Monday, 23 March 2009

What can small business get from eMarketing?

A common question is: why should we bother with eMarketing?

For the same reasons you should maintain your non-eMarketing - it is your voice to your customers, your way of telling them who you are, how to find you, what you sell and, most importantly, why you. In today's congested marketplace, with the additional challenges that the current financial markets are throwing at us, it is even more important to remember why we bother with marketing at all.

I'm going to use PH Digital ( as an example - since I know it well and I'm not under any prohibitive contracts that prevent me talking about it.

We sell services, skill and knowledge in what is a fairly busy marketplace - digital communications. There are a huge number of companies that may seem to overlap with our offerings and there is the normal mix good average and less than average.

My key objectives in my marketing work are to make sure as many people know what it is that PH Digital does and that they understand what it is that makes us unique.

So how do I go about doing this?

If I was going to focus on purely traditional methods, I would be looking at press releases, print advertising and placing articles in periodicals that I estimated would appeal to my target audience. I may also be trying to win any applicable industry awards, joining professional organisations, engaging in charitable work, attending networking and even resorting to leaflet drops.

All of this should be fairly familiar. It's a traditional solution and can be very effective if used and targeted well. It can also be expensive, time consuming and unmeasurable.

For some business models, these solutions work well. For many, particularly small businesses or niche markets, this solution isn't practical.

eMarketing can offer both support for traditional marketing strategies, but also provides a unique low-cost alternative that can be used to extend the reach of your marketing efforts and provide some measurability and feedback.

So how does it work?

There are a large number of methods for promoting a business online that extend beyond just having a website. This blog, and particularly this blog post is a good example.

The blog itself is provided free by, as is the technology that enables me to embed the top 5 posts onto the PH Digital homepage. This blog post represents an investment of no more than a couple of hours of my time writing about a subject that I know very well since it is one of the key service areas for PH Digital. While I'm writing this you'll notice that I've been careful to include a reference to the PH Digital company name a number of times, to include the web address and write something that includes a discussion of our services.

The way this post has been constructed becomes important when it is published. I will choose a number of labels that represent the subject matter of this post and since Blogger is owned by Google, it won't be long before Google has indexed this blogpost.

The marketing benefit of this can be seen in a number of ways. Firstly, I've found an easy way to add extra content to my website without needing to involve an agency or spend anything other than a little time to make it happen. Secondly, I've generated a some content that will be indexed by google directly from this blog and is specifically about my business, and points back to my website. Thirdly, I have been able to discuss and publish some basic information in a way that will help to differentiate PH Digital from some of the other agencies out there.

This kind of communication can be seen as a way of generating traffic for your website, but it is equally important to capture and maintain a relationship with those visitors. Subscription based services (e.g. offering a useful document for download if your customers provide their email address and consent to direct contact). You can also offer subscriptions to email newsletters, ongoing release of new content, forums and use of micro blogging. All these solutions help to capture your audience and maintain an open channel to them.

Being able to provide something unique is key to keeping your audience interested (if they can get the information anywhere, they will). Innovative use of web based technologies can allow you great opportunities to engage your audience. For example, if you run a retail based business and take delivery of a new product line, you could just add it to your website. A better solution would be to add it to your website and reference your review of the product that you post on your blog. You make sure that this blog post gives good description of the product and it key selling points , but you also make sure that you use your mobile phone or digital stills camera to film a short (30-90 second) video review of the product which you upload to a site like and reference it from your blog. This takes you a little longer than just putting the item on your website, but has a huge effect on your ability to reach a wider audience - you don't just show it to people who are already coming to your website, but to anyone who searches and finds it on your blog or on youtube. You are increasing the chance that you'll be found as a vendor of that product by ensuring that you can be searched for and found on 3 different sites all of which provide links back to your website.

There are many other opportunities to integrate technologies to reach a wider audience, and create ongoing engagement with your customers. To find out more, contact or visit PH Digital.

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