Budgets vary. The basic ways to achieve a winning online marketing presence are essentially the same, no matter the size of your business. All types of businesses find success with their online marketing efforts by using a little ingenuity, and successful companies are not afraid to experiment with different technologies. They understand the importance of building relationships through email and social media, and they understand that quality content is crucial to fueling a successful online presence. Here are five businesses to watch. Some are small, some are large, but they all rock their online marketing strategies and have seen big results!
Starbucks has seen impressive results in the online marketing field for years because it’s worked hard to build connections. Starbucks’s online persona is welcoming and relaxed, just like a neighborhood coffee house. It’s no surprise that it’s not a slouch in the realm of social media! With over 11.7 million followers on Twitter and over 36 million likes on Facebook, it’s one of the most popular brands online. Part of this success is because Starbucks uses its social media accounts to encourage its customers to interact with the brand. It does this by making an obvious effort to respond to questions and comments. Content also plays a significant role for Starbucks. The company uses beautifully staged photos and short video clips of everything from a tasty-looking Iced Caramel Macchiato to someone chilling inside a Starbucks, knitting and enjoying their coffee. Starbucks was also a pioneer in the mobile marketing field and was even named Mobile Marketer of the year in 2010. It’s not afraid to adopt new technologies. In 2011 Starbucks launched an app that accepted mobile payments. In less than a year this app processed over 26 million mobile transactions, including customers reloading $110 million on their Starbucks cards.
A single, quirky, 30-second commercial during the 2010 Super Bowl helped turn around a stale brand. It was Old Spice’s social media presence that took its success to a whole new level. Rather than just letting its popular commercial become stale in TV-land, Old Spice took advantage of social media to get more mileage from the commercial and the ones that came after it. By putting its television ads on YouTube, Old Spice allowed viewers to watch the memorable commercials on-demand. The original one has been viewed over 52 million times on YouTube and has generated over 37,000 comments. Old Spice also made use of Twitter by allowing followers to post questions directly to the “Old Spice guy.” Some posters were rewarded by short videos directed specifically to them. How does all of this translate into results? With the continuing campaign, Old Spice gained 80,000 followers on Twitter in 2 days, its Facebook interaction increased by 800%, and its sales figures increased by 107%. Not bad! Of course, not every business can be lucky enough to have a viral marketing hit, but there is a takeaway that just about any business can appreciate: Try to get added effect by promoting more social engagement.
Mint is a free, web-based personal financial management service, and it proved that you don’t have to be a large, established company to find success with your online marketing strategy. When it was founded in 2006, it had the tough task of breaking into the already-crowded field of personal finance. To get noticed, Mint committed to providing quality content. It regularly updated its blog with informative, well-written, quality posts. It published beautiful infographics that people were eager to share. Its emphasis on quality content made it a go-to resource, which helped get the company noticed and build up a huge online following. Mint also experimented with email strategies. These included giveaways in an effort to get its customers to spread the word about the company by referring their friends. As a result of Mint’s marketing efforts, the once-little start-up was purchased in 2009 by Intuit® for an impressive $170 million.
You don’t have to be a huge company to reap the benefits of online marketing. Cupcake Royale, based in Seattle, Washington, has an impressive, intuitive website. It also has a strong Facebook presence that helps capture the attention of customers near and far. The bakery has six locations in Seattle, but it also delivers locally and even by U.S. postal service. The company’s simple-to-use website makes it easy to order cupcakes whether you live around the corner from a shop or across the country. Cupcake Royale has nearly 60,000 likes on Facebook. It uses the popular social media channel to show off yummy-looking pictures of their cupcakes and interact with their fans. By taking advantage of Facebook, Cupcake Royale can get feedback on flavors and figure out what their customers want to see more of. This could be why they have so many innovative flavors. Whiskey maple bacon cupcakes, anyone?
Ana White, Carpenter
If you’ve spent any time looking at home improvement blogs or perused home-related Pinterest pins, you’ve no doubt come across Ana White. In 2009 Ana White started sharing her plans for easy-to-build furniture online. Her target audience is women and anyone who may be intimidated by power tools and the thought of making their own furniture. She has over 1,000 easy-to-follow plans on her website that are broken down by skill levels and styles. Ana White encourages people to add the hashtag #anawhite to photos that show their completed projects. She puts these on her wildly successful blog and social media channels, which cuts down on the need for her to constantly come up with original content. Ana White is also very engaged with her online community. She has over 280,000 likes on Facebook, over 13,000 followers on Twitter, 66,000 followers on Instagram, and 172,000 followers on Pinterest. She actively uses these social media channels to help reinforce her brand image.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a start-up trying to get a foothold in a crowded market; a small chain, hoping to expand; a solopreneur; or a huge, already-established global company. You can scale your online marketing efforts to find a strategy that works best for you. You can be one of the businesses to watch! While not everyone’s going to come up with a viral video that takes the Internet by storm, just about any company can improve its social media presence and consistently provide quality content. Keep it fresh, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new technologies!