I find the fancy terms for Internet Marketing (inbound marketing, content marketing, content strategy, etc) tend to evolve from and churn around in the circles in which those who work with larger companies tend to run. I don’t hear my local YMCA or the mompreneur talk about “social strategy”. They ask how they can use Facebook better. This is part of why I try to avoid using the term du jour and just stick with “internet marketing” to explain what I do.
But it’s exactly my local YMCA or the mompreneur who stands to benefit most from using the internet to share ideas and offerings. Internet marketing offers two key features that make it ideal for the individual or smaller organization looking for communications help:
1. It can be low cost.
Notice I didn’t say “free”. The assumption that because you can get a Twitter account for free means that Internet Marketing is free is just plain wrong. You have to have a resource creating content, managing your community and tracking progress. That resource will (and should) cost money.
But Internet Marketing can be less expensive than traditional marketing. If you develop your list well, email costs less than printed direct mail. Smart placement of content to drive interest, develop relationships and create demand is less expensive than printed advertisements or cold calling.
2. It can give anyone a voice.
There used to be a few gatekeepers who guarded a very broad audience. There were 3 major networks. Just a few national newspapers. Physical bookstores with limited shelf space. If you wanted an audience, you needed an offering with mass appeal and you had to get past the gatekeeper.
Now anyone can have a voice. Every website is one click away from anywhere else online, and most people have internet access. Rather than try to appeal to the broadest audience, you can specialize. You can target your offering to just the people you think will be interested. And you can develop a good relationship with those people through blogging, using social tools, email and other mechanisms.
If you’re looking to get started with an online presence, WordPress is an amazing tool. It’s easy to install and use, and WordPress itself is free.
Of course, big organizations with big budgets benefit from internet tools. But those organizations likely could have (and did) reach their audience prior to internet marketing being an option. The small group or individual really didn’t have a way to reach an audience.
So who benefits from internet marketing? Organizations of all sizes as well as individuals can benefit. But the biggest change over pre-internet marketing days is for the smaller organization with the smaller budget, or the individual.