The Internet went “boom” right around 1995. Why did the Internet become increasingly accessible and desirable around 1995? There are a variety of reasons. For one, people became more comfortable using the Internet because it started to have the more familiar ‘look and feel’ of television. Also, Windows 95 helped make the process of getting an Internet connection easier. The old days of the Internet only being text and then, moving to something more visually appealing was certainly a big factor.
People who were aged 10, 15 and 20 years old in 1995 are today aged 24, 29 and 34 years, respectively. If we think about today’s 24 to 34 year olds, we realize they all grew up with the Internet as an integral part of their life. In addition, this age range is now, on average, in the beginning of their career or in middle management in their career. Certainly, this target audience is a key market segment and reaching this digitally-minded group requires a strategic, digital approach.
A business executive of any “C” level will likely delegate to this age range, or employee level for vendor research on a particular service. This age range is not likely to look in the yellow pages, or a traditional hard copy trade magazine, or necessarily be enthusiastic about a direct mail piece. The more likely sources for the vendor service research by this age range will include:
- Search Engines using keywords
- Social Communities (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook)
- Their peers on the Web looking for feedback
When the initial research is complete; and they have made contact for a proposal, their recommendation(s) to the executive will come from what they were able to find on the Internet. If your business is not engaged on the Internet beyond having a brochure Web site, you may find it difficult to get in front of this audience. Internet marketing is not only about having a Web site, but also engaging the Internet community through content marketing.
Content marketing is about distributing your information by posting (not advertising) a variety of types of electronic information. This will include articles, news releases, videos, photos, podcasts, e-newsletters, and social community marketing to name a few. It is a process that uses editorial content as a means of advertising. It is a process that shows you are an authority in your industry through a variety of locations on the Internet.
The three factors that will help get you in front of this age range will include the following. (Please keep in mind there are many details associated with each of the three below. We are presenting a summary of these items and can further describe details if you wish to send to us a DM (“direct message”, a Twitter acronym).
Visually Appealing Web site
The visual appearance of your Web site will need to have current design and technology built within to grab the attention of this age range. Certainly the flow of your Web site, along with the structure, layout, features and functionality need to be included too. If your Web site has not been updated in some time, you may wish to look into developing a new site. Please consider having a new Web site developed, not a new brochure. Engage the audience.
Technically Effective Web Site
In order for your Web site to be ranked organically for keywords being searched, you have to achieve a Web site that is technically effective. Insuring your Web site code is W3C compliant will be a good start. Server files along with proper header tags in your HTML code are also important. Follow this with content relevant pages for the search engines in which the meta data and the visual text work together.
Content Marketing (your outreach program)
In addition to the above description of content marketing, consider the following. Imagine going to the magazine racks in a book store. Now imagine an editorial feature or listing about your business within every magazine on the racks. Not just in a trade journal, but in every publication on the magazine racks.
Content marketing can help achieve this type of broad coverage on the Internet. When people search for terms related to your business segment, your ‘trade journal’ listing appears by having your Web site appear in the search results. The Internet’s trade journal is based on the search results for a specific term. For this reason, your content has to be distributed as widely as possible to increase the probability of someone finding your information – regardless of where they may be searching. Social community marketing is a type of content marketing and is included in this process.
If we change our paradigm and consider the “Internet boomer” audience as an integral part of our marketing strategy, we will increase the number of prospects our business will reach. We are also more likely to increase the geography from which our prospects will find us. The demographic that we need to target, as part of our marketing strategy, has changed. It is imperative for a business to change how it is reaching prospects. There is a reality that the traditional approach is not as effective as it once was because of this age range that has grown up with the Internet.