defined marketing. Now let's take a more in depth look at print vs. online marketing. Most marketers see the value in online marketing and have shifted their budgets, spending more online than with print marketing. Online ad spend alone is expected to reach $39.5 billion in this year, whereas total print spending is expected to cap at $33.8 billion. That doesn't seem like that much of a gap, but in terms of achieving the best ROI, online marketing has higher returns, justifying the investment. But first, let's look at the pros and cons of print and online marketing before you pass judgement.
There are still some target markets that interact better with print media (specifically trade publications) These are your 55+, warehouse managers, or anyone who isn't comfortable with using a computer or the internet.
Print advertising is expensive. Let's say an ad in a trade publication costs $5,000. Only people with subscriptions to that publication will see the ad. Now, if you take that same $5,000 can get you a new website or about five months or so worth of basic SEO (depending on which agency you use).
Print limits your reach. I just mentioned that a trade publication is only visible to those who subscribe. The reality is, even subscribers won't notice your ad unless they're really reading the publication. There is a higher chance that your ad will get over looked.
Lower ROI. The potential for lower return on investment is greater with print than it is with online marketing. Tracking ROI is difficult as it is unless you attach a special code or phone number. Direct mail ROI ranges from 0%-16%.
The other factor to consider is that more and more people are turning to the internet for information and research versus newspapers and magazines. Think about it realistically. When was the last time you picked up the newspaper? Other than waiting at the doctor's office, when did you pick up magazine?
Now let's turn our focus to online marketing. I want to invite you to follow me on Twitter because I tweet all things online marketing. That's the best place to get the latest information on trends and data.
Online Marketing Pros
Bigger bang for your buck. I went over this a little bit earlier. You get more for your money with online marketing. A website can cost as little $500. SEO can range from $500 a month to $1,000. PPC (pay per click with Google) averages about $500 depending on how aggressive you are. Social Media services varies too. If you decide to outsource your online marketing, there is something available out there to meet your budgetary needs. I will tell you that having someone manage your social media campaigns is expensive, but worth it if you don't have the man power or expertise to do it in house. We can discuss this in detail if you want. SEO and PPC are definitely worth outsourcing because agencies have the expertise to do it correctly with higher ROIs.
Better ROI. I love this part. ROI for online marketing is huge. On accounts I work with, I see ROI ranging 500% to over 1000% for SEO and PPC. Social ROI is growing quickly as well. It's easy for me to justify my work with clients when I can show them record breaking sales. Granted, there are lots of factors that play a role, but a good online marketing will eventually ( in 3 to 6 months) will see increased ROIs over print. By the way, it's easier to track ROI with online marketing. All you need to do is use tracking code. Sometimes that's as easy as adding code to the end of a url or adding code to the footer a webpage.
Reach. You reach more of your target audience. We all know the internet is a powerful place. All someone has to do is go to Google, search, and learn so much about a topic, product, or service. Online marketers have this amazing influence over consumers. An article, press release, website content-- you can reach so many people with a page or two of information online versus an ad in a magazine, newspaper or a postcard in the mail. Online marketing transcends time zones and locations. If you optimize your website correctly, you can reach millions--no joke.
Online Marketing Cons
Slowly growing. I'll be honest and tell you that in some instances, it seems that certain industries are slower to move to online marketing than others. This is usually tied to age and gender preferences. But I will tell you that in almost every industry, the younger generation is moving online. It just takes some industries longer than others.
Not all online marketing works for everyone. Online marketing has it's niche. Don't be so quick to jump on the latest trends unless it makes sense for your business. Pinterest seems to be a hot topic. Many companies are exploring it in addition to their current online marketing efforts. However, unless you're in eCommerce, I would advise against it. Women are primary users, so unless that's your target market, it might not be worth your time. B2B businesses may also find that Twitter and LinkedIn are worth more of their efforts instead of Facebook and vice versa. If you're targeting teens, you don't want to have a LinkedIn profile, but stick to Facebook. I will say this though. EVERYONE needs SEO and PPC. So you should jump those bandwagons.
New and changing. I've said before that marketing is fluid. Well, online marketing is definitely fluid. It's fairly new and it changes quite a bit. We can thank Google for that with frequent algorithm updates. This makes it harder to keep up with. I will tell you that I spend quite a bit of time everyday staying current. I read lots of articles. I have Google's tweets sent directly to my iPhone. I'm connected 247. Staying current can be a challenge and very time consuming.
This is a very basic overview. I advise anyone to really take a look at their overall business goals, budget, and have a clear understanding of their target market. You should definitely incorporate online marketing in your marketing plan. And if you're used to using yellow pages, consider doing it online. Actually, newspapers and magazine are shifting to online advertising anyway. So instead of going for print, continue to advertise, but do so online.The world is changing, and you should change with it.