We all know, as business owners, that we have to have a web presence. As much as we would like to fight it, we see our competitors taking advantage of the internet while those of us that are resistant lose out.

Remember the phone book? When was the last time you picked one up to search for a local business? You most likely pulled out your smart phone, iPad, or laptop and ran a Google search for that business. Chances are, you found exactly what you were looking for and then some. With everyone from mom and pops to major corporations optimizing and advertising their businesses on the internet, it has made the internet a very competitive place.

How do you compare traditional marketing to internet marketing?

Where are you spending your marketing dollars now; Phone book? Radio? TV? Postcard marketing? Billboard ads? Trade shows? Understand that these are all forms of traditional marketing, also referred to as outbound marketing. The term outbound marketing simply describes the act of throwing your message out and hoping it sticks to a few. But are these forms of marketing effective? Is anyone using the phone book anymore? Is anyone NOT fast forwarding through commercials anymore? Are they listening to their iPods or Pandora radio? Have they learned to tune out the billboards they pass by on a daily basis? How can these forms of marketing still be effective?

The high cost of internet marketing, or is it?

With the tools that are available to us, we can pinpoint very accurately what it would cost an advertiser to market their business on the internet. Our proposed budgets usually span from having a modest web presence to an aggressive prominent presence on the web. Unfortunately, in nearly any industry these numbers typically make the advertiser jump out of their chair. “How much is it going to cost me to advertise on the internet?!?!?!”. Once they’ve sat back down, I try to give them some perspective as to why they might see the cost as “so high”.

Putting it in perspective

When the internet was in it’s infant stage, it was fairly simple to put up a website, throw some keywords in it and the traffic would come. We didn’t really need to spend a whole lot on marketing because people weren’t really searching the internet and keywords were doing the trick. At the same time we were relying on keywords to bring us traffic, we were paying anywhere from $200 to $1,500 to be listed in the phone book and every now and then, we would throw a few thousand at radio and TV. We hated it, but we accepted it because it’s all we knew. So the idea of putting money into marketing on the internet when it used to be free is a bit more difficult to swallow.

Let’s talk about Inbound Marketing

As I explained above, outbound marketing is the method of throwing your message out and seeing what sticks. Inbound marketing would be the method of having a web presence where consumers searching for your product or service can find you. You no longer need to find them, you just need to be there when they are searching for you. If you were to send out 1000 postcards advertising a new item, less than 2% of people that receive that postcard would it be relevant to. If you spend a few dollars on an internet ad, your ad will be relevant to nearly 100% of people that click that ad. After all, they went in search of that “new item” right?

This is very important to understand, inbound marketing brings the customers to you. The cost to gain these customers can be significantly lower than the costs of traditional advertising, if done the right way. Here’s one more contrasting difference between the two forms of marketing; How do you measure your ROI (return on investment) from a road sign, or TV ad? You really can’t, it can be very difficult. But with internet marketing, you have a reporting panel available to you 24/7 that tells you exactly how many people are responding to your ad. You can accurately measure your ROI like never before. And, you can make adjustments with a few clicks of the mouse. Try doing that with a TV commercial or phone book ad.

Don’t Play Catch Up!

Many businesses can do well simply with referrals and walk-in traffic, but remember, your competitor is marketing on the internet. They have created an additional way for people to find them. Little by little, they will gain the customers that could have been yours and over time, you will begin to feel the pinch. Unfortunately, by that time your competitor will have significantly cemented his (or her) presence online. How much will it cost you to catch up?

With nearly any industry, we could create an effective monthly optimizing and marketing campaign for about $350. This would be a modest budget for any business, but it begins to build on your internet strength and domain authority. Start investing now, don’t let your competition get too far ahead of you.

We’d love to answer any questions you might have regarding optimizing, marketing or branding your company online. Please feel free to call, stop by our fill out our contact form. Thanks for reading!

Phil Fisk
Coastline Marketing Group
426 Salinas St. Oldtown Salinas
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