In the last few years, consumers have changed the way they find what they want, and where they want to get it. Business supplies, concert tickets, and that perfect gift are now on the web, and that’s where many people are going. In the past consumers have responded to direct mail, cold calling, and trade shows in addition to conventional advertising. Those methods are less effective than the internet and also harmful to the environment through toxic ink, paper waste, fuel costs, and other excess energy consumption. With the use of search engines, it is now easy to filter out gimmicks and find what we are looking for directly. The tools are at the tips of our fingers and unlimited. We have access to search engines, social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), and blogs where we can find information as well as reviews on those services or products we are researching. Therefore, marketers must change their tactics to accommodate how the internet is changing business.
Inbound Marketing is now far more effective. The internet and the emergence of sites such as Google, MSN, Yahoo, Digg and other sites, allow consumers to research what they are looking for without involving the companies directly. “The internet has changed the dynamics of the business world, necessitating from ‘old marketing’ techniques to ‘new marketing’ techniques” (hubspot). Business owners now need to ensure that their website is optimized for this. Website content matters, as well as the location of key words or phrases. To optimize a website, key words must be in the page title, headings, URL, and in the page text. Keeping content fresh and updated is another good way to increase search engine rankings, especially when used in conjunction with viral videos, podcasts, and YouTube videos.
By adding simple tools such as a blog, a site owner creates a unique opportunity for search engine optimization (SEO). However, keep in mind that the blog set up with its own webpage for the best results. Websites are also setting up RSS Feeds. This allows consumers to have their favorite websites send them updates, as opposed to going to each website and searching for the information. Most people have very busy lifestyles and don’t have time to waste. By simply adding this feature, websites are ensuring more visits to their site.
Social networking is a huge way to market to consumers, with 34% believing that businesses should be involved with a social network, while 51% believe they should also interact with consumers through a networking site. After a website has established itself and has more visitors, the designers should add an online form for visitors to register for updates, newsletters or give-a-ways. This also generates new leads for the business. Credible inbound links also generate more traffic to your website and rank your site higher on the search engines.
With all of the “new” technology out there, it is far more effective for advertising dollars to utilize the web and market to consumers in the format that is easiest for them. By capitalizing on the efficiency of the web, businesses can track past search results, and optimize their pages for future searchers. Businesses can also measure numbers of web visitors, website conversion rates (Leads / Visitors), lead conversion rates (Sales from Leads / Leads), and costs per lead or per sale. With the abundance of the marketing tools available online, websites create a relationship with future and current visitors in a cost efficient and “green” way.