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Effective Online Marketing Drives Offline Sales

Date: 2/17/12

97% of Consumers Go Online to Research on Products, But Only 5% of Us Buy Online

SILVER SPRING, MD – February 17, 2012 – Two experts in the area of online marketing believe there are two main objectives behind any company’s online presence:  (1) allow the consumer to transform online discovery into sales and (2) make sure you are discoverable online, whether you sell online or not.

During an hour-long webinar yesterday afternoon, hosted by SGMA, Buzz Truitt (Director – Business Development; Netsertive) and Samir Janveja (Strategic Partner Manager; Google, Inc.) offered their thoughts on the topic of “Using Online Marketing To Drive Your Online Sales.”

“This webinar is a great example of how SGMA is able to attract outside experts who can provide quality information to help our members tackle difficult challenges, like optimizing your website,” said Jonathan Michaels, host of SGMA’s webinar and membership manager for SGMA and AFIRM. “Buzz and Samir did an excellent job in providing attendees, particularly small businesses, with action items that they can do today to help use their website to generate sales. Moving forward, SGMA is committed to providing these opportunities for education for members through our Thought Leadership Program.”

One of Truitt’s opening remarks was that “your online presence must complement your ‘brick and mortar’ location.”

Truitt noted that the size of the online retail business in the U.S. is large and on the rise.  He stated that online retail sales are expected to reach $60 billion in the U.S. by 2016, based on the fact that online retail sales are growing at 10-14% a year.  This growth is in sync with online advertising expenditures which are on the rise, too. 

Truitt made a very revealing statement about advertising expenses.  Right now, the amount of time that consumers spend reviewing, watching, and listening to print, television, and radio advertising is on the decline, whereas the amount of time that consumers spend paying attention to online advertising is on the upswing.

While online exposure is an absolute necessity and online sales are increasing, the vast majority of sales are still done inside stores.

“Roughly 97% of consumers go online to research products and services in their local area, but only about 5% of us actually buy online,” said Truitt.  “The bulk of shopping still takes place in stores.”

During a poll conducted by attendees on the webinar, 31% of the respondents noted that half of their company’s advertising is done online.

During Janveja’s presentation, he revealed some eye-opening facts about online marketing such as 90% of ‘clicks’ to business websites occur on first-page search results and the number of smart phones will soon overtake the number of desktop and laptop computers.  He also noted that, not surprisingly, younger people are more inclined than older people to use search engines while researching an issue. Nearly 30% of those 55 and older still like to use the Yellow Pages while conducting research.

Both Janveja and Truitt agreed that simple websites are the best way to communicate with consumers.  Both men said that the homepage of each website must answer the following three questions: 

1.)    Who are you?  The name of your company must be easily visible.
2.)    What do you do?  Your industry or business must be easily defined.
3.)    How can I reach you?  It’s a good idea to list a telephone number or an email address.

For a more advanced presence on the Internet, Janveja and Truitt suggested that companies start an active blog for people to read and that companies should strongly pursue a presence via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

“Websites must be easy to use and relevant to the user,” said Janveja.  “You also want your website to provide relevant, updated content, a blog, and product information.  And you want to update the website at least two or three times a month.”

As for other helpful hints that will drive people to your website, Janveja suggested companies buy localized display advertisements; have a Facebook presence that encourages people to visit your website; start an electronic newsletter which is sent to customers and prospective customers; and put enough content on your website that keeps people there as long as possible, clicking from one page to the next.  And to analyze how attractive your site is to the buying public, access Google Analytics.

Within the next few months, SGMA plans to host a follow-up webinar to yesterday’s presentation with the help of Netsertive and Google.  When the time and date of the follow-up webinar is determined, it will be posted on SGMA’s event page – www.sgma.com/calendar

If you are an SGMA member and you missed the webinar, you can review the slide presentation at www.SGMA.com by clicking here.


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