Marketing is a multi-faceted field, but there are a few basic pillars that drive success in online and offline marketing: digital presence, branding, and relationships.
If you’re new to marketing, these three core concepts can help simplify what may otherwise be a complex and confusing field.
1. Digital Presence
There is very little difference between “online” and “offline” any more. As more and more of the world moves online, we’re beginning to realize that there is no distinction between a digital presence and a so-called “real world” presence.
These days, you have to have a digital presence if you are to have a presence at all. Don’t worry if you don’t understand online marketing, there are plenty of courses that can teach you the tools you’ll need to grow your presence online.
The final goal is attaining a presence in the mind of your customers, so the media channels you use to reach them and build that presence should be based around their needs. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself that can help give direction on where and how you should build your presence:
Where does your audience spend their time? Knowing your customer is the first step to any effective marketing, so you should also know what types of newspapers, magazines, and blogs they read. Find out what types of websites and social networks they spend time on, then you’ll know which channels will help you build your presence.
What’s the purpose of the marketing tactic in question? If the goal of your marketing is simply to raise awareness of your company or products, you don’t necessarily want to go for the hard sell. Landing pages, on the other hand, should aim to close the deal with clear direction and calls-to-action.
Your company’s brand is your company’s image and encapsulates what your company stands for. It includes everything from your color scheme to your mission statement, your slogan, your logo, and so on.
If you want to stand out, you have to stand up for something and you need to have a strong brand. While local businesses may be able to cut some corners as far as brands go, maintaining a strong brand is one of the most crucial ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.
But it’s not just a question of standing out in the marketplace, it’s also a question of standing out online.
Google is all about branding, and you should be too. Big names at Google, such as Eric Schmidt and Matt Cutts, have both explicitly stated that brands are the future.
Past updates to the Google algorithm, according to SEOBook, have all been gradually replacing “low quality sites” with brand names. It makes sense, after all, since big brands pay big bucks for advertising.
Despite all this talk about Google and big brands, Google doesn’t rule the online world (or the real world for that matter). Social networks, blogs, forums, social apps, and similar platforms are an excellent way to connect with customers online.
And since the offline world and the online world are merging, it’s high time everyone realizes that there is no such thing as an “online” relationship and an “offline” relationship. People can certainly hide behind pseudonymity, brands, or company names, but this only degrades the quality of the relationship.
When we are talking about business and marketing, relationships have always been and will always be the foundation of good business. Relationships are prerequisites for success. While building a presence online may require reaching out through the web, social media, email, and apps, maintaining a solid connection requires two-way communication – not just paid advertising or automated social media posts.
To form effective relationships with both business partners and customers, you will need to be personable and personal. Put a face on your company: “Jerry from ABC Widgets” is better than “ABC Widgets customer service representative.” This approach includes everything from technical support to customer service, social media, and even content marketing.
While clichéd catchy phrases such as “human-to-human” don’t provide much substance for marketers, this concept does ring true when it comes to networking and relationship-building. Build relationships between people in your organization, but focus on business-level goals and aspirations.
While these three facets of marketing certainly don’t come close to covering the entire field of marketing – which includes everything from affiliate marketing to display advertising and more – this does give a taste of what you need to succeed when marketing digitally.