One of the most challenging aspects of running any business is deciding how much should be set aside for marketing and promotions and how it should be used. In the past, there were only a few options. Bosses could buy ads in local magazines or newspapers or spots on the radio or television. But the internet and social media are entirely different animals. Not only can it help owners reach more potential customers than any other type of media, it is also a lot cheaper.
Business owners can purchase online advertisements for a fraction of the price of traditional ads, which is one of the reasons why online marketing surpassed print advertising in terms of total spending for the first time in 2012. According to numerous reports, online marketing is growing by double digits, while the overall advertising industry is only expanding by around 3 percent per annum.
Types of online advertising
The easiest and often most affordable way to increase your online presence is to create a website using a free template. These web addresses provide worldwide coverage and help companies of all sizes reach potential customers outside of their local zip code. With that said, websites can be expensive and tedious to maintain. Not only do they require regular updates, but they must also be optimized in order to increase traffic to your website.
Better known as search engine optimization (SEO), these tactics and techniques are used by IT professionals to make it easier for the major search engines to find a specific website. Adding blogs, original content, and hyperlinks can all help to improve your online presence or visibility. But probably the most effective and inexpensive way to get the word out about your business is to promote it on social networking sites.
What are they?
Two of the ten most popular addresses on the internet are social media websites. With an estimated 700 million monthly guests, Facebook is the second most visited online site. Twitter, a microblogging service, isn’t far behind with 200 million monthly visitors. But what service do these sites actually provide? First and foremost, they help people keep in touch on the internet, hence the name social networking site. However, they can also be used by businesses of any size to promote their products and/or services for free!
Still a burgeoning industry in the midst of rapid expansion, social media and networking companies raked in about 1.8 billion dollars in revenue last year. That figure is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, due in no small part to online marketing campaigns. You see, all of the top social media and networking sites let companies of any size create their own member pages where they can promote their businesses for free.
The words “free” and “advertising” don’t normally go together in the modern era. Business owners typically spend beaucoup bucks on marketing campaigns that involve newspaper, radio, or television ads. On a local level, they might also print up and hand out fliers or send mailers to attract new customers. But these old-fashioned marketing methods are not only expensive, they are also ineffective. Because it is nearly impossible to speak directly to your target audience with fliers or mailers, radio or television ads, these options are often ineffectual.
Broaden your base
No matter what you sell or where you sell it, promoting your products on social media networking sites gives you access to a much larger group of potential customers. And because the pages on these sites can be linked directly to your website, they should help increase traffic and sales in no time. Social media and networking also helps employers recruit new talent on the cheap. A prospective employee can contact you directly on your business page on any of the social media networking sites you belong to.
Perhaps that greatest weakness of print advertising is that it is difficult to measure or quantify its effectiveness. But that is not the case with online marketing campaigns. With the click of a button, business owners can find out exactly how many people visited their websites because of a particular banner ad or link.
We said it before and we’ll say it again, online marketing is much cheaper than any other type of advertising media. You can reach potential customers for pennies on the dollar compared to print, radio, or television. Not to mention the fact that virtual ads are much more versatile and can be changed or revised in seconds, unlike print or TV ads that are pretty much set in stone.
About the author
Martha Buckley is a freelance writer currently working for a custom writing service. She loves learning new things and she is always excited to share them with others