updates about your business and your ethics; social media is also a great way to deal with any issues/problems your customers may be experiencing without them having to phone or send an email. Instead you can quickly resolve the problem and supply them with the information they need, as well as eliminate duplicate queries (as your post will have already provided them with the information they desire).
- Email marketing – this marketing technique has rapidly evolved since the introduction of the internet, as it now effectively enables businesses to collect contact information. With the help of email marketing you can now let customers know about special offers; introduce new products/services; make personal recommendations for future purchases (based on their searches); share tips; encourage consumers to leave reviews and referrals, and invite people to events.
- Analytics – the arrival of analytics has made a vast difference to marketing as it allows you to track yours and consumers activities, as well as identify areas for improvement.
As you can see internet marketing has truly changed the way we market and promote our products/services to consumers. Aside from saving you money from regularly having to launch offline marketing campaigns and rent a shop space; invest in a website, SEO, advertising, social media and email marketing, and you can immediately connect with consumers.
At a click of a button, they will be able to find your business, learn more about your brand and invest in your service; all from the comfort of their own home.
In turn, internet marketing makes it possible for you to advertise your services across the world without the risk or costs of running a physical shop.
So if your business is lacking an online presence, we strongly recommend investing in internet marketing today. With its help you can transform your business into a money-making success and reap the rewards of a well-designed website.
Read about how voice search is changing internet marketing.