Online marketing is growing in popularity – and importance, changes in the demographics of the professional services marketplace are leading to the adoption of new strategies for building reputations, networking, and generating leads.
Online marketing is the use of a diverse and evolving set of Internet based digital techniques to reach targeted audiences.
These techniques include (but are not limited to) content marketing, social media, websites, search engine optimization, online video, email marketing, paid search, and more.
What are some of the most important advantages of online marketing:
Online marketing gives you many ways to demonstrate and build expertise.
For professional services buyers, the single most important factor in selecting a provider is expertise. Often, the challenge lies not in acquiring the requisite talent, but projecting that expertise to the marketplace.
The web is such a powerful platform because it allows you to use content to get your message across and demonstrate expertise in topics relevant to your target audience. You can accomplish this offline as well, but online tools make it much easier to reach a wide and relevant audience. Blogging, social media, and webinars all allow you to educate your audience on topics that matter to them, illustrating your expertise in the process.
You can use online marketing to establish and build relationships more effectively.
Email marketing, keyword phrase targeting, and other strategies can help you target a tailored message with laser precision to, say, the CEO's of the hundred largest businesses in your industry. Online tools allow you to both meet new clients, colleagues, and influences and strengthen relationships with those you already know.
You can target specific verticals or niches using online marketing.
Just as you can build relationships in a targeted way, online marketing empowers you to target a highly specific vertical or niche, delivering your message to a wide audience that needs your services. You can do this relatively inexpensively by targeting keywords in educational blog posts or participating in groups or industry hashtags on social media. Online marketing allows you to zero in on a niche easily and efficiently.
Online marketing isn’t tied to geography or time zone.
Online marketing techniques can be used in an asynchronous way, meaning your audience doesn’t have to be constrained by geography. To meet a potential client or contact in person, you must be able to travel and synchronize your schedules, with all the expenses that this can entail.
Speaking at industry events, for example, can be a powerful way to build your reputation, and is often worthwhile – but it’s also a major effort that can significantly disrupt an entire day (or multiple days). Giving a webinar to a similar or larger crowd, however, may take no more than an hour out of your day at the office.
Another advantage of this synchronicity is that it empowers your audience to engage with your message on their own terms. They can learn about your expertise at their own pace through your blog or social media presence, and when they’re ready to explore your services, they know where to find you.
Online marketing is less expensive to use.
With online marketing, there are no travel costs, and you don’t have to pay for printing to distribute materials. Server costs, by contrast, are relatively low. Some of your advertising costs can be replaced by online marketing tools, as well – and these online tools usually “pull more weight” by integrating with the rest of your online marketing program. Guest posts on industry blogs or publications, for example, can drive traffic to your site, build your reputation, and fuel conversation on social media.
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