In an increasingly digitised world, the days of offline advertising seem to be numbered.
Despite the range of print marketing methods available - TV and radio adverts, billboards, posters, leafleting, newspaper listings - the traditional ways simply aren't as popular anymore.
Even the bulky print directories of yesteryear are all but extinct - this year's Yellow Pages is barely thicker than a weekly magazine - with advertisers taking to the internet to promote their services instead.
This poses the question: is it possible to market your business using digital advertising alone, shunning print media entirely?
We've seen businesses fail equally due to not using one or the other - it's important not to put all your eggs in one basket. Striking the right balance between the two depends on your business' size, budget and market.
This article aims to highlight how internet advertising can benefit every business, whilst suggesting when to use other forms of marketing to complement your online efforts.
Where are you on the Web?
Most potential customers search Google to find businesses by typing certain keywords or phrases.
This is where search engine marketing shines - if your customers know what they want, and your website appears in Google to say that it caters to what they want, you will get a great return on investment.
Another great way to 'spread the word' on the internet is social media. Once seen as just a way for friends to keep in contact, now Facebook and Twitter are increasingly being used for advertising.
Think of Twitter and Facebook as a digitised 'referrals' system - a business publishes a post or tweet about their services, which their followers may 'like' or share with their friends, and the word gets passed on from there.
The greatest advantage of advertising through social media is the vastness of the potential audience - as of Summer 2015, Facebook alone has almost 1.5 billion monthly active users.
With such a huge pool of users and connections between them, a successful post shared with many people can rapidly grab the attention of the masses. This phenomenon is known as viral marketing, and companies often spend vast sums of money and resources trying to tap into this resource.
Building your online presence
To take advantage of the Twitter and Facebook market, you need a number of dedicated followers, if you don't have anyone directly viewing your advertisement, nobody is going to share it!
Building up this following can be an uphill struggle, often involving a lot of time and dedication to convince people that you're worth following. Though the rewards for doing so can be great, many companies are put off devoting a large chunk of time for a non-guaranteed return on investment.
Design Brothers provide a social media management service that is customised to each of our clients' markets. We build the database of potential customers, and our clients then take advantage of the advertising platform by sending tweets and posts to them.