Internet marketing is the fastest growing trend today and has made marketing even easier for marketers. Alex Trengove says, ”as the world becomes ever more connected, web centric keeping up with developments and trends is vital for marketers trying to reach new audiences – who are more discerning, fragmented and cynical than ever,” says the Online marketing guru. Technology and software are changing at a fast pace that it seems almost impossible to keep up with trends. Products and services are now evolving and adapting to the online/internet sphere. The web is constantly shifting, ever growing and ever changing – everything is transitory.
Internet marketing often called online marketing or eMarketing,” is essentially any marketing activity that is conducted online through the use of internet technologies,” says a media specialist. He further states that,”it comprises not only advertising that is shown on websites, but also other kinds of online activities like email and social networking,”. Every aspect of internet marketing is digital, meaning that it is electronic information that is transmitted on a computer, mobile or similar device, though naturally it can tie in with traditional offline advertising and sales too.
Internet marketing has three cornerstone principles:
1. Immediacy: The web is ever dynamic and online audiences, whose attention spans are short, expect on-the-minute updates and information. To keep the attention and favour of this group, you must respond to online messages and interact with communities and customers promptly.
2. Personalization: Customers online are no longer faceless members of a broad target audience – they are people who want to be addressed personally. Use the wealth of personal information available online to your benefit by targeting the relevant people personally and specifically.
3. Relevance: Communication online must be interesting, engaging, and relevant to the reader, otherwise it will simply be ignored. With all the information that is competing for your audience’s attention, you must find a way to stand out and connect to your readers. The best way to do this is by giving them exactly what they want.
Throughout its history, the internet has reinvented itself many times and the changes are far from being over. The current web is dominated by cooperation, sharing, personal entertainment and socializing. Anna Malczky a media specialist says,” it is platform for both entertainment and work an essential tool for virtually every business and the go-to repository for all forms of media culture products,” she elaborates. People of all ages, gender are spending a lot of time online and are turning to the internet for better services, convenience and life-enhancing tools. Just think how people use online banking, web communities, online shopping that cross all boundaries, updates, social networks, instant news and any of the dozens of other things that the web makes possible.
In 2010 was the first year where online advertising spend overtook the amount of money spent on newspaper advertising in the South Africa. It was the same year that online readership overtook traditional newspaper readership, which illustrates just how large an impact the internet has had on the marketing and advertising industry.
Online equivalents of traditional techniques
Physical office > Website. Think of your website as the public face of your company. Where before customers would visit or phone your office to find out about your products or to make business arrangements, this can now all be done on the official website. A website can offer additional features, like useful resources, online shopping and customer support.
Direct postal mail > Email. Email is the targeted, personalized equivalent of traditional posted direct mail. It has several advantages. Firstly, it is much easier for the client to act on the information if you include a link or a fill-in form for a competition. Secondly, it is easy for the customer to opt out of the advertising, making it less intrusive – or they can share it further if they find the content useful. Thirdly, it is much easier to construct a specifically targeted list online, due to the wide availability of demographic information. Finally, email marketing is cheaper and quicker, since there is no printing or posting involved – which also makes following up and answering questions easy.
Traditional advertising > Online advertising. Print, radio and television advertising usually requires a large investment upfront for creation, and a second large sum for placement. Online advertising carries a much lower risk, since it can be fully controlled, changed, retracted and modified at any time. The more targeted the advert, the more likely you are to generate qualified leads and higher returns.
Surveys, polls and market research > Web analytics. The traditional way of measuring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign was to take survey and polls of consumers and to measure the effect on the company’s income; both quite blunt and subjective measures. Web analytics are very different – they allow absolute and precise measurement of every activity that your marketing material is involved in, giving you the best picture of what works.
Traditional PR > Web PR. Traditional PR usually happens behind closed doors, as individual problems and complaints can be dealt with in private, or on the large scale, through impersonal broadcast media. On the web, PR takes on an entirely different dimension, because anyone can read what others are saying about your company. If the message is bad, a substantial crisis can occur. Brand management and PR are incredibly important on the web, because even one dissident voice can have a marked effect.
Word of mouth > Viral. Traditional marketing relies heavily on word of mouth to spread slogans, brand names and recommendations, and the web is no different. However, online word of mouth has the tendency to spread virally, as each agent is linked to exponentially increasing numbers of people down the line. If every Facebook user has an average of 100 friends, then every profile is just two steps away from 1 million others. Figures of this scale indicate just why ideas can spread virally on the web.