Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Main Street Marketing 2.0 (Part 3)

Main Street businesses are certainly familiar with traditional forms of advertising. Newspapers, magazines, billboards, bus benches, radio, and television ads are traditional forms of push marketing. Push marketing allows businesses to inform potential customers and create awareness about their company and any sales or services offered, announcements can be temporary or long standing.

Yellowpages, business directories, and tourist information centers are traditional forms of pull marketing. Pull marketing takes advantage of the awareness created. Once a customer identifies his needs or wants, he seeks out ways to contact or visit companies that offer exactly what the customer is looking for.

All of these have a direct mirror in Internet Marketing. The difference between online and traditional marketing is that businesses are:
  • able to reach to a wider audience at less cost
  • able to easily track the results
  • able to respond quicker to customer demand

Let's look at a table where we can see the mirrors of each strategy and where they fit into the buying cycle of customer behavior.

Although they did not fit on the table, we can assume that all the traditional push strategies fit only into the purchase stage of the funnel. But to be fair we'll stick with push media for now. Pull marketing is worthy of it's own lengthy blog.

Once again the Internet has an advantage over traditional media, because it can do remarketing. Remarketing is where, because online activities are being traced, we have a second opportunity to capture purchase makers even if they did not click on our push ad. Another more detailed blog about that later.

Back to the matter at hand Display ads and banner ads are to newspaper, magazine and billboard ads as television and radio are to viral video marketing and social media marketing.

Display ads appear among the content of news and other informational sites to potential customers that are a captured audience on those sites just like newspaper and magazine ads have a captured audience. With Internet marketing the number of impressions can be accurately measured. Not so with newspaper and other print and good luck measuring how many people see your roadside billboard.

Like TV and radio ads Social media and viral videos are subject to the whims of the viewer or listener. Once ads come on they can change the station unless the ads peak their interest. With TV and radio you cannot count how many times your ad was seen or heard. Viral videos and social media can be exact to how many times your ad was watched, and unique to the Internet, reviewed by the public!

By now you should be able to the ongoing trend here. Traditional marketing while effective most of the time does not provide accurate measurement and therefore presents an iffy portrayal of your Return on Investment. Internet marketing is just as effective if not more and portrays an exact measure for your Return on Investment. For those businesses that need to watch their bottom line more closely the Internet is their best option although a healthy mix of both would be ideal. Call your WSI Internet Consultant to learn more about the best strategy for your business today!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Main Street 2.0: Local internet Marketing (Part 2)

In part 2, we are going to discuss some more similarities between how a business markets themselves on and offline. Main Street businesses spend lots of money to generate word of mouth. Let's examine the most expensive part of those activities especially for a new business: their storefront.

Main Street is popular because of all the unique storefronts that decorate the sidewalks with entertaining window displays, inviting scents wafting from restaurants, and the colorful characters that make shopping downtown memorable. Companies spend a lot of initial investment creating the right look and feel for their storefront. Every element of their design is meant to attract customers and create word of mouth. It is most effective when foot traffic or window shoppers with no set shopping agenda say,"Ooh that place looks neat. Let's check it out!" And you know, when they get home they tell their friends about this really cool store they found.

Internet Marketing has a similar expense when building online storefront. Although a website is much cheaper than designing a physical store it still needs the same care and attention. Like a window diplay your website needs to be attractive and compelling. Like having good employees your website needs to be able to inform customers to turn traffic into purchases. We call these conversions. Conversion based architecture needs to be included in your website design to make your investment effective.

Businesses want to be located on Main Street because it brings them the most foot traffic. Local internet marketing does the same thing for online traffic. Companies need to invest in IM strategies to have the best location among their competitors. Thus, they will gain the most traffic and the most customers for their type of business. Like Main Street the Internet used to be small and simple to market your business. When malls and big box stores started to compete with Main Steet, it had to up its game. Nowadays the Internet is flooded with comeptition and local businesses once again need to up their game. The best strategy for them is to leverage proven Internet Marketing techniques.

Webdesign is the starting point but you can't stop there. You need to promote it and measure the results. Traditonal media can be hard to measure. The Internet makes it easy with web analytics. Like your accountant can tell you how much ROI you are getting per sqaure foot of store space, your Internet Marketing consultant can tell you your ROI for all the ways you promote your online store. Ask a WSI Internet Consultant to show you how.