It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many technology firms have invested, at least somewhat, in online marketing. There’s even discussion that traditional marketing is being used much less often than digital tactics.
While we certainly see the balance tipping in favor of online marketing, a successful technology marketing plan doesn’t have to choose one or the other. In fact, finding the right mix between traditional and digital can help both sides of your marketing be even more successful.
Still, there’s no denying that online marketing offers some unique benefits over traditional marketing. Let’s look at the research: firms that generate 40% or more of leads online are more profitable and grow faster.
Figure 1. Firm Growth and Profitability Compared to Online Lead Generation
Here are four reasons online marketing has started to take center stage:
1.Tracking. Options like Google Analytics, Moz Analytics, Kiss Metrics and various other social media analytics platforms have made it easy for tech firms to measure marketing success. You can easily see the number of impressions, clicks and conversions for each individual campaign your firm runs. You know what’s working and what’s not, down to the interest level generated from a specific piece of content or the success of an online ad.
Online marketing tracking takes a large portion of the guesswork out of the decisions your technology firm has to make. It helps you get to know your clients better because you’re able to learn from their behavior and habits. In the past, you might have been able to correlate a spike in interest with a well-timed print ad, but you couldn’t always control the different variables that might have influenced the situation. Online tracking paints a clearer picture.
2.Cost. Depending on the types of digital tools you use, online marketing is generally considerably cheaper than traditional forms of advertising. Television and radio ads often come with a hefty price tag and utilize such a large platform that it can be difficult to reach your target audience.
Online and content marketing is, as a whole, less expensive than traditional marketing due to the ease of creation and distribution. By keeping costs down, technology firms can allocate funds to other areas of their business and marketing plan.
3. Agility. When you invest in a traditional strategy like television, print, or radio, the production time and cost generally make modifications difficult. You’re stuck with the final product not matter how well it performs. With online marketing, your campaigns are agile. This means you can quickly adapt a campaign or make modifications to your strategy based on what your analytics are telling you.
This level of flexibility also adds security to your marketing investment. Rather than spending money on a traditional campaign and being disappointed in the performance, you can tweak your online campaigns as you see how your audience responds.
4.Permanence. The shelf-life of your digital content doesn’t have an expiration date. Once you publish it on your site, it can continue to generate leads for as long as you keep it up there. Unlike a radio or television ad that will eventually reach the end of its run time, your digital content lives on.
The permanence of your content also plays a role in the cost effectiveness. You’re more likely to get your money’s worth when your investment has a longer period of time to play out.
Finding the balance
However, that’s not to say that there isn’t still merit in many traditional marketing avenues. In many cases, supplementing your traditional technology marketing approaches with online integration can make both sides of your marketing more successful.
Here are three traditional marketing channels that can benefit from supplemental online efforts:
1. Speaking Engagements. Speaking engagements are a great way to increase the visibility of thought leaders in your firm and gain credibility in your marketplace. You can meet new prospects and network with other industry leaders. As beneficial as these events can be on their own, they also present an opportunity for new online content.
Film the speaking presentation and publish it on your company blog. This allows a traditional form of marketing—public speaking—reap the benefits of digital marketing. Your message will reach a broader audience and get the opportunity to exist long after the event is over.
2. Networking Events and Conferences. These types of traditional marketing events typically involve face-to-face interactions and the exchange of business cards. However, even when a solid in-person connection is formed, maintaining relationships with only traditional tactics isn’t always easy.
Online marketing techniques like social networks can be a great supplement to the face-to-face connections you make at events and conferences. Connecting on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook allows you to establish an accessible ongoing relationship.
In addition to easily sharing content, you’ll be able to stay up-to-date on major life events to offer your congratulations on a new job or additional professional accomplishment.
3. Whitepapers or Other Company Published Content. There are plenty of good reasons to continue publishing print content. Whether it’s a monthly newsletter, magazine or pamphlet advertising an event, many of your clients will appreciate a hard copy resource.
However, while there’s nothing wrong with maintaining some of your traditional printed resources, you should also make digital copies available on your website. Your firm only stands to benefit by making that content available online. Not only will you provide a digital backup for your prospects who receive a print copy, but your content will also reach a wider target audience.
Technology marketing might be leaning more heavily on digital tactics, but that doesn’t mean your firm should abandon the traditional marketing practices that still make an impact. By incorporating online strategy with traditional tactics, you can create a mix of traditional and online practices that can have a strong impact on the grown of your firm.
What traditional marketing techniques does your technology firm still use? Share how you mix both traditional and online marketing practices in the comments below.
Find out how to incoroporate online marketing into your firm's marketing strategy and download the free ebook, Online Marketing for Professional Services.