Free online marketing tools such as blogs, PPC (pay-per-click), monthly e-mails and social networking are now in widespread use by businesses. They all help you promote a brand and products as part of a marketing innovation strategy.
However, many firms are still looking for what new trends are, what small scale business ideas & opportunities are starting to appear on the web and how they can be exploited.
This article takes a look at the new wave in online marketing tool choices open to you. While I focus on small business Internet marketing tools, you should realize that these utilities can scale up for use in large marketing campaigns for bigger enterprises too.
Online marketing tools for social media
Social media applications such as Twitter and Facebook have made it very easy to connect with a large number of supposedly friends. Many a small business strategy in Silicon Valley incorporates these technologies as key tools. However, for businesses the major issue is how you can attract the attention of customers and have them click through to purchasing your product.
The major innovation strategy in web marketing tools is focusing on how to get product features and brands into the consciousness of customers. The primary area where this is being done is in the field of online applications, games and quizzes which contain details and product information embedded within games.
The hope is that the game will go viral and reach a widespread customer base.
The other area of major improvement is in the back-end administration of these social media channels. Companies like Fan Appz provide a subscription-based integrated suite of social media applications to consolidate all these different marketing channels into one application (in an effort to reduce the workload required to be constantly updating social media).
Online marketing tool trends for mobile devices
Mobile devices are rapidly becoming the new gold rush for market opportunities. The use of smart phones provides a great opportunity to provide more feature-rich content and advertisements as part of a marketing campaign for mobile and on-line business opportunities. The traditional online marketing tools used for Web devices has principally involved SMS messaging, MMS, e-mail integration and mobile only websites.
The major trends in this space is occurring at the back-end however where companies like 2ergo are producing suites of online marketing tools that can handle all the different communication/marketing channels (SMS/MMS/e-mail/etc.). The real benefit is to the advertisers in reducing the overhead of actually populating and using the various mobile technologies.
For the time being, many firms are holding out on including mobile channels as part of their communications strategy on any large-scale. Though this will probably change over the coming years as the use of smart phones increases the viability of this technology
Only include targeting mobile devices if it is an integral part of your internet marketing planning. Otherwise stick to traditional and online solutions.
New developments in display advertisements
One online marketing tool which Google have championed to great extent is the increase of personalization and localization of information. Googles marketing strategy originally started out as personalized Web results looked quickly adapted into customized/locally targeted at results. The odd thing is that third-party online display advertisers have been slow to take on board these technical opportunities.
However, there is a growing trend for display ads as third-party advertisement producers come to terms with the back-end coding required to actually target customers based on their city/country.
The other major trend is in the nature of advertisement charging. The use of cost per action logic focuses on charging advertisers based on what action a customer performed (e.g. clicking on a buy now button) the simplified CPC advertisement model. This online digital marketing strategy will probably become more widespread in the affiliate marketing space.
Web marketing tools that aid localization and small retailers
Finally, staying with the theme of localization, there is a growing trend on the web for providing online services and 0nline marketing tools which facilitate the smaller local retailer/supplier. For many years now, the major retailers have started to monopolize online sales to a great extent (through the use of retail business intelligence software).
One innovative online marketing tool worth mentioning is Milo.com which provides a centralized location for small retailers to display the real-time availability of products they can supply. Customers can even target local retailers in an effort to reduce postal costs.
The goal is ultimately sales lead generation of new potential prospects and to retrieve some of the market share for the smaller retailers .
Other online marketing tools you should continue to use:
- Online Networking – Using LinkedIn, etc.
- Monthly Email Marketing – Focus on case studies and real-life examples to provide real value.
- Web Sites and Digital Portfolio Options
- Blogs & viral marketing ideas (e.g. viral videos)
- Paid Search (or Pay Per Click)