Can you remember the days when businesses only ran ads in newspapers? Neither can we. Sometimes it feels like the only glimpse into traditional marketing is on an episode of Mad Men. Today, almost everything has crossed into the digital sphere. With the internet and social media on the rise, businesses are realizing that the focus needs to be on consumers’ tweets, likes and clicks not just based on a pretty ad. This may sound obvious but things are not always as simple as they appear.
There are five harsh realities of internet marketing, but with help, success is only a slick click away.
Harsh reality #1: you have to give stuff away
First off, who doesn’t like free stuff? The phrase “if it’s free, it’s for me” rings true with just about everything for everyone—and that includes internet marketing. One of the simplest things to do is run a contest or promotion for customers.
These freebies don’t need to be physical items but can be pieces of knowledge, as well (although I’m sure no one would turn down a free koozie, right?). Keep in mind, consumers not only want free tangible stuff, but information, which is invaluable. By giving a little, you can gain a lot.
Harsh reality #2: bundle your efforts
Put your Google coat on and grab your umbrella, cause it’s about to rain rankings. One of the hardest aspects of internet marketing is attracting the right kind of traffic to a website. Google loves businesses using AdWords, YouTube, and Google+ accounts.
Google not only owns (figuratively and literally) these platforms, they could just help your site rank higher on a Google search if you consistently use them, although there is no guarantee (the only guarantees in life are death and taxes).
Let’s be real—if you’re not on the first page of Google, you’re kind of dead, when it comes to searches. They say don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but the more eggs in the Google basket, the better.
Harsh reality #3: internet marketing takes time
Have you ever started a new workout or diet regimen and actually gained weight? We all know the feeling, but in order to see results, you must be patient. Start by building a strong foundation for your brand.
This involves attracting the right kind of leads (as discussed in Harsh Reality #2) to those websites and social media plaforms. Make sure to qualify prospects by ensuring that all leads are relevant to you and your business. This will help weed-out the irrelevant queries, and turn solid leads into customers.
Harsh reality #4: internet marketing takes lots of money
It’s important to put your money where your mouth is. Facebook is a great internet marketing tool because it offers you the opportunity to gain a lot of targeted traffic to your website on the cheap.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by boosting Facebook posts with as little as US$5, which is cheaper than a Starbucks venti latte. You can choose who you want to boost the post to (either friends’ friends, friends of family members, friends of co-workers, fans of friends, friends of kind of friends, or those chosen through targeting).
This is a fast and easy way to get the most bang-for-your-buck. If you play your cards right, you’ll have some money left over for office supplies like rubber bands, staples, paper and a large bag of M&Ms (peanuts, of course) .
Harsh reality #5: what others say is more important
You mean people don’t want to hear me talk? Ouch. The truth hurts and the harsh reality is that consumers don’t always care what you’re saying (we do…well, sometimes)—rather, they care whether or not you’re listening to what they want and what they say. So, put on your Beats by Dre headphones and start listening.
It’s important to understand the harsh realities associated with digital marketing, but once these are understood, the vision of successful marketing is much clearer. All it takes is a little time, some moula and a strategy that actually works.
So, start riding that train to internet marketing nirvana or you’ll be left behind at the station with your office supplies, an expensive cup of java, and scratching your head saying, “when is the next train coming”.