Did you know that 94% of consumers research products online before buying? Or that three out of five people use search engines as a go-to shopping resource? There is no longer any doubt that buyers go online to research and purchase products and services. Companies that have websites and market online can reap the rewards of connecting with these shoppers.
The hardest part of doing anything can be getting started, so create your game plan now to start getting the payback from marketing online. Here’s how:
Online marketing can do many things for your business. Choose one or two objectives for starters. For example, do you want to drive visitors to your website, generate more foot traffic to your store or restaurant, or gather emails for a newsletter?
Online marketing success stories can sometimes leave a small business owner wondering if it would really work for them. What if you don’t have a website — can you still reach customers online?The Small Business Online Marketing Guide – © Google Inc. 2011
Be clear about the buyers you want to reach. What do they care about most? What are their problems? Have they purchased from you before? Are they currently buying from a competitor? Also consider their gender, hobbies, location and other specifics; these can all help you determine the best ways to reach them, as well as the messages that will work best. The good news for your business is that online marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or expensive. Consider that:
If you have a website, ask your current customers how they found it. If not, ask them where they go online now. This insight can help you focus your efforts.
Just because a competitor is doing it doesn’t mean it works – but it might. Reviewing what your competition is doing can help you create your own unique approach.
Taking the time to think through your plan before you begin can dramatically improve your results. Choose one or two tactics that work within your budget, make sense for your audience and that you can commit the time to manage effectively. Many successful online marketers take a “test and refine” approach to get the greatest payback.
Online marketing makes it easy to measure program performance; take advantage of this by closely monitoring the response to your marketing programs. Increase your investment in the programs that work well and revise components of programs that aren’t working as well as you would like to see how your program improves.