There is no doubt that many manufacturers in most industries have experienced tough times over the last couple of years. Initially by a shift in consumer buying patterns and rising commodity prices, then by the global economic crash. These circumstances have scared those businesses still in operation, resulting in them focusing heavily on their bottom line.
So how does one continue to advertise their business during these difficult times with a tight marketing budget? Well by taking advantage of search engine marketing (SEM), this goal can be achieved. By including online advertising in your marketing strategy you will be able to:
o Increase your customer base
o Measure your advertising effectiveness
While traditional advertising is money intensive, challenging to assess in terms of return on investment and requires a substantial lead time; search engine marketing can be relatively affordable and can be measured and modified for effectiveness. Once you’ve learned the principles, online marketing is basic enough to be managed yourself or it can be outsourced to agencies or experts.
There are a couple of areas of online advertising that you can add to your marketing plan:
* Paid search text ads, also known as pay per click (PPC) or AdWords
* Paid display adverts where you pay per click. Sometimes known as image ads or banners
* Social Media
* Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), involves attracting web traffic from the generic search results on Google and other search engines
1. Paid Search
Paid search ads are incredibly powerful in that they put your advert in front of your viewers when they are looking to purchase. The greatest part is this. Each time your ad is viewed you boost your mind share with that person and you only pay for your ad if it is clicked on. Paid search adverts are highly targeted and are particularly optimize-able to meet your business goals.
2. Online Display Ads
Also a form of Paid Search online advertising, banner ads can be as inexpensive or expensive as your resources allows. As an example, Google allows you to upload some of your existing creative media and spreads your image ads across their network. You can target your ads geographically and to publishers that are applicable to your target market or audience. Google AdWords implements an auction based payment scheme and also offers affordable CPM’s (cost per 1000 impressions).
3. Social Media Marketing
One of the newcomers to the online marketing world is Social Media advertising. Social Media advertising leverages the building of relationships with like-minded people on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogs and other online communities to develop your brand and communicate your offerings. It’s most likely that your potential customers are already using Social Media to share with each other their point of view around your service, your business and your competitors. By using Social Media marketing you are able to take advantage of these conversations and build a feedback loop with your customers. The search engines are beginning to give a lot more interest to the Social Media space. In the near future if not already, the content and context of social media traffic will influence Google and other search engines in determining relevancy and in turn their search results. This will amplify as social media continues to take off.
4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Absolutely, including online advertising to your marketing plan has very low barriers to entry, will allow you to get the most bang for your ad dollars, while monitoring and growing your brand recognition within your potential customers. Now ponder Search Engine Optimisation as a approach. As a business you can easily obtain and build SEO skills through readily available resources. You may be able to recognize a particular staff member who could be up skilled to take on this responsibility, you could contract in some or all of the skills, or you could start to learn yourself.
Consider this SEO reality:
* SEO (if done correctly) can generate more or less 4 times the amount of traffic than paid search advertising!
* Once in place SEO requires far less money to continue the results than paid advertising does.
* Traffic as a result of SEO is far more targeted and likely to become a customer.
Search engine marketing (SEM) or online advertising is an influential and satisfying medium. As the search engines and social networks continue to grow into even more critical parts of the whole internet, online marketing will become more crucial, and if you can master it, specifically with techniques such as SEO you will be well positioned to garner the rewards.