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Small Business Marketing: Online vs Traditional


Online small business marketing has surpassed traditional methods of marketing for entrepreneurs who work from home. You may be more comfortable marketing online as a work-at-home mom, mainly because you run an online business or work primarily online. It's free or costs little to marketing on the web if you know what you're doing. The problem is, there's still a segment of the market that you can't reach online. You can only reach them using traditional marketing.

Differences Between Online and Traditional Marketing

Online marketing consists of methods and practices designed to reach an audience via the web. Typical ways of marketing online include:

  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Article marketing
  • Online press releases
  • Video Marketing (on YouTube and similar websites, or on your own website)
  • Podcasts and Internet radio
  • Social media marketing (on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)

Traditional marketing, on the other hand, targets audiences offline. Some forms of traditional marketing include:

  • Workshops and seminars (that you teach or host)
  • Brochures, catalogs and business cards
  • Postcards and fliers
  • Ads in newspapers and other publications
  • Booths space and speaking engagements at trade shows and conferences

To succeed in small business marketing, you should use online and traditional marketing methods. Even if you do business exclusively online, you can benefit from traditional marketing as well.

Traditional Small Business Marketing Benefits

It costs more money in many cases to engage in traditional small business marketing. However, you can enjoy many benefits marketing offline, such as:

  • It's the best way to build client and business relationships
  • Showcase your expertise and authority in your industry (by writing a book or speaking engagements at conferences)
  • Engage the senses (such as giving samples and taste-testing)
  • You'll have more success reaching local community and regional residents.

You shouldn't ignore traditional marketing benefits because of the costs to market offline. Start with the cheapest and most effective method and gradually build up as you earn more in revenues.

Online Small Business Marketing Benefits

In addition to the cost-saving benefits, there are these benefits to online marketing:

  • Immediate results from some online marketing campaigns (such as email subscribers clicking on links in your email)
  • You can do it from any location
  • No equipment is necessary, other than your computer
  • Many options for tools to automate your marketing tasks (such as Constant Contacts)
  • Find more joint venture opportunities for marketing products and services
  • A faster way to establish credibility and brand identity
  • Get the attention of customers around the clock
  • A larger marketing share because the Internet is available globally
  • Modify or add to written content easily

It's easy to see why you may be drawn to use online marketing methods exclusively. What you need to do is figure out which of the two forms of small business marketing you can use more, due to money and time constraints. As a work-at-home mom, consider allocating 80 percent of your time and money to online marketing and 20 percent to traditional marketing to start with. 

Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.

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