A number of recent studies show that online marketing is well worth the investment, since consumers are increasingly making more of their purchases online. For instance, a Shopzilla UK poll found that over 11 million Britons shop online at least twice a week for clothes, books, CDs and DVDs, among other things. A startling 90% of those surveyed said they shop online once a month, rating the e-commerce shopping experience above that of physical stores. Perhaps it’s the convenience of being able to shop online at any time, the luxury of conserving gas by shopping from home, the ease of store/price comparison shopping, and improved web security that draws customers online.
Two keys to successful online marketing are
- Having a website that functions efficiently
- Having a customer service team that’s prepared to handle the sales volume, the number of customer concerns, the returns, and the inquiries.
Scott Macon, managing director of Shopzilla Europe, explains,”Web shoppers in the UK are savvy, and although this research shows they are enjoying the online shopping experience, it is clear they will not put up with poor website performance and after-sales service.”
Go where the users are
Online marketing companies must also find targeted traffic where web users hang out. According to a comScore study, 94% of consumers are finding their information through search engines, with 72% preferring Google. An Internet marketing company can help marketers with strategies like web design, copywriting, keyword building, keyphrase identification, paid inclusion and link building, or SEO ecommerce optimization — all are great ways to get noticed by the major search engines.
Additionally, a 2008 Hitwise survey found that comparison website traffic increased 20% and discount voucher online traffic went up 130%! Since many web users are looking for the best deal, successful online marketing strategies will focus on special web promotions designed to appeal to the bargain hunters. Online marketing strategies may involve promoting a sale with a press release or article, or it may involve email marketing. Sometimes adding online marketing keyword descriptions to an online catalog helps reel in search engine traffic, and meta-tags can help those photos land a spot in a Google image search.
The most innovative online marketing strategies involve blogging, social networking, and video posting. Karin von Abrams, a senior analyst at eMarketer, said, “Internet use and online activities such as e-commerce, video viewing, and catching the latest news are now firmly embedded in the lives of tens of millions of UK residents.” She went on to say, ”This isn’t going to change; in fact, most Web users are using online channels more than ever to keep on top of events, make their lives more efficient, and help their money go further. This can only boost advertisers’ desire to put their messages in front of online consumers.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that online sales may account for as much as 50% of overall retail growth by 2012, so competition in the world of online marketing is about to get much fiercer.