An Explanation of Cloud Marketing
Cloud marketing is traditional marketing paired with software-as-a-service. It encompasses all of a company’s marketing efforts. Maybe you’ve heard about cloud marketing, or maybe you haven’t. But it’s almost certain that you’ve heard plenty about “the cloud.” So what does it really mean to have cloud marketing, and is it right for your business?
At one time, marketing was limited to print, television and radio ads and billboard ads. Today it includes everything from emails, to online stores to Twitter feeds. Cloud marketing places all of these materials in one central location so that they can be created, modified, used and shared by everyone within a specific company. The platform is then supported by a third party so it’s okay if no one at your organization is familiar with the technology.
The cloud has had a major influence on small to medium size businesses, and marketing is just one of them. Thanks to cloud marketing, businesses have been able to optimize their spending and be more financially savvy when it comes to managing their advertising budget. As you can probably relate, most small and medium businesses cannot afford to hire a PR agency, a large marketing and IT staff or even in-house marketing resources. Utilizing cloud marketing software is the perfect solution.
What are the Benefits to Cloud Marketing?
Cloud technology is either free or paid for with a subscription. One example of cloud technology is Google Analytics, something you probably already know about. With Google Analytics, there is a free version that allows marketers to gather data about website visitors and determine the sources of web traffic, among other things. Not having to pay for this software saves businesses tons of money. Other examples of popular cloud marketing software include Constant Contact, Salesforce and Google’s social analytics.
Thanks to cloud technology, you don’t have to shell out the time or money to purchase hardware, software licenses or IT services. All you need to do is sign up for an account over the Internet and the software becomes accessible to you. Most cloud services also come with a number of options (for instance, paid and free versions) so that you can easily choose the right fit for your business.
Flexibility and Efficiency
Cloud marketing makes it possible for everyone within your organization to create, modify, use and share all marketing assets. This helps your marketing team work closely together and allows them to share ideas with other branches of the organization, such as the sales team. Also, the marketing materials can be accessed whenever, wherever. This mobility is important for small businesses that don’t always have the resources to pay for transportation costs.
Less Need for IT Resources
Rather than depending on the IT department to handle all the storage and server needs in-house, you can outsource these needs to a third party. That’s not to say that an in-house IT staff isn’t needed, but they can focus on other things around the workplace such as business-critical tasks. Also, as technology changes, the IT department doesn’t need to be trained in these advances. This also saves time and money and is a built-in advantage of hiring a third party.
Examples of Cloud Marketing That You’re Already Using
Believe it or not, you probably already use cloud technology to market your business. Examples of cloud marketing include:
Social media: Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow you to engage with customers and increase brand awareness. Rather than having to hire an outside market research company, you can learn about your audience and what they want directly from social media. Plus, there is no shortage of targeting tools that allow you to really hone in on a specific audience.
Website marketing: Cloud-based tools for website marketing used for SEO and SEM include web analytics, pay per click, keyword discovery tools and more. All of these tools are used to market your website more effectively and get it to rank well in the search engine results pages.
CRM and marketing automation: Customer relationship management (CRM) software and marketing automation software are tools that help businesses stay in touch with customers and further nurture their relationships. It can save your business a lot of time since tasks don’t have to be handled manually.
Virtual events: Events can also be hosted in the cloud. At one time, webinars and webcasts were mostly prevalent in the education sector, but this isn’t the case anymore. You can find well-developed seminars and conferences that show live product demos, how-to’s, q&a’s and more.
Implementing a Cloud Marketing Strategy
Cloud marketing will only become more popular as time wears on because it’s convenient, affordable, mobile and efficient. Nothing is perfect, however, so there are a few problems that marketers run into with cloud software. The biggest is that it can be challenging to coordinate a marketing campaign across multiple platforms. Rather than displaying an ad on a billboard or coming up with a crafty message for a radio ad, brands must create a cohesive marketing strategy for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more.
The best way to ensure that your marketing efforts are cohesive is to devise a comprehensive marketing plan that works to achieve a common goal. This includes developing a brand identity and targeting a specific audience. The creative team will then be responsible for creating ad copy and graphics, while the web developers will place the content online and ensure that the website is offering a good user experience. Every detail needs to be worked out, as broken links and confusing navigation will frustrate customers.
Once a campaign goes live, it must be treated alive, too. This means that the campaigns must be tended to regularly. Sending messages, moderating discussion boards, updating statuses, responding to customer feedback and refreshing content keeps the campaign current and strengthens the end result.
We hope that this has helped you to better understand what cloud marketing is really all about. You’re already using some of it to help your business run more smoothly, and you will probably find many other ways to use this technology in the future. With enhanced efficiency, convenience and affordability, cloud technology is a desirable option for small and medium businesses.