Unlike traditional direct marketing, online marketing or digital/internet/e-marketing as it is also known offers businesses the opportunity to reach mass markets at an affordable price, and has the possibilities of offering true personalised marketing. Benefits include:
- One to One marketing E-marketing provides consumers the ability to instantly reach your products or services, and combined with personalisation allows for targeted campaigns.
- Globalisation The internet allows anyone in the world with internet access to reach your site, and often this only necessitates a small investment from you.
- 24 hour marketing Websites allow consumers to view/purchase your products and services even when your pharmacy is closed.
- Personalisation If you connect your database with your website then when an existing customer goes to your site you can target them with personalised offers and messages.
- Trackable, measurable results with analytics you can track behaviours of a consumer on your site, or monitor the popularity of an advertising campaign, this is a powerful tool enabling you to amend your website/advertising campaign according to user behaviours. There are many free or paid for analytic suppliers - a free analytics service is offered by Google and Yahoo.
- Lower cost Often with good planning and effective targeting, an online marketing campaign can reach the right consumers at a lower cost than more traditional methods.
Developing an e-marketing plan
Your e-marketing plan should be consistent with your overall marketing goals.
- Identifying your target audience You may need to profile and rank in importance your target audiences and then cater a varied plan for each segment. By profiling each segment you can pitch your costs and the benefits.
- Setting objectives Think about what you want to achieve from the campaign; it could be an exercise of brand or product awareness, launching a new service, research or increasing sales, you may even want to set different objectives against each targeted segment.
- E-Marketing mix You will need to think about what tools you wish to use to implement your e-marketing plan. These can range from e-mail, advertising on other websites, blogging to paid search on search engines such as Google. Consider a mixed approach to your e-marketing mix and how this is aligned with your traditional marketing activities. Any campaign you produce should be streamlined between both marketing mediums.
- Budget With any form of marketing it can be easy for costs to spiral out of control without careful consideration. Budgeting helps you identify your investment against your expected return.
- Actions Identify what tactics you need to put in place to implement your plan. These may include timing, distribution, amending/enhancing a product or service to align with customer requirements, training staff or competing for new business.
- Measuring your success Factor in to each marketing mix method you adopt how you will measure the success of your campaign against the objectives you have set. You may need to implement a feedback mechanism and you should review your campaigns against your feedback in order to track what has been successful and what needs adjustment.