Online Marketing: How the Internet has Changed Business Marketing and Advertising
Find out how you can use the internet to grow your business and attract new customers.
For decades businesses have been using very static and traditional forms of advertising: flyers, newsletters, business cards, newspaper and TV ads, etc. Yes, all these techniques work – they get your business and product into potential customers’ line of sight, and if you use them correctly they will certainly bring more people in through your doors.
Over the last 15 to 20 years the internet has, quite frankly, revolutionized everything. Every industry in this country has somehow been affected by the rise of the internet. It has even caused the creation of new industries and jobs, and eliminated the necessity for others. The military uses it to track people of interest; hospitals use it to share patient information; restaurants use it to take reservations and delivery orders; and now YOU will use it to market and advertise your business.
3 Ways You Must Use the Internet to Market Your Business
1. Business Website: If you don’t already have a website set up for your business that is absolutely the first step. A website has infinite more reach than any kind of physical, printed advertisement, and it is much easier to develop than you think. Billboards can only be seen if you pass in front of them, TV ads can only be seen if you happen to be watching at the exact moment they come on – a website is available to anyone looking for your product at any time. 24/7, anyone from California to Florida looking for your product can find it.
Now, if you are one of the vast majority of people that only have utilitarian computer knowledge you might think that making your own website is impossible. Remember when I said the industry has created new jobs and industries? Well, there are websites and companies that have simplified website design for average small business owners. By using simple directions and templates these programs allow you to create the perfect website with the perfect message for your business. You can customize everything from colors, to text, to graphics.
2. Email Marketing: Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that reaches out to former and prospective customers directly via Email. It can be an incredibly effective business marketing tool. Have you realized that big retail stores have begun asking for your Email address during check out, and then you receive an Email from them about special offers a few days later? That’s Email marketing.
When you collect customer information like name, phone number and address, simply ask for their Email address and if they’d like to receive Email offers; this is a great way to keep up with customers and keep them coming back.
There are also companies and services that specialize in online marketing. They can help you create a list of prospective targets and help you craft an effective newsletter to send out. A business newsletter, or Email newsletter, is another tool to keep people in touch with new events and products at your business.
3. Social Media: Social media is a phenomenon that only exists because of the internet. Social media is a website that connects both people and information, a la youtube.com, facebook.com, twitter.com, etc. What better place to advertise your business than a website that connects millions of people, and connects them to information?
Sites like twitter and facebook, originally designed for personal/ individual use, have recently developed business pages which allow businesses to connect with the millions of people on their networks. You can create an entire page for your business, describing who you are, what you offer and where. You can easily send out messages and quick updates to keep your customers, friends and fans informed.
The amazing power of the internet is that it connects people and it brings information together. As a tool for business marketing it is an absolute must. If you embrace the internet it can transform your business and give you an edge over the competition. Internet marketing is the greatest innovation is advertising since the television commercial, and it is the next crucial step towards growing your business.