It might seem like there are unlimited options for online marketing but in truth there are only really four main options.
- Google AdWords
- Search engine optimization
- Facebook marketing
- Email marketing
Which Online Marketing Methods Should I Use?
In order to work out which of these marketing methods is best for you, you need to analyze your own needs. Which of the following best describes you?
1. I need immediate sales!
Your best option may be to try Google AdWords. This taps you directly into people who need your goods or services. You could also try Facebook pay-per-click (PPC) advertising using a direct call to action such as “phone us today on…” or “make your purchase today.”
2. I wish to expand my business over the next 1 – 3 years!
If you’re looking for a longer-term investment a search engine optimization (SEO) package may be the way to go. It will grow your website traffic at a slower rate, however, it provides you with better return on investment. SEO isn’t a quick fix, but it does deliver valuable results.
3. I need to grow my brand and increase my audience!
Facebook is an excellent way of achieving this. You can grow your followers on Facebook, promote your products to them, and increase your email database, too. You can then use email marketing as another way of selling to this audience.
4. I already have a large database (1000+)!
It’s much easier to sell to existing customers than trying to sell to new ones. Actively promote your products to these customers via email, and get referrals to new customers.
5. I need the lot!
There are some companies that want the complete package. In this situation, rather than go hard out from the get-go, it’s best to start with one option, test and prove it for three to six months, and then, move onto the next. It is very important that each method is tested and proved before implementing the next.
Obviously, the above recommendations are all very general. Every business is different and needs different things, but this is a good starting point.
Who Should Do My Online Marketing?
You have three choices when choosing who should be implementing your online marketing:
1. Do It Yourself
- Low investment in dollars
- High investment in time
- Lowest quality campaigns
If you’re a startup or micro business with a small budget, this may be the best way forward for you. I strongly recommend doing some courses on Lynda.com or a similar website. Like anything, when you do it for the first time, you run the risk of doing it poorly and wasting money in the process.
2. Hire a Marketing Staff Member
- High investment in dollars
- Moderate investment in time
- Moderate quality campaigns
Some businesses prefer to hire a marketing person for themselves. This makes sense for a lot of larger businesses or for smaller businesses who may want to get someone to wear a few hats such as marketing, reception, and inbound sales. However, it’s usually more expensive than hiring an agency because you have them on the books permanently. It will also cost you time in management hours. The main thing to consider is how much experience they have in online marketing. It’s extremely rare to find someone with high levels of competence across all of the different technologies.
3. Hire an Agency
- Moderate investment in dollars
- Low investment in time
- High quality campaigns
When you choose to hire an agency, you need to choose wisely. Not all agencies are equal. I would never give my marketing to an overseas business. While it might be cheaper, it will be inferior in quality. I have plenty of clients who have tried this and failed. You need to find someone that you speak with (preferably meet with and look in the eye) and that understands you and your business. While you will usually pay a higher hourly rate for an agency, the monthly rate is usually lower than hiring a staff member. The real benefit is that you are hiring a team of experts who do online marketing all day every day and have vast experience. They will know answers to questions you haven’t even thought to ask yet.
About the Author
Louise Procter is a Marketing Assistant and Content Developer for TheOnlineCo. She is also their resident “Mrs Have a chat.” Louise enjoys building connections with people and combining her love of writing with her love of meeting new people.