How can you strengthen your Marketing Campaign
The growth of the internet on a worldwide scale means that companies can no longer rely solely on press adverts, mail drops, word of mouth and flyers to form strong marketing campaigns. Websites, social networks, search engine optimisation and forums are now all a key part of the online marketing strategy. An offline strategy needs to accompany these for a complete marketing campaign. While with offline marketing you are limited to the amount of data you can use, or a geographical area, (i.e. how many people will see a billboard poster?), an online marketing strategy can give you access to a global marketplace.
Interestingly, new digital marketing strategies seem to just be extensions of their offline versions. Mailing lists have been in existence long before the popularisation of the internet. Nowadays the term is associated with email, but contact lists have always been in use. An address to send information to has always been the backbone of a marketing campaign. Whether this be a postal address to send a catalogue to, or the ability to email a discount voucher to an address book’s worth of potential new customers, they are essentially both spreading the word.
Another extension of what was solely an offline strategy is the use of social networks. The internet takes us back to the days when a market was defined by people gathering and talking about a seller’s reputation, product quality and prices. This has evolved with the onset of the internet. Modern marketers must understand how social media works in this context, and how best to communicate with a new generation of e-commerce shoppers. Having a Facebook or Google Plus page, Twitter account or even hosting your own forum for your customers can give your business a more friendly face, as well as being a constant reminder to customers of your existence. You can keep track of the number of ‘followers’, ‘likes’ or ‘friends’ that your company/brand has, allowing you to know how many people you are reaching via this method.
The advent of online has brought one notable change with it: websites. Every business now has its own website, and e-commerce has proven extremely successful. To enable even more people to visit your website, Search Engine Optimisation is a useful tool. Using a service such as Google Adwords, an advertiser can choose the words that they want to an internet search to trigger their advertisements and the maximum amount that they will pay per click. Whenever their word features in a Google search, their advertisement will appear on the right hand side of the screen as a “sponsored link”. A feature of this service, similar to the one your website host will provide, is to monitor the amount of clicks one advertisement is receiving, so it is easy to monitor.
However, the traditional offline methods must not be ignored as so not to alienate customers who do not have internet access. Getting an editorial piece written in a magazine is still a coup. Editorials are typically published on their own page in a publication, but in certain cases, they may be published on the front page, which will pique people’s interest. Having a weblink featured in that editorial can lead to more hits for the website, and a chance for the customer to learn more about your brand.
Layout of a website or online advert is also no different to designing a poster or leaflet. It is important to display the information clearly, using strong graphics and eye-catching colours. Design is imperative, you must ensure that the colour of the font can be read easily on the background colour, that the layout is not too ‘busy’ and that you are not ‘talking down’ to customers. Website designers must recognise the AIDA process (Attraction, Interest, Desire and Action) to encourage a customer’s interest, adhere to accessibility legislation so as not to alienate visually impaired viewers, recognise entrenched user expectations (e.g. search facility must be at the top right hand side) and they must comply with the organisation’s brand ‘look’, so the website complements the brand.
Although with the onset of digital, things happen more quickly, we should pay attention to original offline marketing strategies, to see how they can be adapted for this new marketplace. A combination of offline and online strategies should be used for a strong marketing campaign, to ensure that customers without internet are not alienated, and also so the two strategies complement each other.