Only three decades ago not many people would have imagined how the dynamics of shopping would change so drastically. Consumers shifted from a passive to an empowered state with the help of social media, and companies got disrupted and forced to adapt their strategies according to the characteristics and demands of this new era.
Online marketing is part of this revolution – and it is also co-responsible for it – completely changing the way people live and consume today.
The online advent also multiplied the ways of working with brands, offering many advantages to consumers and marketers such as:
- Flexibility for marketers, that have more channels to advertise in, and also for consumers, that can choose where, when, and how to consume advertising and products;
- Lower costs and more efficient campaigns, allowing to focus the target more precisely;
- Global visibility and the possibility to finally reach consumers they could not reach before.
But, do you really know what online marketing means?
It seems to be a silly question, but there still are lots of ecommerce owners that do not know the exact meaning and potential of it.
So let’s make it very clear.
Online marketing is considered a subset of marketing, consequently they have the same basic objective: to promote a product or service, sell an idea. The difference is that is al made over digital networks.
Do you need it?
If you own a conventional business, you probably do. If you own an online business, you certainly DEPEND on the strategies of online marketing to survive. That’s because at the same time that the internet offers so many chances and tools to connect you with the globe, it also immerses companies in a very competitive environment, not only among companies themselves, but also a competition for the public’s attention overall.
Therefore, the basic reason for learning more about online marketing is to be found by your customers and being able to lead them to the purchase. It also deliver other great benefits like better control of strategies, competitive lead, better customer service, and new markets. However, it is also very a challenging field, because it is crowded and changes very, very fast.
It would be very hard (not to say impossible) to give all information you need about online marketing in one post. However, we will do your best to show you its main benefits and strategies, so you can have a panoramic before you start deepening your knowledge of it.
The 2 faces of Online Marketing
To easily understand the topic, you should study online marketing under two different focus.
The first one is the research and analysis of data, in which we can englobe, for example, market and consumers’ behavior studies, and the results of the marketing strategies.
The second focus would be the choice and development of the strategies themselves. It involves the creative part of the process, that should be developed accordingly to a prior research.
Here we will give you the basics on the main online marketing strategies from both sides, remembering it is not necessary to use every single one simultaneously, but creating and keeping a marketing mix that attends your public well and according to your ecommerce capabilities.
Research and Evaluation
It is the first and last steps towards online marketing. Internet usually offers a vast number of material that you can use to understand better your market and your customer. You can start by looking for trustworthy articles and reading about the region market or the target public you want to attend, or you can interpret the graphics in tools like Google Analytics to define how your public finds your website and what is its typical journey to the purchase.
It is also important to listen to the customer through all online channels, and if necessary, also collect data in personalized forms. Save all the information you collect and use it in your favour.
Finally, internet allows you to analyze more precisely the results of campaigns you try online, with almost instantaneous feedbacks.
In marketing, geolocation comprises the identification of the real-word position of your business and customers through GPS and IP addresses in computers, mobiles, and other devices. It all started in 2005 with Google Maps, but it has become a hot topic in the last two years.
Geolocation makes possible to reach the public in very convenient moments and offer them opportunities to interact with you.
SEO and SEM
As an ecommerce you probably have heard about these term at some point of your life. SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization and it basically is what you need to do in order to be better positioned when a customer look for your product online, in search platforms like Google or Bing, without having to pay for it (organic results).
SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is the paid version of SEO and it can be also an interesting investment for ecommerces that are not so well positioned in the organic results, or that want to highlight its presence in search engines.
It means Pay Per Click and is another important acronym to get used to in the online world. It is very similar to SEM, with the difference you can use different online channels to advertise and – not only search engines – but also social media feeds, for example.
Social Media Marketing
Since we started talking about social media, you can also use its platforms in order to promote your brand and interact with your customers. Everyone is in there and your customer expects you to be there as well. Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Youtube are just some few examples of social media in where you can be available for your public.Affiliate Marketing
It is when you promote your company or products through other websites that offer related information about your ecommerce business. If you are a cosmetic ecommerce for example, it is a good idea to advertise in trendy blogs about beauty or fashion. It is a collaboration strategy based on profits sharing, you usually spend money only if it generates sales.
We have already talked about affiliate marketing in this post.
Offering relevant content for your customers through blogs and media (videos, guides, tutorials) is another way to attract and bond with customers, as they will appreciate meaningful information without trying to push them for a sale. Besides that, you will show your competence about the subject related to what you sell and have a sharp presence in their purchasing process.
Another way of generating content marketing is to impel your customers to spread a word of mouth online, with nice reviews, testimonials, and comments online.
Even though it is one of the most traditional online marketing strategies, it is still considered very powerful by marketers, and still a present move for the most successful ecommerces around the world. It allows you to enter in direct contact* to your customer, tailoring your messages and offers following their specific interests.
*Be aware that your customers need to give you permission to contact them, through subscription policies.
As we said before, online marketing is a subject in permanent transformation, and not something you learn once and you are done. There is something new almost everyday as internet technologies evolve so fast. On the other side of the screens, we see new generations growing up in from of tablets and mobiles, very used to navigate online, and more exigent than ever. For this reason it is important to follow the news and keep yourself opened to the changes. In the competitive market of ecommerces, it can be a vital advantage for your business.