For Internet marketing, when you sell stuff online you are helping to solve someone’s problem….If what you offer meets the needs of your web site visitor do they really care about a “brand” you may have? Probably not.
I think we as Internet Marketers must clarify that generally there are three ways to get business online:
- Direct (online) Advertising (purchase a banner, text ad, etc.)
- Offline Advertising (generate offline marketing campaigns, flyer’s, advertisements, etc. that link to your online store or website)
- Online Networking
Branding is less important only in regards to one method of client acquisition, the first item on the list above, direct (online) advertising. You might be asking yourself what is direct (online) advertising? Here’s an example:
Steve Notepadiano (guess what I was just looking at), an Estate Planner who just started his own private legal practice is searching online for information on promoting his new law firm. Mr. Notepadiano does a search on Google and finds your ad, clicks through, finds your landing page and content relevant and contacts you for more information.
He does not know you, is not (generally) familiar with your brand. Your ad and landing page were relevant to what Steve was looking for at that moment, so he reacted and contacted you.
But, there may be a better way to market your company online. And it runs in direct opposition to Mr. Jones’ assertion.
Online Networking and Branding Offers EXPONENTIAL Opportunity
—and it’s free
pay per click marketing is not always the best way to acquire clients online
As a huge proponent of pay per click advertising I may be kicking myself in the teeth by saying… pay per click marketing is not always the best way to acquire clients online. In fact, most times it is much more economical, especially initially, to develop an image and brand online and acquire relevant customers through those kinds of acquisition channels as compared to purchasing ads on AdWords or a similar ad network.
I have seen the wonderful results of online branding and online networking many times. Our clients, colleagues, even Unique ID, has seen the effects of personal or company web branding. By creating an online presence, through a blog and an enewsletter (tools that you can setup quickly and inexpensively) and then participating in online communities related to the industry you are in, communities that are connected to the clients you are looking for, great things are bound to happen. Contacts will begin to pour into your inbox from every direction. Your blog post and articles will get syndicated on sites you didn’t even know existed. And, for the most part… its all free.
But… there is a catch.
It takes a lot of time and effort on your part as business owner. There are ways to get around this, hire someone to ghost write for you and make sure they are knowledgeable about the industry and the posts you will be writing about. But, typically this increases costs and many times the ghost writer has a hard time effectively emulating your voice. And what happens if someone recognizes you in real life (IRL) and asks about your post? It can sometimes get awkward. And, as I stated in a previous post, it only gets worse. The more your online image grows, the more you have to supply for your audience. The web community is fickle, they don’t stick around for long, you need to make sure you are consistently supplying good information and posts.
To conclude, if you are a new or upstart business who is willing to commit some time to developing a presence in your industry, but don’t have the capital a PPC campaign can take to run and manage, I would highly suggest installing or setting up a blog, getting an enewsletter and developing your own guru status online… start building your content immediately.