Online and offline marketing and advertising share many characteristics. They both should be part of a business budget, no matter how small or growing that business is. They both are worthy of research and effort, and they both will bring results if done wisely. But there is something about online marketing that has changed the way a business needs to go about connecting with potential customers.
Online, The Customer Finds You
In the old mass marketing days, like the tv show Mad Men, it was all about blanketing the airwaves and landscape with unavoidable messages. Businesses found the customers by invading the culture.
Today, with online marketing, it is pretty difficult to blanket the internet with effective marketing — for instance, that viral dress debate didn’t sell dresses to everyone who got in on the controversy. Most people didn’t know who sold the dress and they didn’t care. But if they thought that dress was something they’d like to wear, they knew how to find it — search online.
This isn’t the same thing as the mass marketing approach of yesteryear, where the business targeted everybody around. This is going the other direction, from the consumer to the business. This is much more focused and it’s a different dynamic.
Online Marketing Is Not Mass Marketing
Whether or not those looking for the dress found the dress depends on how well the people selling the dress optimized their site for search. If the search engines could find it, the searcher could, too. The fact that they knew the dress existed may have been because of a viral controversy, but the fact they found it was the result of online marketing strategy. No search optimization, no way to find it among the gazillions of possible places on line.
Search engine optimization is like using a filter to sift out the people who are not interested in your message and end up with those who will want to come further into the sales funnel. It isn’t like grabbing a passerby and pulling them into your store, it’s putting out a welcome sign and opening the door so they can see what you offer and come in.