Online Marketing is essentially using a variety of channels to promote your business online. These channels include social, search, video and display. Customers today are on these channels and successful online marketing is about finding ways to be in front of the customer at the right time. The way people buy products and services has been changed by the internet, and now that everyone has a mobile device, your customers experience can happen anywhere. The customer has a lot more power in todays buying process. They have a means to compare options, research your product and share what they find out, and now get recommendations from their friends and peers, all on their digital device. The old ways of marketing have been placed on the backseat to the new online digital marketing systems.  

Print is dropping in readership, cutting the cord has been a growing trend, notifications from our favorite online retailer take our attention away from signs on the street and in the windows of stores. Radio has been replaced by streaming music and you can even pay to opt out of the advertisements. Google Local and Yelp are the new yellow pages where customer reviews and comments can really affect their choice to visit your business. Have you ever been in a brick and mortar store and used your phone to check the price with online or other local retailers?

Enter your online marketing plan, your business needs to stand out in these channels. You may fell a bit overwhelmed with the seemingly endless amounts of channels and points of interaction. Lets make it a bit more simple with three types of online marketing. Bought, Built, and Organic. Your bought media is everything you pay for, Facebook paid ads, Google Adwords, Display Marketing, and Youtube video ads. Your built media is the things that you create, your website, your list of clients that you send out emails or text messages to, or your blog or vlog that you have an audience to. Organic media consists of your social media, your connections with other blogs, or articles that another author has written about you. These three types will overlap, and your customer will overlap in their experience with your business as well. This is the foundation of your online marketing and with this foundation you can focus on getting your business in front of the customer.

The value of building your online presence is very important and most of major online marketing systems are self service, you may be tempted to jump right in. We have seen first hand business that are in such a hurry to take advantage of this opportunity and forget to build a proper strategy. To have a Facebook page or Youtube channel just to have a presence in these platforms is not the answer. To get a good return on your investment you need to have a detailed strategy in place. If you don’t invest in building your strategy you may be missing some opportunities and ultimately get left behind.

Building your strategy may take some time, and it may be a broad strategy. Lets get started by using three smaller strategies to build off of. They are your Business, your Customer and your Marketing. You will need to understand these smaller strategies to help you create a seamless online marketing strategy. How do you want your customer to perceive you, who is your customer, and how are they using digital technology? Mastering your well planned strategy will keep you focused and serve as a guide when you start to expand and explore more channels. There is no magic bullet solution here, your strategy will be different from other businesses. If you are a martial arts dojo pulling from the local community, your strategy will be different than someone selling t-shirts online. The focus of your strategy is always to create shared value. Shared Value is when the business goals and the customers goals overlap, the focus of your strategy should have shared value as the end result.

Try to think of it this way, you are not selling a product or service but you are marketing an experience. The shared value experience is what will bring you a good ROI, so as you work on your three smaller strategies keep the shared experience in your mind.

Best to everyone! Mark Crews

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