Online Marketing – Dos & Don’ts you must know!
SEO, social media, chatbots, usability – online marketing has developed into a broad field with countless measures of the most varied characteristics. Used correctly, it can significantly increase awareness and sales of the company.
The digital jungle often poses major challenges for many small and medium-sized companies, because their core business is often a long way from online marketing. Which tools are relevant? Which channels have to be used? Who is my target group and how do I reach them? And most importantly, how can online measures boost offline business? Questions that SMEs have to ask themselves if digitization is to be successfully mastered.
Because one thing is clear: Online marketing today includes much more than owning a Facebook page and doing a little SEO. Buzzwords such as affiliate marketing, programmatic advertising, automation, big data or influencer marketing are circulating in countless blogs and specialist magazines and are declared as must-haves. However, which instruments ultimately contribute to the company’s own goals and are specifically relevant for SMEs depends on various company-specific factors – there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” solution. Nevertheless, local providers can orientate themselves on a few dos and don’ts.
DOs in Online Marketing
1. Know and understand the target groups for online marketing
The times of linear communication are over. Like no other medium, the Internet offers the possibility of constant feedback and transparency about the activities of individual target groups. At the same time, however, this also means that customers expect direct dialogue and tailor-made offers. Every page view, every click and every scrolling can be tracked on the web, thus allowing conclusions to be drawn about user behaviour, which in turn can be used in the next step for precise target group segmentation. In this context, the correct and data protection-compliant collection, storage and processing of data play an important role, after all, they contain valuable information about the target groups, for example about their buying or surfing behaviour, their needs, their whereabouts, their habits and preferences.
2. Create a network for online marketing
Connectivity creates strength – that is what makes networks on the Internet so important. It is therefore advisable for local providers to join strong, collaborative networks such as rating platforms or online marketplaces. The advantage: Individual players in the network benefit from synergies and swarm strength. An offer that would hardly get any attention on its own becomes relevant through the bundling of many interesting offers on the online marketplace and thus gives the provider visibility and access to various target groups. At the same time, the network benefits from every additional partner who joins it, as it expands the offer, and the reach and attractiveness of the marketplace are growing steadily.
3. Content is key for online marketing
Nothing works on the Internet without good content, however much the individual marketing measures may be state-of-the-art. Unique and authentic content that offers added value for the target group is indispensable for online, after all, marketing activities should lead the generated traffic to their own channels. The most important channel is the website, only here is direct customer contact. In addition to providing all relevant information about the company, it is important to take up the topics of the target groups in the form of high-quality content in order to adequately collect and convince customers according to their specific needs. Good content creates credibility and trust and helps to tell interesting stories,
Don’ts in Online Marketing
1. Leave the marketing to laypeople
Online marketing is not a hobby or something that you can teach yourself through a few YouTube videos and forums. A deep understanding of the tools and know-how in dealing with online marketing is necessary if the measures do not cause additional costs, but rather increase efficiency and effectiveness. Smaller companies in particular often set wrong priorities here and leave the entire marketing to the managing director, who, however, sometimes does not have explicit knowledge. It is important to set up a team of specialists or to commission external service providers. Even if many companies initially shy away from investing, the professionalization of online marketing will pay off.
2. Missing or inconsistent strategy
Marketing based on the “shotgun principle”, i.e. the broad to the indiscriminate distribution of individual marketing measures, will not lead to the desired success on the Internet. A sustainable and secure strategy for how online marketing should be used and which goals it has to pay is the most important and first step. The strategy serves as the red thread of every measure and is based on the individual issues that the company has: Should new customers be won, applicants won over, awareness increased or products sold? In the strategy, various online and offline measures are combined into a functioning marketing mix.
3. Do not monitor
Current surveys show: Many smaller companies operate little or no web monitoring. The abundance of tools and the lack of knowledge about how to use them are often daunting. Web monitoring is an essential part of online marketing, after all, it can be used to check in real time whether the measures are fulfilling their purpose, the selected target groups are being reached and advertisements are being perceived. In addition, direct changes can be made if necessary. Monitoring measures are much easier on the web than in the offline area, so that wastage is minimized and marketing can be used more effectively and in a more targeted manner. The results of the monitoring can in turn be used for further strategic planning.
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