Things used to be done differently in the marketing world. Before, you needed huge budgets and marketing experts to advertise your products and services through traditional media. Now, you can effectively market with as little effort as having a social media account and excellent SEO skills.

This made it very easy for small businesses, who usually don’t have a large marketing budget, to reach out to customers. With the average American spending 4.7 hours of their 15-hour awake time online, and 70 percent of adults having at least one social media account, you can say that the Internet provides a great opportunity for marketing.

Targeted Audience

Social media has taken the guesswork out of marketing. Most traditional media, such as television, radio and billboard are like gambling, where you put out your content and hope your target audience sees it. Moreover, you could only reach an audience in a certain location where the media is published. With social media, you can reach a target audience from all over the world, you know exactly where they are online and can advertise directly to them.

You can even get them together by creating social media pages and groups where they can follow you and keep up with your brand. To keep them interested, update your social media regularly and plan your posts around things relevant to that target audience.

Engagement

This was one of the biggest problems with traditional marketing—no engagement. With social media, you can get your audience involved in conversations and get their feedback. The consumer landscape has also changed; people want to make informed purchase decisions, and social media provides platforms to do that. Also, your in-depth conversations with your customers will help them understand your brand, products and services better.

Due to the growth of customer engagement, content has become a crucial aspect of marketing. According to the Marketing Insider Group, 90 percent of companies primarily use content for marketing. To keep up with the competition, use blogs and social media platforms like LinkedIn publishing to talk about topics your audience is interested with.

This is an opportunity to build a relationship with your audience and show them that you care about their welfare beyond selling a product. Alternating marketing content with general, informative content would also work well to attract your target audience’s attention.

Tracking

It’s important to know if your marketing efforts are working so you could decide which ones to improve and which ones to let go. Traditional media offered very little opportunity to do so. Now, there are very sophisticated programs and software that measure important metrics like traffic, conversion, ROI, etc.

These metrics are essential because they can assist you in making business decisions that will help your business grow and make profits. According to Oracle, 53 percent of top businesses use analytics to drive strategy while 50 percent use them to transform daily operations from which they have seen thrice the improvement on their company’s overall performance.

If you are not utilizing analytics yet, you need to start now and track the progress of your business. This will help make strategic marketing decisions for your business, which will lead to an increase in conversions and profit.

On the Flipside …

There are billions of content and marketing material online. According to The Radicati group, an average person receives about 90 emails per day. Then, there are the hundreds of articles they browse through, plus all the marketing pop-up advertisements, lead capture pages, etc. that they come across on a daily basis.

The Internet has made it easier for your content to get lost fast or, worse, to never even be seen by a single potential client. With traditional media, you know your television advertisement is going to be seen by someone. After you submit it to the agency of your choice, you didn’t need to do much work.

With digital marketing, you have to understand the mechanics of the Internet. You have to learn how to craft your content so that it can get picked up by search engines and appear at the top of the search pages when users type in words related to your product. This is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO has become more complex as search engine algorithms advance. Now search engines like Google will rank content that is “overstuffed” with keywords low, hence your content may still go unseen even after you optimize it for search engines.

Also, people may decide not to interact with your page if it does not appeal to them. Thus, you have to learn to create engaging, informative content that influences your target audience’s buying decision without being pushy.

People also want value online, so if your content is always trying to sell something, people will not want to interact with your page. Content makes up 50 percent of what contributes to sales; you have to get the right mix to make a profit. Make any mistakes and you reduce your chance of getting a sale by 40 percent, according to Marketing Inside Group.

Digital marketing is more complex and demanding than traditional marketing. There are many rules and metrics that marketers have to learn, and you still need to understand them even if you are hiring someone to do it for you. You also need to know the content creation process, upkeep of a website, social media marketing and traffic generation, which could require more work than traditional media.

Verdict?

No one can argue that the Internet has made it much easier for businesses to market themselves. It provides a ready, targeted audience, and you can advertise on a very small budget. Companies can develop relationships with their customers while improving brand loyalty and product understanding.

However, it also made things more complex, which can be very taxing and confusing especially to new marketers. The good news is, all the knowledge and information one needs to build a strong digital marketing campaign is freely available online, so marketing doesn’t have to be such a stressful task.