As you know, “marketing” is a set of studies and actions that contribute creating products that meet the needs and desires of consumers. Marketing also ensures the products/services get promoted in the best conditions for profit.
Now marketing is a very broad practice but every business is doing it in some way or the other. Recently online marketing has become popular to market products and services. Why? Because nowadays, the majority of your marketing audience is living online.
Referring to the 4 marketing Ps, you know the importance of having your product in the right location for your target audience. Today, for many businesses, the ‘right location’ is online. That is when online marketing becomes an integral part of your marketing strategy. That’s what we are going to talk about today, marketing your products to an online audience.
Why use digital marketing?
This is one important question to ask yourself when building your marketing strategy. Should you integrate web marketing into your existing strategy? Perhaps you and your marketing team already had a debate on this. The answer resides in your business model. But, whether you operate as brick and mortar, bricks-and-clicks or e-commerce, it is important to take a look at what’s happening around us, especially in Mauritius.
Like me, you are witnessing a change in our day to day life. When we used to listen to the radio and watch television, we now stream music and movies from online services like Deezer and Netflix. We pay our bills online and transfer money by internet banking. Our buses now have Wi-Fi; so we can connect to check our newsfeed, barely paying attention to billboards on the road.
Even in brick-and-mortar shops, we are using our smartphones, scanning barcodes and use MCB Juice to pay for our purchases. We also compare products with online shops to see if we can have better deals.
The internet is changing the way Mauritians are buying products or services. Around 804,000 persons in Mauritius use the internet in January 2019 – that is 63% of the population. Think about it; your customers now have everything they need to conduct research. Armed with reviews, YouTube demos and product comparison tools, people now want the best value for money. This puts the customer in charge of the whole buying process.
To answer the question of whether you should use online marketing, the simple answer: most probably yes. Today it is online marketing and tomorrow it can be another form of marketing, as a business, you have to be present in whichever journey your customers take.
What is digital marketing
Online marketing is no different from marketing. It is the marketing branch that makes use of online channels for communication and distribution to achieve business goals. Online marketing can also be referred to as web marketing, digital marketing or internet marketing.
Before we dive into the different communication channels available on the internet, it is important to know that there are 3 forms of available media:
- Owned media – Every digital asset you own like your website or internal email database.
- Paid media – Every form of paid communication like Google AdWords, Facebook sponsored ads, and display marketing.
- Earned media – Organic external visibility such as Google Maps listing, Social Profiles and earned links and mentions from other places on the web.
The internet is huge. And ways to get your products in front of your audience are multiple. However, here are the most used channels of web marketing:
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Pay Per Clic (PPC)
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Display Ads
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Video marketing
Now, it is important to know that all online marketing disciplines listed above are independent of each other but they do overlap. For example, Google uses social media signal to rank websites in its index. Modern online marketing does not pursue channel-based strategies but aligns individual online marketing tools with the customer journey.
There’s no need to market through all channels at the same time even though you think your customers will interact with many of them. If you have limited budget or resources, take it one at a time. Choose the best marketing channel that makes sense to you. Like, if you don’t have a website, there is no need to do SEO or PPC.
Creating a digital marketing strategy
If you have the budget, what is really needed is an online marketing strategy which creates a single “action plan” to make each of these sub-strategies coexist and interact with each other while guiding your customers through their purchase journey. In large organisations and web agencies, this work is handled either by the digital marketing manager or the online marketing strategist.
Like everything you’ll read on my blog, consider this article as free advice. However, I should point out that there is no one-size-fits-all in online marketing. You will have to work on your digital marketing strategy and most probably from scratch. It might sound like a lot of work, but it is not. I think you and your marketing team will find it enriching to work on goals, set targets, create buyer personas and research where your online audience lives.
If you are a startup or don’t have the needed resource to achieve this, I highly recommend the SME Mauritius Grant for Web Design and Web Development, which also include digital marketing courses. Alternatively, you can seek such services from a digital marketing agency or contact me for professionnal advice.