Online marketing includes all the measures an enterprise undertakes on the Internet which serve to directly advertise a product, to improve the brand’s or product’s popularity and to make direct sales. In addition to a website that is easy to find and high in performance, measures and promotions are leveraged to use the diverse range of mechanisms and functions of the Internet, particularly search engines but also social media.
Online marketing: opportunities for SMEs
Internet surfers can access all kinds of topics, information and products with a “single click” on search engines. This makes an online presence and its online marketing for small and medium-sized enterprises absolutely essential. Many SMEs cannot afford big-scale poster, trade show or ad campaigns, in newspapers and magazines with a high reach. In contrast, for a presence and targeted promotions on the Internet, a manageable amount of financial means is all that is needed. To increase sales of a product or service, digital marketing can be leveraged in a targeted way, with the use of calculated finances and resulting in measurable results. Online marketing promises an efficient use of the existing advertising budget to gain or boost visibility on the Internet.
Online marketing in B2B: 7 digital tools for SMEs
Online marketing consists of several and complementing measures which should be optimised for mobile Internet access to match user behaviour:
- A basic measure of online marketing is a company website. Alternatively, or as a supplement, the separate pages (landing pages) for individual products or product areas can be included. Here is where interested Internet-goers can find all the relevant information they need. The content should be simple to understand and manageable so that visitors can quickly and intuitively find what they are looking for and do not leave the website. If it is possible to purchase products directly, the website can be complemented by a web shop.
- To strengthen the company’s own website against the competition, search engine optimisation (SEO) can be leveraged. Here, the content is based on the most frequently used keywords. If the keywords are integrated into the content in line with various SEO criteria, Google gives the website a particularly positive ranking. It possibly appears prominently in the search engine’s results list. Most specialised agencies perform keyword analyses which also tell when the search is especially active.
- Keywords play an especially important role in search engine advertising (SEA) – however, in this case, the website operator bids on the keywords. Here, demand determines the price: the more often the desired keyword appears in search results, the more expensive it can be. The SEA results normally appear – labelled as “Advertisement” – above or beneath the organic search results. Both SEO and SEA are categories of search engine marketing (SEM).
- Content marketing also works with an optimal keyword set; however, it focuses more strongly on powerful content in the form of text. This takes place through a digital magazine, which leads to the various products and services of a company that appear on the company’s website.
- The placement of products and services on social media platforms is gaining in importance, as many younger users can be addressed via social media. On Facebook, Instagram and similar, short posts grab the target group’s attention and lead the users to the company website.
- The above-mentioned measures can be supplemented with influencer marketing, whereby a well-known person to a certain target group – trustworthy celebrity or blogger – gives a positive statement about a product or service via social media. Influencer marketing is gaining in importance in the B2B segment as well.
- Email marketing can complement online marketing as a digital version of a postal direct mailing, insofar as the company has built up a databank of email addresses.
Measurability of the measures
The effectiveness of online marketing measures is measurable using special tools. They measure, for instance, how long a visitor remains on the website and the bounce rate, the general number of pages visited as well as the conversions or leads (when a simple visit turns into a request for informative material or a purchase). How deep a visitor has clicked into the offers on the website can also be measured. In turn, information on the attractiveness of an offer or the presentation can be gained.