With business spending more of its marketing budget on the internet, online marketing is becoming an important part of the marketing mix. In fact, by the end of 2007, online advertising is expected to be the third largest medium in Australia, after newspapers and television, according to the Online Advertising Expenditure Report (ABVS 2006).
For marketers, the internet offers new ways of promoting products and services. It’s cost-effective because of the reduced need for sales staff and physical premises and it takes a local product or service to a global scale.
The internet has also brought many benefits to consumers – in particular the availability of information when and where they want it. Importantly for time-poor consumers, the internet provides an efficient way of purchasing goods and services.
Effective blogs encourage loyal and regular users and help increase traffic to your website.
A blog is like an electronic journal where the ‘blogger’ posts frequent comments about topics of interest and users participate in an online conversation.
Many organisations have been afraid of blogs because of the lack of control over content. Often, there is no time for editorial process, fact checking and PR spin. Blogs are ‘real’ and ‘real time’. The key to success is to be open and transparent, and to write your blog in a meaningful and engaging way.
If you’re starting your own blog, you need to be committed to monitoring it full-time. The point of blogging is that someone wants to talk to you, so you need to be there to listen and to provide a response. Use words and phrases that people are likely to use in search engines to help drive traffic to your site.
Another technique is to identify other bloggers relevant to your product or service and send them a sample or gift of service for free. It can’t be guaranteed, but they may talk about your product in their blog.
Research is showing that more people are aware of, and are using, podcasts. Podcasts are audio or audio-visual files that are downloaded (often via free subscription) and viewed on iPods or MP3 players. Radio programs were the first to successfully leverage podcasting as a way of communicating with their time-poor audience, and podcasts are now becoming an integrated part of broader marketing campaigns.
Podcasts can be used to raise awareness and inform audiences globally about your brand, product or service, or topic of interest. The benefit of podcasting is, unlike traditional television or radio, people can choose when and where they listen or watch your content.
Many people think that a podcast is simply a clip of audio and/or video posted to a website but it does require some technical know-how. The key to successful podcasting is the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. This feed describes the content of the podcast and distributes it to podcasting sites.
Online networking is just like traditional networking: you meet people and share information about each other, and those you like become part of your network or your friendship group. The beauty of it is that the networking can happen at any time, and from any place with internet access, from your home, work or place of education.
Online networking is growing at a rapid rate. There are 180 million profiles on MySpace and 28 million people using Facebook. Both sites allow people to publish their own profiles and photos as well as video or audio clips and messages. It’s like having your own website but it’s housed in an online community.
What does this have to do with marketing? Well, it’s all about reputation. As your network grows, more people get to know about your business or product, and your reputation spreads by word of mouth. You can also target the people that you want to be part of your network. There are many stories of people generating new business from these sites.
Online networking also has its risks. Many prospective employers and clients are researching an individual’s profiles on these sites before engaging their services. So keep your content clean and don’t misuse the network as free advertising.
There are many more new media marketing tools that can help you to improve your online presence. Why not start today?
Renee Hancock is a marketing and communications specialist whose experience spans finance, government, education, not-for-profit, telecommunications and law. She has consulted for two of Australia’s most prestigious public relations agencies and now works in-house for a leading financial services organisation.