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The Internet presents a world wide web of opportunities for marketing but also a myriad of challenges.

In this lesson, you’ll learn more about the positives and negatives of taking your business online.

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Marketing on the Web

Are you a small business owner who is always brainstorming for ways to enhance your brand’s reach and revenue? Are you looking to do something out-of-the-box to supercharge your marketing efforts?What you might need is an online presence to complement your existing traditional marketing efforts. Internet marketing presents its own set of unique opportunities and challenges.

In this lesson, we’ll look at several of the opportunities and challenges you’ll face marketing your business online.

Internet Marketing Opportunities

There are many great features and opportunities of using Internet marketing. One of these is around-the-clock access.

Although your retail location may not be open 24/7, the Internet is always open! Shoppers can browse your site at any hour of the day, and as a marketer, you can digitally ‘touch’ consumers at all hours through email, online, and social media marketing.Another benefit is greater exposure. When you market online, you are literally introducing your business to thousands of people who may never have heard of your brand due to geography or accessibility. With Internet marketing, you could be based in Ohio and reach consumers on the other side of the world with your brand’s message and access to whatever you offer.Internet marketing is also low cost. Doing business and marketing-related tasks online is a relatively low-cost, high-reward way to promote your business, products, or services.

Ads such as sponsored posts on social media or pay-per-click ads inside of search engine results can be had for pennies on the dollars. They can also be targeted more specifically including by gender, location, or age, compared to more expensive, broad-reaching, traditional marketing efforts.Another benefit is that Internet marketing provides a social outlet. Besides the vast array of social media channels from which you can promote your business, you’re also better positioned to interact more closely with your customers.

You can make subscribers to your email marketing messages, place online ads in targeted locations, and fill a need with content such as blog posts and your website. Social media, on the other hand, is a great place to interact with customers, listen to their concerns, and address them head-on.

Internet Marketing Challenges

While Internet marketing has numerous opportunities, there are also challenges that marketers must face. One of these is reputation control. Because you are putting your brand or business out there for the world to see, there may be places where the comments or reviews you receive will not be exactly positive. Use this as an opportunity to address these problems head-on with the customer as well as making your business better.

Another challenge is dealing with multiple devices. Today’s consumers are not sticking to using the Internet on one device. They’re on their desktop or laptop computer at work but checking their mobile phone or tablet at home. Your content, whether a website or an email newsletter, must be designed with these multiple channels in mind for clear, concise design and easy navigation. You must also work toward integrating your marketing efforts across all channels, both traditional and digital, to present a unified, cohesive message.Privacy concerns are another issue. It seems like every day we read about a retailer being hacked or confidential information slipping out into places it wasn’t meant to go.

Online consumers are right to be concerned about how their data will be treated; and, as a business, you have to provide safeguards and convey them to your customers. There is a wealth of information available to online marketers that can improve your marketing efforts, but handle this information carefully and appropriately.Another challenge Internet marketers face is building and maintaining a relevant website. In order to get people to your website and keep them coming back, you must have not only a clean, appealing website that’s easy to navigate, but also work to continually populate that website with information your customers and prospects will find valuable and relevant to their everyday lives. Blogs, new updates, and changing offers or events can be a lot of work to maintain, and you may consider hiring someone to do it.

Lastly, generating traffic can be challenging. Even if you’ve built that relevant, useful, easy to surf website, what good is it without traffic to check out what you’ve created? Getting the right kind of traffic can take a little work, and some strategies you can use include:

  1. Knowing your audience and where best to reach them
  2. Understanding online ad placement
  3. Optimizing your website with the right keywords to get viewers to your site
  4. Utilizing search engine optimization best practices

Lesson Summary

Internet marketing presents a world of new opportunities – and some challenges – for today’s digital marketers. It can do wonders for allowing around the clock access to your business and increasing your brand awareness and volume of customers, is relatively low-cost to perform, and can be a valuable way to get social with your consumers and prospects. On the other hand, you must consider challenges such as controlling your online reputation, dealing with multiple devices, producing a valuable website, driving traffic to that website, and protecting your customers’ personal data. The challenges and opportunities balance themselves well, however, and the Internet is certainly a tool in the marketer’s toolbox that is here to stay.

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