The way companies communicate, gather information, and interact with customers has changed; to communicate effectively, a new way of engaging with your target audience is necessary. Today, online marketing (e-marketing, web marketing, or internet marketing) has rapidly replaced traditional marketing almost entirely.
But what is online marketing? What are the differences between online marketing vs offline marketing? What are the common tools and strategies, and what can they offer to individuals and businesses? How can you make the most of this medium? Let’s discover it together, but first, take a look to the Online Marketing Course by Digital Coach.
Internet marketing: what it is and what it is for
The term Internet marketing or online marketing refers to any form of marketing or advertising on the web, which includes unconventional marketing tools and techniques used to promote a brand or products and/or services over the Internet.
Therefore, it encompasses email promotions, advertising on social networks, and posts on social media.
Online marketing vs offline marketing: differences
Online marketing differs from offline marketing in terms of the channels it operates on. Online marketing utilizes the potential of the internet, while traditional marketing takes place in what we can call the physical world.
However, some small differences must be considered when transitioning between online marketing and offline marketing.
Offline marketing occurs outside of the web and makes use of all the tools that can catch anyone’s attention during their daily life:
- billboards (placed inside stadiums, and shopping malls)
Online marketing, on the other hand, operates on the internet, using social profiles, a website, and mailing lists. At first glance, e-marketing may seem less customizable.
Furthermore, it compensates for the lack of human contact in offline marketing by finding other ways to make the customer feel close to the product and involved with the producer. To achieve this goal, online marketing focuses on a specific niche. However, while being present on the “web,” it surpasses the same concept by reaching different demographic groups.
Speaking of personalization and contact, online marketing can use all possible internet tools to engage its potential niche. Effective online marketing includes not only SEO text but also videos, images, and interactive elements that keep the potential customer on the website and build trust.
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Other significant differences between online marketing vs offline marketing include:
Companies invest heavily in promoting their brand and increasing sales or services. When it comes to expenses, online marketing is cost-effective compared to offline marketing. In offline mode, a lot would be spent on maintaining stocks, paying salaries to many employees, paying rent, and other bills. Online, the main expenses are setting up an optimized website (a website with SEO), and creating ads on social media and search engines, which are comparatively much less expensive than offline promotions like TV, radio, or newspapers.
Online marketing, unlike its offline counterpart, can overcome geographical barriers. Exposure can be global without the need for local stores. Moreover, there is no need for large stocks or storage to keep raw materials.
There are no time barriers in Internet marketing. Customers visiting a website can at any moment buy products or services. In offline marketing, waiting for the store to open is necessary.
Web traffic and customer purchase histories are tracked, thus it’s easy to provide a specific offer to a specific category of customers. Additionally, you can choose to target a category of people for specific promotions. These types of methods are difficult to apply in offline retail stores. Only small shops can use these methods to retain their customers.
Social media influencer
Online stores can be promoted through social media. In online marketing, the equivalent of a print ad can be a banner on another website, while in offline marketing, it can be rented allowing the ad to circulate for a limited period and be seen only by those who buy the magazine. Even though it may seem very similar, the difference lies in how quickly a potential customer could copy the links and share them on their profile. The link to the website or online store will be accessible to anyone, increasing both traffic to the site and sales.
Effective tools and methods used in web marketing
To implement web strategies, many web marketing methods and tools are required to build both brand awareness and attract target customers. The main methods of web marketing and tools used to achieve set goals are:
- search engine optimization (SEO): encompasses all activities
- website optimization: involves improving a website’s structure to enhance its ranking in organic search engine results.
- social media marketing (SMM): focuses on generating visibility on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: You can reach your target audience through paid advertisements or organic posts.
- email marketing: a direct business promotion aimed at increasing brand awareness by promoting goods or services.
- search engine marketing (SEM): encompasses all activities aimed at generating qualified traffic to a specific website. The goal is to bring the maximum number of genuinely interested visitors to the site through paid advertising on platforms like Google Ads.
- affiliate marketing: a business agreement between an advertiser and an affiliate who provides their own web space to host content.
- influencer marketing: a form of marketing based on individuals who influence potential customers to promote products or services. Word of mouth is highly effective, as people tend to trust recommendations more than self-promotion.
- content marketing: creating content (articles) about products or services and promoting them to reach potential users. The goal is to engage customers and encourage them to interact with the brand. Such content can include videos, blog posts, or infographics.
- lead generation: a marketing action that allows you to generate a list of potential customers interested in a company’s products or services.
- display advertising: online display advertising utilizes ad spaces provided by website publishers and owners. It involves the use of banners, pop-ups, or rich media to promote a product or service within a web page to capture the attention of visitors and drive interaction with the ad.
- inbound marketing: unlike the typical outbound marketing of offline marketing, inbound marketing consists of web strategies focused on being found, generating interest, and engagement with your company through content creation that delivers value.
- web analytics: a system that allows you to monitor what happens on your website. It provides insights into where users come from, their interactions on social networks where a company is present, how long they stay on the site, and many other aspects.
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- social network: social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that allow users to share not only textual content but also images and videos, and provide businesses with the opportunity to connect with customers.
- facebook ad campaigns: the ability to create targeted advertising campaigns on Facebook aimed at a specific audience. These are campaigns that are paid for only when a user clicks on the advertisement.
- website or internet site: a collection of related web pages with a hypertext structure of documents that resides on a web server through hosting.
- newsletter: informative content that companies send to their target audience to inform them about their activities.
The advantages of e-marketing
As explained earlier, “online marketing” encompasses all the techniques to promote products and services online through the Internet and social media.
Today, it is used by both small businesses targeting end consumers and larger companies that offer their products to other businesses (B2B).
But what are the advantages that the web can offer to those who choose to open a website?
If you consider that there are over 4 billion internet users worldwide, with more than 43 million in our country, those who choose to use the internet and create a website while connecting it to social channels can achieve 360-degree visibility.
Interaction between consumer and provider
Online marketing not only provides visibility but also offers the opportunity for greater interaction between the consumer and the provider, especially through social networks. By capturing the potential customer’s attention and increasing sales, it allows for a better understanding of habits, interests, opinions, and needs. Furthermore, by obtaining customer feedback, one can also enhance their reputation and consumer trust in the brand. The consumer becomes a protagonist, deciding what to follow based on their interests, making advertising less invasive and more personalized.
Measuring the performance of advertising campaigns
Previously, it was not possible to understand the success of an activity, or a campaign, or identify the strengths and weaknesses of an advertising action. Today, thanks to new technologies, it is possible to access geographical and social information about consumers, as well as data such as the number of clicks received, sales, and ROI (Return on Investment). The web provides tools to monitor a campaign, allowing not only the development of action plans to optimize it but also strategies aimed at retaining acquired customers and capturing new market segments.
A significant advantage of web marketing is cost-effectiveness. Online marketing allows for promotion and advertising without excessive expenses, often referred to as “cost-per-pay” (CPP), sometimes known as “pay-per-click” (PPC). This system enables companies to pay only when a customer enters the page.
Another important aspect is the viral effect. The internet, with its reach and the ability to spread messages, has led to what is called viral marketing. This involves videos, photos, or phrases that spread like a virus through user sharing and word of mouth.
Finally, but no less important, we have the “Long Tail,” which describes the internet’s capacity to promote a multitude of products to a larger number of potential customers compared to offline networks.
Professional roles in the world of online marketing
At this point, we can ask ourselves: what are the job roles that have emerged with the rise of online marketing?
If traditional marketing has roles and functions related to brand management, product or service, and distribution channels, in the field of web marketing, we can identify specific roles and responsibilities. Here are some of them:
- web marketing manager: this role is responsible for all strategic and operational web marketing activities within a company.
- social media manager: responsible for all activities carried out on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to develop brand reputation, awareness, and social campaigns.
- content manager: manages the creation of content based on predefined goals and works in a team.
Case study: British Airways
British Airways (BA) airline is known for its presence of horizontally reclining seats in some business class flights, allowing travellers to sleep more comfortably.
In 2003, a marketing campaign was created targeting frequent international business travellers to increase brand value and awareness of the service provided to travellers.
The BA marketing team decided to complement traditional advertising, limited by space and time, with an online branding campaign, providing access to an unlimited amount of information and reaching as many customers as possible. Therefore, the goal was to create something more than just reusing offline creativity for banners.
Three different advertising agencies were involved in the project: M&C Saatchi, Optimedia, and iTraffi. The latter worked closely with BA to also determine the return on investment by measuring key brand traffic parameters.
Extending offline ads, business and financial news site visitors were allowed to interact with a 3D animated demonstration of how the Club World Flat bed reclines fully to 180 degrees for adequate sleep.
“The flat bed in business class is an extremely powerful product for the business traveller, and we were looking for an interactive campaign that was equally powerful in raising awareness of this product with our customers.”
-Amy O’Kane – Marketing Service Manager for British Airways
After integrating offline advertising with online advertising, during the campaign from January to March 2003, awareness of reclining seats increased by 242% in total compared to the online demographic target.
Consumers have transformed into web explorers. Through Google or Facebook, they can find what they need by typing keywords, reading reviews, and seeking advice through social channels. Everything we’ve discussed in this article leads us to one conclusion: online marketing is the optimal solution for advertising that generates not only new sources of profit, satisfied users, and loyal customers, but also allows us to control and guide the evolution and results of a campaign conveniently and economically.
Interested in pursuing a career in the digital world? Reach out to a specialist to get assistance in identifying a role that aligns with your abilities
Specializing in Search Engine Optimization and currently interning at Digital Coach, where my role involves leveraging advanced SEO strategies to optimize online content and enhance the visibility of the website on search engines.