Why is marketing so important in the world of online business? When I first got into this venture, I was relatively comfortable creating a website and adding content to it. Write good content, add relevant pictures, use powerful keywords, and the game is done. But the reason for getting into this venture of online entrepreneurship was ultimately to help others achieve what I am trying to achieve: being my own boss, working from home and creating a sustainable online business. My aim therefore was for as many people out there to see my content and to read my blogs.
Today I am going to talk to you about why marketing is so important, how marketing is the deal breaker of online business and how essential it is to determine the success of your entrepreneurial career.
What is marketing
When I first realised marketing was going to be a big part of this business, I panicked. I didn’t even know exactly was marketing was all about, other than in my head somehow relating the concept to the idea of selling. And I am not good at selling. In fact, in a way I have never seen kindly to persisting salesman who want you to purchase their products at all costs – in my skeptical and defensive little world, I somehow have always struggled to believe the many qualities of something a salesman may list down to me, when their sole purpose is to make a revenue from my purchase.
What I didn’t realise at first was the fact that motivation to enter this business is not, and must not be solely to make money. Yes, I shall not deny that, once your business is affirmed, it can become highly rewarding financially. But the ultimate goal must be to help others.
At different stages in this website I have mentioned how my aim on my other website Living With A Border Terrier is to share my experience as a dog owner of a lovely border terrier, as well as for the website to become a hub of information for dog owners more generally.
Likewise, it was only after a few months from starting as an online blogger, that I soon realised I wanted to share with others how you can work from home and create a successful online business, with all the perks that this implies, including flexibility and having to abide to no other rules but your own. I wanted to give as many options as possible to other potential business entrepreneur to see that there are so many opportunities out there for us not to miss and for us to see our business grow and glow, slow but sure.
The perception of marketing I now have is completely different from my initial opinion. To me marketing is simply this: trying to share as much and as broadly as possible your experience, your knowledge and your expertise, so that others may use your information to their own advantage, and so as to enable others to make informed decisions.
More traditional ways to market your business
There ‘art’ or marketing is as old as trading business. When I referred to salesmanship earlier on .. well, marketing has always, and will always, go alongside trading.
But how can we make the most of this powerful way of spreading the word in the best possible way?
The older ways to market your business are still and always valid and effective. These include:
- Word of Mouth – you rely on people that have used your service, to recommend it to others, such as family and friends. It is free for the business owner, but it cannot be managed, as the passing of information may purely be casual and unplanned. What many businesses do, however, is incentivise word of mouth work by offering a reward if you recommend that particular service or merchandise to a third party – in a way, the basic of affiliate marketing!
- Advertising on papers or magazines – still an effective way to advertise your business, but expensive;
- Advertising on television – again, it will reach a wider slice of population, but due to the costs involved, you need to be already relatively well-established;
- Banners – by banners, I refer to cards that you see displayed in corner shops, or banners by the side of cabs or buses. I am not sure that small shops may charge – a lot of supermarkets see this as an opportunity to become local community hub. However other enterprises will charge for displaying advertising material, so again you will have to be prepared to pay;
This list is not exhaustive of course. Being a good marketer requires a great deal of imagination and creativity. But, for those like me who are short in the imaginative department, all we have to do is look around ourselves with a critical eye, so we can spot marketing opportunities by others and we can follow suit.
However, one powerful way to market your business which has taken off since the advent of the internet is online marketing.
The powerful world of online marketing
Let me tell you a thing or two about online marketing. I favour it primarily as my business is online based. But also, imagine how far out the internet can reach: literally the four corners of this planet!!! … as they would have said prior to Galileo Galilei starting realizing we were dealing with a sphere rather than a square #lol
Jokes aside, the difference between online marketing and all the other means of advertising your business, which I mentioned above, is in outreach. All the more traditional methods of marketing are for a local market, or even nationwide market. With the internet, however, your marketing literally has no limits!
Likewise, there are so many different ways to market your business online that, virtually, so long as your imagination is at work, there is no end. Again, to mention but a few:
- Social Media – In the How To Drive Traffic To Your Website For Free page, I have already talked about how influential social media has become in making your online content knows to the mass out there. Posting on social media is free of course, although they all have additional business packs which require payment
- Search Engines – when you search something on Google, for instance, you will find that the first three or four sites Google lists down for you have an ‘Ad’ little square by the side. This means that those businesses have paid Google to propose their websites at the very top of page one, even before the top ranking websites by Google algorithm. The likes of Bing and Yahoo have similar packages. They are relatively cheap and attract a lot of traffic;
- Pay Per Click Sites – otherwise, against payment of a fee, you can purchase some advertising space on pay-per-click websites. These are those sites, such as InboxPound for instance, where the visitor is invited to click on a site or to open an email agains payment of a small fee. By using a pay-per-click site, not only you grow traffic to your website, but you expose its content to viewers;
- Emails – when you have built your own website, you can use one of the many autoresponding websites to encourage your viewer to subscribe to your website, and then to send automated emails whenever you publish a page relating to a new article or a new service. Autoresponders – that’s their name – can propose free packages, but do more generally charge a monthly fee. Do they work? Provided you make good use of them, yes they do. But you may need to do a good deal of research before deciding whether to go for them or not, as you will then need to be able to manage your list of subscribers as well as the amount and quality of automated email reaching out to your subscribers;
- Post videos on YouTube – ok, it doesn’t sound as narcissist or as bold as you may think. There are so many people who have taken up to videoing themselves or their website content, or to video steps in the making of something, and they have received an unexpected number of viewers and subscribers in the region of tens of thousands. Can you imagine the level of exposure?!?! I am relatively new to this type of marketing technique, and I am still trying to find my ideal ground. Admittedly, I had to overcome one of the biggest self-confidence hurdles, but have a look at my latest production below:
My personal touch
Yes, you are right to think that online marketing is where I shine. It is not always easy, even because when marketing, you must be careful not to overdoing it – they call it ‘spamming’ when you start bombarding social media users or your list of subscribers with what start becoming harassing automated emails which are only going to clog up your subscribers’ inbox.
The main reason why you want to avoid spamming, as well as for the fact that it’s rude, is because ultimately it will drive your traffic away. Not only people won’t read your message, but they will leave your group or community where you are spamming them with unwanted messages. In fact, you could be reported for spamming, with the consequence that some social platforms will ban you from accessing their media.
Finally, I would like to point out that the above ideas are not the whole deal of marketing. Take it from me, there are as many ways to market your business, especially online, for as far and wide your imagination is prepared to travel. In fact, how about we share marketing experiences and ideas. Let us know if you have had any marketing experience so far, or if you have ever come across the most original or striking marketing idea ever, by leaving a comment below. Sharing is caring!!!