There are many questions out there regarding the use of online communication to fulfill the marketing required to meet your business goals. The ideology that must be addressed first involves online marketing being treated like its traditional counter parts. Internet-based ads and online marketing have their own practices, pitfalls and general mythos, but the effectiveness of this modern age method is noteworthy as corporations, like Disney, increasingly utilize it. The main three focuses of online advertising are as follows: position, reputation, and perception. The balance of these three factors leads to successful marketing campaigns conducted in a virtual space. Remaining stubbornly loyal to traditional marketing principles while employing internet marketing will yield frustration. Another important distinction to make before we elaborate further is the state of flux involved with this type of marketing. Though there are general rules to follow and methods proven to be valid, algorithms are constantly changing and innovators are always finding new edges in online communications. While traditional marketing makes small steps forward in a predicted direction, the online world is still in a way the “wild west” with many unknowns.
General advantages and disadvantages of internet-based marketing
The internet is fickle, on one occasion it will help to grow a company’s public standing while the next it acts as a watchdog bringing down organizations over one bad public relations incident. This must be considered before embarking through a marketing process relying heavily on the internet. Marketing online is not only cost effective, but it’s far reaching, finding people printed media or television advertising would not. There is much less overhead when billboards are replaced with Facebook banners and Google AdWords. Due to this blatant monetary boon, online marketing allows an organization to target many audiences at once through several methods rather than just relying on one strategy. An iPhone in every pocket and a computer on every desktop translates to more conversion for any business. With SEO, AdWords, Social Media, review sites and message boards, there are many outlets to market through. All of these require a deep knowledge pool to understand how best to maximize the effectiveness of each. In a way, the major disadvantage of online marketing is simply investing too much money in an untested outlet not suited for the business’s message, audience, budget or resources. Experts really are needed in order to understand how best to use the marketing budget to a company’s advantage without wasting too much time chasing the wrong methods.
Essential website factors for effective marketing practices and strategies:
What factors set Disney apart from its competitors in online marketing?
The website of an organization is its face, its storefront, and often the first impression it give to potential customers. Let us use Disney as an example of an exemplary website due to its message, voice, image and the feeling it leaves its customers with. Disney has created a website for the sole purpose of fostering the mental image of a fun, family-friendly, professional and memorable experience. Whether that be through their movies, theme parks, television channels or many other creations. They have the goal of leading the customer to a singular purpose, which is awareness and conversion. They make the public aware of things to come while also encouraging them to be active customers in those endeavors. Whether the company is large or small, a website is a reverse pyramid, giving lots of information about products, services and message, funneling down to a single goal. For retailers this goal is the shopping cart, while for many it’s simply to gain more customers through a contact form.
Promoting two-way communication between customers and organizations
From contact forms to social media accounts, the internet offers many ways for the organization to interact and communicate with their clients. This level of feedback is unmatched by traditional advertising which creates better marketing campaigns more in line with the needs of customers. Websites should be a hub of all these communication channels, allowing the clients to find social media accounts and contact information easily. If a website is disorganized, the visitors to the site are very unlikely to search through the site for the information they desire, which almost always includes the ability to reach out to the company. The internet gives the customer a feeling of accessibility that can’t be found anywhere else which ultimately results in a more active audience receptive to marketing.
Gathering information through the website and social media for marketing
The most effective way to build, shape and improve online marketing is to either study the analytics involved or to simply have the customer act as part of the process directly. Netflix is successful in its online advertising because it prioritizes customer comments before resorting to data research. This allows for the steady release of new programming asked for directly by the customer along with new advertising paired with it. This in a way causes a positive feedback loop of marketing tailor made by those most exposed to it rather than a company blindly determining what factors are most effective. Instead of blanket, cookie-cutter campaigns that traditional advertising is known for, online advertising is personalized, specific and targeted. Over time this will always equate to greater conversion over competitors that fail to harness the resource that is customer information gathering. A small amount of social media communication effort and website accessibility with the goal to connect with clients will translate into more business.
Improving interaction, position, perception and online representation
Interaction – Use social media, use contact forms, make the extra resources to make clients feel a part of the internal affairs of an organization in which they are heavily invested. Internet marketing is more interactive than the impersonal print advertising and television commercial of traditional marketing. Social media feed are more likely to retain rather than block the posts of business if they feel included. More inclusion means more exposure, eventually becoming a larger customer base.
Position – Search engine optimization and well placed marketing leads to a higher ranking over competitors. The internet is an environment where position is important because it allows for greater visibility. A website, social media account or review site featuring a business positioned higher than another may be all that is required for conversion. Marketing has much less burden when positioning is such a large factor. The advertising gap is shortened by this so greatly that saved money and resources can be reinvested into more campaigns and higher positioning.
Perception/Representation – A company relying heavily on the internet for marketing is only as strong as how it is perceived, because this perception influences new clients. A website, as previously mentioned goes a long way into building a positive perception. Often a homepage is a first impression to a customer that the company can actually control themselves. This representation is essential to creating a foundation to market around. If the location for representation are lacking, marketing will be seen as hollow and fake. A focus on a company’s online presence will help to make the goals of an advertisement more achievable. Marketing becomes a confirmation of branding and positive perception rather than a constant struggle to convince potential customers of legitimacy.