Online marketing is easier and cheaper than offline, but it's easier to lose visitors and never get them back. Here's what works in high tech markets, what doesn't and how to get the most out of what does.
Online or internet marketing has many advantages over offline (traditional) marketing: cost, speed, scalability, measurability and ease of testing and tweaking.
It’s the ideal marketing option, but only if you get your format, messaging and targeting right. Ignore this and you’ll be delivering a ton of content that no one wants, and that won't help build your pipeline or increase your website ranking, either. Read more about how we 'do' marketing for the hi tech sector).
Your website is your most critical online asset. To attract the right buyers (and search engines) your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) must be clear, your web content fresh, your offers compelling and your optin process easy. High quality content that's relevant to your target audience is critical. All your other online channels must link back to your website so it needs to be your hub, your honeypot for the right visitors.
2. Search Marketing
Search marketing covers Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or optimising your website to be found organically, and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or paying to be found, such as using Google Adwords.
SEO is far more a consequence of content marketing these days, so don't get hooked by those email offers from dubious-sounding off-shore characters to get you 'number 1 on Google'. Even if they were genuine, it woudn't work: if your content is fresh and of high quality and people are consuming and sharing it, search engines will find you and your ranking will increase naturally. No need to pay an army of web monkeys.
Content is vital for SEM too. Your ads have to be targeted, your key terms well selected and your content must deliver well on the key terms, or you'll be paying for a bunch of visitors who find your web content irrelevant when they arrive. If that happens, they'll just bounce (leave after one page view) which is not only a waste of a click (for which you've paid) but it won't help your rankings or help you get found next time, either.
3. Social Media Marketing
SMM is all about using your content to attract readers, so they’ll share and recommend it to others: the dream of 'going viral' so thousands or millions more people read your content.
That fine if you're Kim Kardashian and have 18 million followers who'll consume any morsel about you, and think that any publicity is better than none. If you're a high tehc company, your markets are highly specific, so there's no value or return to you if thousands of irrelevant people consume and share your stuff.
You're better off being selective in the media you choose (such as business social media like Linkedin rather than Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest) and the content you post, so that any sharing will actually do you some good: like reaching a new market for your product, not just a new audience.
4. Content marketing
Content marketing is the mindset behind all effective online marketing: creation and delivery of specific content to engage and convert specific buyers.
If you think like a content marketer, your choice and use of the other online media will be more effective. Your content is key - be it your web content, social media content, email content or content for banner ads. To make online marketing work, your content needs to be high value and relevant, and your delivery mechanism closely matched to target buyers.
5. Email marketing
Email is the most effective means of online marketing, mainly because it lets you speak one-on-one with the buyer. However, to make that conversation meaningful (and to avoid being 'deleted' or 'unsubscribed') you need to be highly selective about your targets and conversation: the old 'one email to all' doesn't work anymore, unless they all know you well, and it's a general news item that won't cause them to click off and blacklist you.
For best results, link automated emails to your website optin process, and make them specific to the industry and type of buyer. For instance, at opt-in or soon after, ask the contact to select his industry and move him to an industry specific campaign, that speaks in his own language about his specific industry and role-related problems.
You'll need marketing automation to do this, so your lead capture, engagement and qualification machine can be operating continuously in the background for you.
6. Mobile marketing
Since last month, mobile marketing has become even more important: on April 21, Google made changes to its algorithm to rank mobile-friendly websites higher than those that aren’t (read more in Mobilegeddon is Google’s latest update really the end?) Mobile marketing requires your content to be easily consumed on mobile devices and, although most B2B buyers still use the desktop most, this is changing rapidly.
To make it easy for buyers to consume your content on smart phones and tablets as well as desktops, and make sure Google doesn't penalise you, just design your website (and downloadable content too) with all device types in mind. You can't go wrong.
7. Banner ads
These are the ads you place on industry websites, online media, social media websites and your own website, designed to attract visitors to click through to your content. Because they're obviously ads and web visitors long ago learned to screen them out, banner ads were popular and more effective 5 or so years ago.
You’ll pay each time a reader clicks on your ad, so if you need some banner ads to back up say a product launch, make it highly targeted to buyers and their problems or, as with Social Media Marketing, you’ll be paying for irrelevant traffic, who'll just bounce.
So, in short, with online marketing (as with offline to some extent) targeting your market and your content will save you money and connect with those you want, not hoards of those you don't. High quality relevant content is key to any marketing.
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