25th November 2013

What Is Online Marketing? – Part 1

One of the most common terms in marketing today is “Online Marketing“. It’s part of every marketing mix and no communication plan is complete without it. Yet, it seems to mean different things to different people. The more people you ask, the more definitions you get. Today we’d like to clear up the confusion and set down what Online Marketing actually means and what it consists of.

Online Marketing covers both the artistic and analytical aspects of the Web and ties them together with strategy. Online Marketing consists of 5 broad areas of marketing, namely: Awareness, Communication, Connection, Service and finally and most importantly Sales.

Awareness: You can have the best product or service in the world but if no one knows about it, what’s the use. Building awareness for your offerings is a crucial part of online marketing. It lets people know of your presence and brings you into their consideration.

Communication: This refers to informing or educating your customers about who you are, what you do, whom you serve and why you’re worth doing business with. It’s where you tell them about yourself and give them reasons to consider your product or service.

Connection: This is about getting people to know you, like you and most importantly trust you. Connection is all about building trust. It’s nearly impossible to get your customers’ dollars without first getting their trust. So connection is crucial.

Service: This is one of the most overlooked aspects of online marketing. Most people seem to forget that service is an intrinsic part of online marketing. Service involves responding to your customer’s queries, comments and questions. It also covers giving your customers a great user experience when they visit your website and making sure you’re easily found when they come looking for you online.

Sales: The very reason why we undertake any marketing effort is for sales. When all the other pieces of the online marketing puzzle come together they help boost sales and grow profits.

What ties together any Online Marketing effort is Strategy. Just as you wouldn’t undertake a journey without a map, you shouldn’t approach online marketing without a plan. When it comes to online marketing, think strategy first, execution second.

There are several steps to consider when building a good online marketing strategy. For any strategy to be successful it must take into account the following criteria: Credibility, Usability, Visibility, Sellability and Scalability. Every online marketing effort you undertake must address these points to be successful. Let’s take a look at each of them and what they mean.

In the absence of a face-to-face interaction with your customer, building credibility is crucial. Credibility leads to trust and trust leads to sales. Credibility is built by ensuring that every touch point with your consumer makes the right impression and conveys the right brand values. These include your website, blogs, content, PR, social media and online reviews and feedback. You’ll never get a second chance to make a good first impression so ensure your online marketing effort is actively building credibility for your product or service.

Usability refers to how user friendly your online presence is. This is where the artistic aspects of online marketing come into play. Site architecture and design, easy navigation, call-to-actions, emails, content and your social media initiatives all come under usability. The easier it is for people to use your online marketing, the easier it is for you to make a sale.

Visibility is another crucial step in online marketing and is where you let people know who you are and what you do. Visibility covers a number of marketing channels and includes advertising, organic search, search engine listings, social media, online PR and email. Accounting for visibility in your online marketing strategy is crucial since it often involves additional budgeting, technological support and design inputs.

Sellability is about your ability to tell and sell the value of your products and services. Sellability is your organisation putting its best foot forward. This can happen through testimonials, videos and photos, press releases and your positioning statement. Integrating sellability into your online marketing will ensure that your brand values are woven into all aspects of your online communication. Be it your website, blog or online ads.

When you successfully employ all the aspects of Credibility, Usability, Visibility and Sellability into your online marketing what you get is scalability. Scalability is the ability to successfully grow your business by acquiring new customers without losing your current ones.

In Part 2 of this Blog we’ll explore the individual components of online marketing and how to execute them well.

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