Lower Investment Costs
Sending letters to prospective clients, never mind paying for national ads, is hugely expensive, at £200 per 1000 viewers. It’s not very cost effective, either – 44% of direct mail is never even opened.
Online searches cost £0.50-£2 per 1000 viewers. Even if your business invests in SEO consultants, experts or services, or otherwise directs revenue towards SEO, the cost to reach 1000 viewers shouldn’t change much, as your website will experience an exponential increase in visitors. As your SEO strategy improves, your costs per 1000 visitors might even decrease!
The great, almost magical thing about the internet is that it doesn’t exist. Physically, anyway. Websites – as long as they are maintained and hosted – will remain on the web indefinitely, unlike printing costly leaflets, magazines and newspapers. Traditional marketing relies on large-cost, regular investments of money to become even comparably successful.
Higher Conversion Rates
Despite the higher costs, traditional marketing strategies are actually less effective. While SEO leads rake in a 14.6% close rate, traditional, outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) sits at a measly 1.7%.
Search engine optimisation works on an ‘inbound marketing’ basis. That is, browsers are actually looking for your business, product or solution to their problem, which is a far more effective, client-oriented approach. Traditional marketing relies on outbound leads, which blindly hope that their target audience will be reading. For the cost, those chances typically aren’t worth it.
Competing is Easier
It’s true, many companies benefit hugely from traditional marketing – namely, TV and film advertisements. 96% of homes in the UK own a television set, and being able to broadcast your product to that number of viewers is invaluable. However, most of us don’t own fast food chains, or household brands, or whatever else is advertised on television these days (I haven’t switched mine on for over a year!). Most businesses are fairly small, still growing, and haven’t got hundreds of thousands in their budget for advertising.
Search engine optimisation and social media strategies are great for this. With a little effort and time, small businesses can compete with much larger companies on search engine rankings and social media presence. For the most part, Google rewards quality, optimised content, and that ‘neutrality’ is one of the most integral elements to the success of online marketing.
Performance is Easily Measured and Optimised
Online marketing is an analysts dream come true. With it, you can measure traffic and perform highly sophisticated tests to optimise content, all in real time. These tests allow the highest performing variable to be identified and chosen. Something as simple as a different colour, words in the headline, or font size can dramatically affect the success of online content. Everything is quantifiable, and these tweaks and changes can be performed immediately, and at little cost.
Finding the same precise information, changing even a small element of the design of a leaflet and printing a new batch is a hugely complex and costly process, involving customer surveys, test prints, and collaboration between multiple company departments that could take weeks, if not months. Not to mention the potential disaster of printing error-ridden content. Making the equivalent change to online content is ridiculously simple.
While traditional marketing often relies on word of mouth, the interconnected platform of the internet thrives on it. With appropriate content and strategies, businesses can even find themselves going viral – being viewed and shared all over the web – at no extra cost.
Content is Relevant and Engaging
Online marketing techniques are inherently more relevant and engaging. Browsers will find content that is relevant to their needs at the time; Google tends to rank websites from a browser’s perspective, and what online content would be most relevant and useful. Social media carries on this personalised approach, with brands being able to directly engage with their customers, cater to their needs, and reinforce brand loyalty.
85% of people fast-forward through commercials. Traditional marketing relies on one-way interruption. The majority of people simply aren’t interested in the adverts that they see. From TV ads on their favourite show to sales leaflets with the mail –traditional marketing usually forms the irritating footnotes to the prospect’s main focus or interest, and the most engagement they’ll likely get will be the salesperson cold-calling them to push their product.
It is evident that a paradigm shift is under way. Consumers are becoming empowered in their experience, choosing their desired brands and product on their own terms. The old ways of outbound, traditional marketing simply can’t keep up with these trends. Not only are the old forms of media – print journalism and TV – becoming redundant, intrusive forms of advertising are simply skipped or ignored. While these mediums still offer some value currently, the situation will likely look drastically different in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time.
For businesses to truly thrive, the internet is inevitable, and an opportunity for growth. This evolution towards an online-focussed marketing strategy must also come with a shift in the perception of what marketing actually does. The ‘old ways’ of pushy, loud advertising won’t survive here – the lack of comparable success of banner/sponsored adverts are testament to this.
Businesses must focus on inbound marketing techniques, where prospects are attracted towards a company’s services or products. This can only come about through the creation of quality, useful and optimised content, along with meaningful engagement with customers. It is only through this quality, customer-first’ strategy that your business will become truly future-proof.