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Whilst our client base generally covers the UK, we love to work with local businesses. It is a great feeling to help a local business increase their visibility online and profit as a result of it; it’s a truly satisfying accomplishment. Conversely it’s saddening when we hear of local firms that have succumbed to difficult economic circumstances.

To survive in these times, firms have to be more open to varying ways to market themselves and reach the maximum number of potential clients through a mixture of mediums such as direct marketing, radio, newspaper and online marketing.

For example: Whilst many people will wait every week for the local paper to read about local news or switch on the radio, many more turn to the Internet; Facebook, Google or Twitter for example.

So why is it small, local businesses are so averse to Online Marketing? After flicking through a range of our local newspapers and listening to local business advertisements on the local radio, we found that very few had an obvious Online Marketing campaign. By Online Marketing campaign, I don’t simply mean having a website, that’s not necessarily outward promotion, I mean a structured campaign consisting of online advertising and social networking with a clear strategy designed to send traffic to their website.

I’m not for one minute suggesting businesses stop advertising in local papers and on the radio (As you’ll read later, even Google advertises in traditional media) but I am suggesting businesses should consider Online Marketing alongside traditional media at the very least because ignoring it, could be at your peril.
Before we get into the reasons, lets look at some statistics:

 

  • Small businesses that use Internet Marketing grow 4-7 times faster.
  • The UK is Number 1 for E-Commerce worldwide
  • Online ad-spend grew 14.4% last year – faster than any other medium
  • As the below chart explains, Online Marketing it the fastest growing medium compared to traditional marketing.
  • Online Marketing Vs Traditional marketing

So with this in mind why do an estimated 46% of business not have a website? (let alone any Online Marketing campaign)

I spend a lot of time talking to businesses in my day job, whether they are sat in our office or I’m giving a talk and from those that are hesitant about Online Marketing when I ask why, usually give one of the following 3 answers:

 

  • No time / Don’t understand it
  • Too Expensive
  • Customer base don’t use the Internet
  • Lets look at these answers in more detail.
  • But first, have a quick watch of this video:
  • Customer base doesn’t use the Internet

This is incredibly unlikely. I recently had a potential client who’s target market was retirees and were decided that Online Marketing had little to no value. Imagine their surprise when I made them aware the over 50’s were the biggest new users to the Internet! (See above video)

Of course, there are people that don’t use the Internet, and that’s why it’s important to vary your marketing and use both offline media and online media. But i’d bet my Google mug that I can demonstrate more of your potential clients use the Internet than those that don’t.

 

No time and lack of understanding of Online Marketing.

There is a wealth of information about Online Marketing online. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad information online too making it incredibly difficult to find good quality and reliable information. This is why its important that businesses employ an Online Marketing Agency. A good agency will be able to deliver a successful campaign that more than covers their fee.

Businesses should be cautious and should be diligent when selecting an Online Marketing Company. Research the company and ask questions but above all make sure they have a thorough understanding of Internet Marketing and can demonstrate this.

 

Online Marketing Costs

Lets look at a cost comparison:

Online Marketing Campaign consisting of search engine optimisation and a Pay Per Click Advertising Campaign focusing on Lincolnshire (£500 PPC spend and £1000 SEO Spend): £1500 Per Month

Newspaper Advertising (1/4 Page) across a group of local newspapers spanning the county: £2400 Per Month

Radio Advertising consisting of 30 10 second ads spread evenly through the month: £2400 Per Month

*Costs displayed are fees for a marketing campaign targeting roughly the same approximate geographic area having a similar reach. You could pay less or more than the above figures but these are typical prices based on the above criteria.
Costs are not the only factor to consider, Return on Investment (ROI) is crucial.

 

There are no accurate ways to measure ROI for newspaper ads or radio ads (or most other traditional media). You can understand the reach (number of listeners or readers) but these are not just your target market – how can you possibly accurately target your potential buyers?

Well you can’t! Reach is the only metric available to you and you can only work on the logic “out of xxx,xxx number of people, someone that sees my advert is bound to call”.

 

As John Wannamaker said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half. ”

 

John Wannamaker didn’t have the Internet available to him.

Online marketing on the other hand allows you to accurately measure the number of people looking for your services, you can even see how many people viewed your ad and how many people clicked your ad. You can laser target your customers and accurately track how those that saw you’re adverts, navigated your website and if they submitted an enquiry or made a purchase. You can even show ads to them on other websites if they leave you site without converting!

For a bit of fun, we recently used a Facebook ad to try and target an individual and because we has so much data available to us, it worked a treat.

 

 

So, lets summarise this:

 

 

Traditional Marketing – No accurate way to measure return. No accurate way to target potential customers.

Online Marketing – Highly accurate data, Returns can be measured. Ads can be targeted to geographic areas and even metrics such as; Male / Female, Age Range, Income, Occupation, interests and search intent. Costs can be tightly controlled and in the case of Pay Per Click Advertising, you can “pay as you go” and pause your campaign whenever you want to.

Sure you could spend double, triple or even quadruple on Online Marketing than the examples above, but if you can boil your spend down to a ROI figure (such as £1 Ad Spend = £6 Profit) then of course, you’d spend as much as you possibly could if the returns stayed in line. Its this logic which is largely behind the rapid growth of Online Marketing and the decline of traditional marketing, its the most accountable medium ever and the most successful businesses have identified it as an invaluable marketing medium.

It’s understandable that traditional businesses may be hesitant to engage in a medium they know very little about but the facts can simply not be ignored.

At the time of writing, Johnston Press PLC (a company that owns many local newspapers, including our local paper the Skegness Standard) released their interim report today again showing a decline in sales and revenue from their newspaper advertising business.

Although online audience was up by 25%

Johnston Press is now increasingly adopting a ‘digital first’ approach and this says everything you need to know about where it believes future revenue growth lies. If a decades old traditional media organisation is sifting focus to Online, shouldn’t you be?

I’ll finish with a recent newspaper advertisement by Google, you can replace the word “hairdresser” with any product or service you like:

 

You know who needs a Hairdresser?

People searching online for a Hairdresser.

 

(Of which there are 1.2 million searches every month across the UK.)

 

 

 

 

Brett Dixon
Brett Dixon
Brett is a Director and Co-Founder of DP Online Marketing and is Google Qualified in Search, Display, Mobile, Shopping, Video and Analytics. Brett regularly writes for industry magazines and also a guest lecturer at Lincoln University. He is also a member of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM.)
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