Businesses have long faced a challenge in direct marketing. Traditional methods including direct mail and telesales can be expensive to implement. These 5 best online marketing tools will help save the day…
Interactive marketing via these online marketing tools changes the dynamic rather significantly allowing a company to communicate a marketing message with nearly infinite potential reach for a controlled cost.
But more important, an effective online marketing strategy leverages these tools to allow for bidirectional communication creating a foundation for a conversation.
And because they are data driven, many can be automated allowing for pre-programmed responses based on specific actions taken by the target recipient.
This ability to speak directly to targeted clients and prospects with communication that addresses their specific needs while allowing for real-time engagement is unique to this kind of marketing.
Local Businesses Leveraging Powerful Digital Marketing Technology
Digital marketing allows a business to interact with potential clients or prospects with the same powerful tools leveraged by “big” corporate entities to help enhance loyalty, the sales process, and customer service experiences.
From dynamic interactive forms that automatically adjust based on the information being entered to live chat capabilities that allow real time conversations with website visitors, interactive marketing is no longer the purview of huge marketing budgets.
Interactive Digital Marketing Tools vs. One-Way Online Marketing
An online marketer who is seeking to engage their clients will jump at the opportunity to enter into a dialog with potential or existing clients because it affords the chance to build a stronger relationship with those individuals. Such conversations can offer valuable insights to help further enhance the marketing efforts and improve overall client satisfaction via appropriately written and targeted communication.
In fact, recipient participation is the primary goal of interactive digital marketing. If a small business is interested in increasing response rates while reducing customer acquisition costs, it will pay close attention to leveraging interactive marketing whenever possible.
A website, by its nature is a one-way form of communication. But a website can be augmented with online marketing tools to create interactive opportunities.
5 Powerful Tools For Online Marketing
There are many tools one can consider when implementing online marketing. And certainly it is tempting to put all of one’s digital marketing effort into “ranking in Google”. Yet there’s more to client engagement than being found in Google and these 5 digital marketing tools each serve a specific function to broaden reach and engagement. Consider these the absolute “core” to all online marketing strategies you pursue. You can augment these with other elements but always strive to actively engage this core in your marketing efforts.
Website Secure Forms
A website that has been designed to be “sticky” will generally have a lower bounce rate and will create more engagement than one developed to simply be an electronic brochure. If a website page is dynamic and brings value to potential clients visiting the page, it will help facilitate conversions.
Secure forms offer more functionality beyond order entry. Surveys and Polls are an excellent extension of this technology and a fantastic way to keep engagement, particularly with mobile visitors. And remember the longer someone remains engaged with your website the better your positioning in Google…
KEY CONSIDERATION: Each page should have a clear call to action and should invite clients into an interaction via easy to understand secure forms, surveys, polls, etc.
A website that is powered with live chat affords another opportunity for the website visitor to engage with real people to help solve problems, answer questions, and build relationships.
Live chat creates the ability for one-on-one communication when connecting via the phone may not be an option. The best Live Chat tools are compatible with mobile devices and allow both visitors and operators the ability to interact via mobile devices.
KEY CONSIDERATION: Consider implementing automatically triggered live chat invitations that can invite a visitor into a conversation after they’ve performed a specific action.
Social media is another channel by which a company can interact with clients and prospects alike. Platforms such as Facebook allow for narrow message targeting while enabling dynamic interaction between the business and individuals interested in its services.
Being actively engaged with Social Media is also important as a part of a broader SEO Optimization strategy. Google and Bing both rely heavily on social signals to help determine a website’s authority on a topic.
If you are still unsure about what Social Media is, check out this great explainer video…
KEY CONSIDERATION: While automation can be leveraged to auto-post content to social media, it is highly recommended that businesses pursue deeper engagement beyond social automation. Be actively engaged with your social channels.
Email by its nature can and should allow for bi-directional communication. While not necessarily considered true interactive marketing in the traditional sense, we include it here for consideration. Messages should be well written with specific calls to action. Message streams can be automated to help with prospect development and post-sale engagement.
KEY CONSIDERATION: Check and re-check any automation rules and be sure they are adjusted to keep pace with any changes within the sales funnel process. Always send E-mail from an E-mail address that allows for human response.
While newsletter marketing may be viewed as a subset of Email marketing since it leverages Email as the method to send the Newsletters, it is in fact powerful enough to stand alone. Newsletter marketing leverages advanced technology to turn the content on your site into regular drip messages designed to help engage readers and bring them back to your website. Because they are sent via Email and invite the reader with a call to action, they become an important part of the online marketing toolset.
KEY CONSIDERATION: Check and re-check the formatting of your messages. Keep the layout of your message simple and clean to maximize impressions on mobile devices.
Overwhelmed by Online Marketing? Welcome to the Party…
The single biggest reason interactive marketing is missing from the vast majority of small business marketing environments is because it is perceived as being complicated and difficult to implement and maintain.
The reality is this an accurate perception.
Most companies barely scratch the surface with traditional forms of marketing and their online marketing efforts are typically limited to having a basic generic website. It takes time to grasp the basic capabilities available in online marketing via interactive marketing tools. And once the concepts are understood, implementing interactive marketing processes can be quite involved as such processes typically require taking the time to understand how the small business functions. For example, it is a common experience to begin documenting a sales process to automate Email communication only to realize there may be fundamental flaws in the sales process that need to be addressed first before automating the process.
Going it alone when implementing online marketing and interactive marketing in particular requires a breadth and depth of experience that most lack. It is for this reason working with an experienced online marketing partner becomes so important.
Key points to come to grips with online marketing tools:
- Digital marketing is here to stay. Interactive marketing will be leveraged by smart companies seeking to do “whatever it takes” to monopolize their market.
- Online marketing tools have added SEO benefits. They signal to Google and Bing that you are serious about your business and about engaging your clients.
- The world has moved online. Mobile use is exploding, as is social media. Having an online presence means being ready to engage with prospects and clients however they wish to engage with the business.
- Interactive online marketing tools offer a gateway to understand, meet, and exceed client desires in a way that is efficient, distributed, and incredibly cost effective.
- Online marketing and interactive marketing in particular will likely have an impact on the business and how it operates. Assuming the business is working with a partner like Greendays Group, staff will still need to be dedicated to perform certain tasks and increase their knowledge and understanding of the tools and how to get the most out of them.
- Interactive digital marketing tools (and online marketing in general) require experimentation. Reviewing results and making corrections in process and approach is to be expected as a part of any digital marketing effort. Success is great but some campaigns are more successful than others. As such, engaging in online and interactive marketing requires commitment beyond one or two experiments.
- Accept the fact that online marketing is a “must have” aspect of running a business in the post-search engine world. All businesses seeking to monopolize their markets must necessarily invest in such efforts. When was the last time a business ran an ROI analysis on their business cards or phone numbers? ROI analysis becomes a secondary consideration for “must have” business marketing and sales tools. Instead the effort becomes concentrated on getting the most out of those tools.
- Be prepared to invest time in measuring results. While specific ROI analysis of things like Email marketing and websites in general may be outdated, one must still measure the results of any effort so those efforts can be fine-tuned.
- Watch out for vendors that “guarantee” specific results. With digital marketing and interactive marketing in particular, “mileage may vary” depending on a number of factors. Set realist targets. Measure results. Adjust the effort accordingly. Rather than seeking perfection, look for a continuous process of improvement.
- Old lessons still have value. When first engaging with interactive marketing it is easy to lose site of the importance of understanding the client, efficiently segmenting and targeting messages a given client, and making certain that all communication offer some sort of value proposition to the client. While technology has forever altered the marketing landscape, the fundamentals still count.
- Remember that interactive marketing is about building relationships. Warm, friendly, value-laden communication will always win the day with clients.
- Technology is changing (advent of social media and mobile for example) but other methods such as Email marketing and websites are still more effective. In other words, be open to the ever-changing capabilities of interactive marketing but consistently leverage the tools that offer the greatest potential impact while experimenting with tools that offer future potential.
- Keep an open mind. Be willing to experiment. Be willing to learn. If an idea strikes, discuss it with an online marketing professional and see how it can be tested and potentially integrated into the overall interactive digital marketing process. As William Gibson (an early internet visionary) wrote in the NY Times Magazine back on July 14, 1996, “Our response to (the web) has not yet hardened. That is a large part of its appeal. It is something half-formed, growing. Larval. It is not what it was six months ago; in another six months, it will be something else again. It was not planned; it simply happened, is happening. It is happening the way cities happened. It is a city.”
Enormous Potential With Online Marketing Tools
What’s amazing is that online interactive marketing is still in its infancy. Local brands belonging to small businesses simply haven’t yet tapped into the potential of what interactive online marketing has to offer. As such, there is an excellent opportunity for local businesses to begin to outpace their competitors by aggressively diving into what interactive marketing has to offer and squeezing out all of the value available via these dynamic marketing channels.
Online marketing tools can range in cost depending on the vendor and the subscription.
- For “virtually unlimited” access to secure form hosting, you’ll spend close to $1,200 per year with Form Site.
- For live chat you’ll spend $1,440 a year for up to 10 users. (Bold Chat, an alternative, is more expensive still.)
- To help manage social media you’ll spend at least $120 per year on Hoot Suite.
- Constant Contact charges $660 a year for Email marketing to a moderately sized Email list.
- As for Newsletters, each industry is different. Pre-written targeted newsletters can cost in excess of $1,200 per year for each subject title.
All told you could easily spend $4,620 per year in online marketing tools plus setup costs! The good news is that we integrate these same tools as a core part of our Full Service online marketing plans which also include website and Email hosting. Our plans are more affordable and our pricing scales depending on the size of your company.
At Greendays Group we’ve invested substantially in building out best-of-breed solutions and creating an integrated system that is foundational to digital marketing success. Because we manage these solutions directly we’re able to offer greater value.
- Our solutions are definitely a “best value” winner when compared apples to apples.
- All of our online marketing tools are DIY (Do it yourself) friendly.
- Our complete digital marketing tool chest is backed by “helping hands” ready to complete the work for you!
Have fun with online marketing, seek to absorb clients within the interaction, create the potential for all parties to enjoy the experience and invite future interactions.
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