Bill Gates once wrote in a 1999 book, “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” The internet has only become more dominant since then. Businesses now have a dizzying array of choices to consider when choosing how to connect with people that want to buy their products or services.
Businesses that have learned to harness both digital media and print advertising can reach a broader base of customers. With the advent of search engine optimization, targeted advertising, content marketing, analytics and social media, companies can better employ marketing using both digital and print media. The internet has removed consumers’ geographic restraints on purchasing products and services.
For a business to connect with its audience through digital marketing, it needs a strategy, according to Gina Dubbé, a 15-year venture capitalist who has invested in over 40 businesses. Dubbé created a multi-million dollar company, TheraPearl, in her basement, then sold it to Performance Health and currently is CEO of Greenhouse Wellness, a medical cannabis dispensary in Maryland.
“We use internet marketing to provide education and we consider that to be our value proposition, said Dubbé.” In particular, they use a great deal of social media marketing, email marketing and texting clients who have signed up through their web site when they first became patients.
Dubbé thinks digital marketing can increase your chances of reaching more potential customers, but she feels that there needs to be an intrinsic benefit to the viewer, such as education. “There is so much online that having a value makes the advertising more appealing to the customer base,” she said.
For Dubbé, marketing has evolved from just putting out fliers, running a broadcast ad or placing a print ad. Digital marketing and the internet make marketing efforts more comprehensive. But marketing is an area that is in constant flux. “When I first started investing in companies, marketing was only print, but over the years there has been a shift towards more digital marketing and less of an emphasis on print marketing, Dubbé said.
An advertising plan doesn’t have to be exclusively digital or print. Dubbé said that the methods should be chosen depending on what you know about the media consumption habits of your intended audience.
Traditional marketing resonates with older demographics, has a proven success rate and has a local advantage, according to a blog post published by The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. If you’re trying to reach an older audience, include traditional marketing in your plans. If your customers are more likely to use the internet to find products and services, it’s best not to ignore digital advertising.
Box: 7 marketing mistakes that can hurt your business
Rieva Lesonsky, CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, wrote in the Small Business Administration’s blog about 7 mistakes that businesses commonly make:
- Marketing without setting a goal — If you don’t have one, how will you know if it worked?
- Neglecting your current customers — Returning customers can be more valuable to your business than new ones. Work on getting customers to buy from you more often.
- Working without a marketing plan — Know which channels work for your audience, and build a plan that meets your goals.
- Letting your reputation slide — Monitor online review sites and social media platforms for reviews and comments. Respond quickly.
- Not asking for the sale — All of your advertising needs to include a clear call to action that asks your prospects to do something.
- Expecting instant results — Give your messaging time to work.
- Not monitoring results of your marketing — Use analytics tools to learn what works and what doesn’t.