What Are Some Magical Email Marketing Strategies
Online marketing strategy for small and medium-sized companies: strengths, weaknesses, advantages & disadvantages
Online marketing strategies have been an integral part of advertising for many years. But with all the possibilities and the hype - what does it really bring for a small or medium-sized company? Do you have to invest in social media, search engine optimization & Co these days? In this article we look at the specific advantages and disadvantages as well as opportunities for companies in the area of online marketing strategy.
Let's start at the beginning: The definition - what is online marketing?
Before we get caught up in the details, let's first clarify what is actually meant by online marketing. Good old Wikipedia writes:
"On-line–marketing (also internet marketing orWeb–marketing called) includes allmarketing-Measures thaton-line be carried out to achieve marketing goals, this ranges from brand awareness to the completion of aOn-line-Geschäftes. "Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online-Marketing
With that the most important thing has actually been said. Any measures that are carried out online (on the Internet) fall under the concept of online marketing. For many, this primarily means being found via search engines or, more precisely, Google. But is that really all?
No. Even if it is certainly one of the most important channels, online marketing consists of much more. This includes the following marketing measures, which can also be of primary interest to most SMEs:
- Your own website
Design, structure, function and contact points of your own website form an essential part of the online marketing strategy. Your own website is usually the central point of contact for all other online channels.
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
There is a subdivision into search engine optimization (SEO) and
Search engine advertising (SEA). In both cases, the aim is to be found in search engines for relevant search queries. While in search engine optimization one tries to appear as far ahead as possible in the unpaid (so-called organic) search results, one buys the position in search engine advertising (e.g. via Google Ads) and pays for it per click.
- Display advertising:
One of the oldest forms of online marketing: banner advertising on relevant websites that place advertisements.
- Email Marketing:
Marketing by means of e-mail newsletters etc. as an equivalent to classic direct marketing by post.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM):
Marketing and promotional activities via social networks, such as B. Facebook, Instagram etc.
- Content Marketing:
Content marketing deals with the production and distribution of content with the aim of obtaining new customers and retaining existing ones. This information can come in a variety of formats, such as blogs, news, videos, white papers, e-books, graphs, case studies, or how-to guides.
Okay, what's the point? The SWOT analysis
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. With this model, different areas can be analyzed in a structured way in order to shed light on the advantages and disadvantages.
Let's take a quick look at this SWOT analysis for the area of online marketing strategy.
Strengths of online marketing
That is certainly one of the most important strengths Targeting (Alignment). No other form of advertising can be used, for. B. reach someone with their advertising at the precise moment they are looking for a certain product or service (example: ordering flowers online, plumber Vienna, water damage emergency service, etc.). Good targeting therefore results in minimal wastage.
Likewise is the Measurability a particular strength of the online marketing strategy. If you set up appropriate tracking, you can see exactly which search terms or which advertisements etc. a target group requested, ordered, reacted to etc. In online shops it is even possible to break this down to sales per search term or target group or ad text.
Another important benefit is that Scalability. New regions or even entire countries can be tackled with relatively little effort. So an alignment z. B. the Facebook or Google Ads campaigns on Switzerland or Germany quickly done and you are already represented in 2 new countries. But even if you cannot or do not want to expand into new countries, you can also increase advertising expenditure in your own country very flexibly and thus scale your own advertising.
Weaknesses in online marketing
One of the main weaknesses seen from the perspective of SMEs could certainly be this Fast pace & complexity of online marketing. New platforms, new functions, new rules, new possibilities - for a layperson it is hardly possible to stay up to date and to know the bottom line what is really relevant for his company. Agencies that specialize in social media often advertise Facebook & Co as a miracle weapon, while agencies specializing in search engine marketing, in turn, idolize these measures. But what is right now? Smaller companies in particular often do not have a marketing manager or at least no one who has extensive training in the field of online marketing. So you are largely dependent on external agencies and have to try to keep track of things as much as possible.
Overconfidence and apparently low entry barriers - which could possibly also be an advantage (low entry barriers) is often a deadly combination in combination with a lack of experience, training and optimistic overestimation of oneself. Some entrepreneurs believe that an online marketing strategy will magically solve any problem and have completely false expectations about it. Because even if it brings many opportunities, the competition does not sleep either and in almost every industry there are already some companies that already have highly professional campaigns running. Accordingly, you have to assess the effort honestly and correctly - unfortunately it is sometimes presented by various "online marketing gurus" as if it were the egg-laying woolly milk pig, with which anyone can become a millionaire without large investment and know-how.
What are the chances behind the online marketing strategy? The greatest chance is probably that you can at least get involved with small budgets. I remember the beginnings of my advertising agency - with a monthly click budget of € 150, - I started my (then) AdWords campaigns and was able to win my first customers over time. We are now investing many times over in online advertising - but we have always been able to scale our advertising expenditure to match our growth and thus grow healthily. Every company therefore has a relatively equal chance of being part of the market - if you think of the classic forms of advertising, such as B. newspaper advertisements, TV or radio advertisements, one immediately recognizes that these are hardly profitable for an SME.
Every advantage and every opportunity can also be seen as a possible danger - the low entry barriers not only apply to your own company, but also to the competition. There are also some factors that are completely outside of your own control area - today still number 1 on Google, you could suddenly find yourself on the 2nd page of search results tomorrow through a change in Google's search algorithm and experience a massive drop in inquiries or sales . Today a good reach on Facebook in the desired target group. B. by changing which posts are displayed to users, break in massively.
Conclusion of the SWOT analysis
While an online marketing strategy certainly brings with it many opportunities and every company should take advantage of them, one must also be aware that there are also some risks. A complete neglect of proven offline marketing activities could break your neck sooner or later. With this in mind, online marketing should be part of a healthy marketing mix for any business.
Proven strategies for SMEs
How can an SME start making a meaningful start in online marketing? It is important not to throw the fundamentals of economic and strategic thinking overboard. All too often I have seen an entrepreneur invest in measures that can never be profitable for the company - probably through the belief that the appropriate online marketing strategy magically solves all problems.
The first question: what do you want to achieve?
In the first step you should formulate which goal you are actually pursuing. Do you want to generate more inquiries and sales? Do you want to increase awareness? Influence the image? Acting as an attractive employer to attract talent? Often this step is already skipped. "We need a Facebook page", it sounds from the office of the managing director. If you ask the question "OK, why?" You often look into a perplexed face or hear "everyone has one."
Sure, social media definitely has potential, but only if you know what you want to achieve. The next step is how.
As part of the goal, you should also define which budget you can or would like to make available for the measures. This is an important step because it sometimes brings you back down to earth.
A goal like “We would like to double our inquiries” combined with “We have a budget of € 2,000 for online marketing” will quickly turn out to be unrealistic. B. Spends € 20,000 / year.
Do the math for yourself, e.g. B. an inquiry or a new customer currently costs or is worth. Multiply it by the number of new customers you want to get - now you have a guideline for the necessary budget.
You should also define a realistic timeframe - as with everything, it takes some time to test, analyze and correct the approach. Therefore, the period should not be too short here either - depending on the channel, it can take several months before you see the first results.
It is best to use another model to define your goals: SMART goals.
"S" stands for "Stated", specifically in German
"M" stands for "measurable", in German measurable
"A" stands for "agreed" or "achievable", agreed in German, accepted or achievable
"R" stands for "reasonable" or "realistic", in German realistic or realizable
"T" stands for "time-bound", terminated in German.
By making sure your goal includes each of these, you will have eliminated some common stumbling blocks in the goal-setting process.
The second question: who do you want to reach?
After you have formulated the goal, the question naturally arises as to who you want / have to reach in order to achieve this goal. Who is the relevant target group? Is it young talent that you want to address as an employer? Are they marketing directors and managing directors of companies? In this step it is important to clearly define what the optimal customer looks like, what interests he has, etc.
How can you achieve the goal?
Now you know what and whom you want to reach. So now the question arises of how. This point is divided into 2 steps:
- Which channels do I use?
- What do I do with the respective channel?
For the first point, look again at the list of the most important online marketing channels at the beginning of the article.
With which one are you most likely to reach your desired target group and goal?
Below is a small table of advantages and disadvantages to give you an idea:
In practice, the following approach has proven to be successful for many industries:
- Make sure that your website is convincing in terms of technology, design and content and that it is well suited for use in online marketing.
- Start with a Google Ads campaign - here the costs are manageable and the budget easy to calculate. You will immediately receive more visitors from the desired target group and can observe the results immediately.
- Once you know which keywords work well, start with a search engine optimization to get those terms well found even with the unpaid results.
- Accompany these measures with e-mail marketing to prospects and existing customers - this serves the purpose of being remembered by the customer / prospect or to promote current offers.
- Complement your SEO strategy with content marketing by posting relevant and interesting articles on your blog.
- Make sure that your content (website, blog posts) reaches the desired target group by also promoting it with social media (e.g. Facebook ads in the corresponding target group).
Of course, this is only one possible process - but it is an approach that has already proven itself many times and that also harmonizes well with the growth of the company and thus the possibilities.
In some industries it could be that you also use social media marketing as a second point with e.g. B. Insert Facebook campaigns. Depending on the target group or product, this channel also has its authorization and can be more effective than Google Ads campaigns.
Conclusion: As you can see, with a bit of brainpower, you can and should come up with a relatively clear online marketing strategy. Of course, there are also many pitfalls and hurdles to be overcome in implementation. But when you know where you want to go and why, many things are easier. Likewise, one should not take any actions where one cannot understand with common sense how it can achieve the promised result. I wish you success!
Do you need support with your online marketing? Contact us, we will be pleased to advise you.
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