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Thought Leadership - eMarketing (eBook)

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AN INTRODUCTION TO eMARKETING

The advertising industry is worth around $400 billion globally. Yet advertisers still face the traditional problem of not knowing exactly how effective their advertising is. In fact, the old axiom – that half of all advertising spend is wasted – still holds true with advertising overspend estimated to be around $200 billion worldwide.

The era of eMarketing has dealt with this problem ruthlessly. From giants like Google, eBay, Yahoo, FaceBook etc. down to thousands of new technology start-ups, businesses are being offered myriad new online methods of marketing. Tools and techniques that are more powerful and efficient than we have ever known are revolutionizing the way we market our businesses.

Why pay $30,000 for a single TV ad spot, aimed in a general direction, which you hope will hit the right audience (even if they do happen to be watching) when you can employ online methods that target individuals and measure consumer behaviour much more effectively and at a fraction of the cost? Moreover, eMarketing gets consumers to act on their own initiative by interacting with you and your products voluntarily. Moreover, as much online advertising is only charged when individuals take action, you already know your budget will be better spent on response from those who are actually interested in what you have to say.

Internet based technologies and cultures have levelled the playing field between large and small businesses. Under-funded start-ups can present their offerings to the same audience as Fortune 500 companies and stand a better chance of winning against them than ever before.

The power of eMarketing speaks for itself, yet it still accounts for only a small part of overall marketing spend. In America, studies show that consumers spend 23% of their media time online, yet online advertising accounts for only about 6% of total spend. This suggests that traditional marketing still forms the core of most marketing strategies and presents opportunities to those who are prepared to make it a core of their overall marketing efforts.

Online and offline

Let’s look at a few of the more significant ways in which eMarketing prevails over the traditional marketing approach.

eMarketing is more dynamic

The first is the way in which the dynamics of the online world interact and interconnect with each other, for example*:

  1. You can establish a constantly updateable website that promotes your products and provides a method for people to buy them.
  2. The content relating to your products is picked up by search engines, so encouraging more people to visit your site.
  3. If that content is relevant then other sites will link to you, so driving more visitors to your site and requiring search engines to rank you higher in their listings.
  4. Then, you start posting to your blog regularly, which tells people more about your business and its products while providing more content for the search engines to judge your site on and for even more third-party sites to link back to you for.
  5. You can back all this up with quality email bulletins and newsletters to your permission based mailing list that, in turn, will be forwarded to other readers who will visit your website.
  6. Finally, if your content proves valuable to people (along with your offerings, of course) a social media presence will lead to groups of people who appreciate what you do and voluntarily promote you across the Web.

All of this activity is interrelated and potentially immediate. Each medium enables the reader to click through to the others for more information, reviews, specifications etc. Just compare that to a traditional marketing campaign where a hit-and-miss combination of TV, radio and press advertising, PR etc. are all separate and reliant on the target customer being exposed to each medium much more by chance.

* If the 6-point example, above, seems a little confusing right now, don’t worry. We’ll revisit it at the end of the eBook.

eMarketing is more measurable

eMarketing also differs significantly from offline marketing in that it allows you to measure very specifically how your advertising campaigns perform, along with corresponding changes in consumer behaviour.

Compare this to traditional communications like advertising on a billboard at the side of a highway. The best measurement you could probably achieve there is to figure out how many cars drove past every month. However, you would have no idea how many of those people actually drove to your store, phoned you afterwards or placed an order with you.

In the online world, performance measurement is much more precise. That’s because when people see an ad on a search engine or portal, on a website or in an email and come to your website, you can track exactly where they came from, how long they were there, what they looked at and where they went afterwards. That presents a fundamental shift in the way we can now track consumer behaviour and the way it impacts our businesses. If we know where our customers are coming from and what their behaviour is we can move our marketing efforts in a direction that caters for what they want.

And response is almost immediate. No post-campaign research statistics or surveys that provide sketchy data about what might be working and where, derived from imperfect sources. In fact, an online campaign can be monitored daily or hourly to collect a whole load of information to help optimise future campaigns.

eMarketing is more human

Online marketing channels are interactive, making communication two-way and viral. This represents a leap in the way businesses are able to communicate with their audiences compared with traditional media (TV, radio, print etc.) and indeed the way they can capitalise on that.

Traditional media is all about interrupting the user experience in order to push the message across, which often annoys and turns consumers away (hence the advent of devices that selectively cut ads from TV programs), leading many people to simply ignore most forms of advertising. However, on the Internet you can interact with users and give them more of what they want in order to get them to act. People are more accepting of eMarketing messages (especially when those messages are the entertainment), because they have exercised some choice in viewing them in the knowledge that they will find them of some value.

The real beauty of marketing your business online is that you have a host of channels to choose from – all of which can be combined and tested over time to produce great results, with an unparalleled return on investment.

So where do you start?

The best way to start is – to just start. Begin by implementing some kind of committed strategy and then, as you discover elements that work for you, build on them by adding new channels and constantly refreshing the way you deliver your messages.

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Don’t spend the budget in one go

Because the Web changes so much, you almost certainly won’t create a website that works perfectly first time round. One effective approach is to work out a budget comprising the most you can afford to spend and then divide it in two. Use the first half to build and launch your website and keep the remainder back to make improvements once you have been trading for a while.

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Like traditional marketing strategies, eMarketing usually proves most effective when multiple tactics and channels are employed. Just as above-the-line advertising is combined with PR and below-the-line promotions to deliver cohesive communications, you can integrate multiple eMarketing methods to reach your target audience – each delivering your message in different ways. However, unlike traditional marketing channels, eMarketing is generally much more cost-effective and scalable – which means you can experiment with considerably less risk.

As well as actually building an effective website, the six and most popular methods of eMarketing we’re going to look at in this eBook are:

  1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)*
  2. Pay Per Click (PPC)*
  3. Social Networking
  4. Blogging
  5. Affiliate marketing
  6. Email marketing

* Collectively, SEO and PPC fall under the classification of Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

KEY TAKEOUTS

  1. eMarketing is multi-dynamic – executed properly, each channel supports and drives the others.
  2. Measurement is more immediate and precise than with traditional media.
  3. eMarketing is much more cost-effective and accurate.
  4. There are many ways to market your business online – a combination of channels is what usually works best.
  5. If you’re not already eMarketing your business, now is the time to begin. Start small and build on things over time.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A MARKETABLE WEBSITE

Building and maintaining a website that drives your business is a subject worthy of a book in itself. However, it’s important to look at the basics of establishing a solid Web presence, especially as your website will form the core of your entire eMarketing strategy.

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