Marketing used to be about finding a group of people interested in and willing to buy your product or service. We ran television, radio or newspaper ads. We put up billboards or did trade shows or placed ads in the yellow pages. While these things still produce results in targeted local markets, those who hope to market a product or service successfully must use the Internet if they hope to reach their target profiles.
Everyone who does Internet marketing has an Internet marketing strategy. Some are successful, while some fail miserably. Most fall somewhere in the middle. To create a truly effective Internet marketing strategy, we must be aware of how those target profiles find information on the Internet. An Internet marketing and publicity strategy is no longer just about sending press releases to the media or about putting up a website, a Facebook page or a blog. Nearly everyone does this, so these will not create much real presence. You must instead develop a real presence in four key areas to be effective in today’s marketing environment:
Search Engines – A large percentage of buyers now say the Internet is their FIRST choice for purchasing decisions. Even those who prefer to buy in the ‘real’ world will often do their research on the Internet before purchasing in the real world.
Traditional Media – this is still important, but only if your profiles are still getting their information from television, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc. We think of appearing in these forms of media when we think of publicity, but Internet media has overshadowed these.
Social Media – a very large percentage of people now participate in some form of social media. You must be there to be found, or risk being invisible
The ‘Blogosphere’ - bloggers are fast becoming the ‘New Media’
Your presence in each of these four key areas is known as your ‘footprint’. Without a real presence in each area, you may find yourself to be invisible to large groups of Internet buyers – remember that today the Internet buyer is nearly EVERYBODY. Once this footprint is established, future efforts increase the size of that footprint, making it easier to find you. This is an inbound, pull Internet marketing strategy.
The outbound strategy, on the other hand, will cause people to look for you. This is the more ‘traditional’ advertising or marketing message, social media message, etc. Here you find people and make them aware that you exist. You must have both strategies in place, with the primary focus being on the inbound strategy. These are two sides of one coin. It is not ‘one or the other’. It is both; with the focus being on inbound.
In traditional marketing, the goal is to find people who might be interested in your product or service. In regards to an effective Internet marketing strategy, it is more important that your target profiles can find you.