As stormy economic conditions continue and the recession bites, consumers are increasingly shopping online hoping to find the best deals and bargains. Today, with traditional media declining in importance, companies are looking at online tools as an integral component of marketing strategies. Digital marketing looks set to continue its rapid growth in 2009 and in the years to come. Undeniably, the media and marketing landscape has changed in ways that are fundamental, and long-lasting.

The Hottest Tools in Online Marketing

To get the best out of online marketing tools, it is imperative that companies leverage the latest digital marketing tools and techniques for improving customer value proposition and overall competitiveness. Here are a few popular and fast growing online marketing tools.

Starting a blog is the cheapest and quickest way to introduce and announce new product offerings. Blogging platforms can be used to effectively establish a conversation with the consumer.

Engaging customers to become brand advocates through an open, customer-facing approach is best achieved by social networking. Social networking websites are increasingly being used to promote products and services making them a popular medium of marketing today.

User Generated Content in blog comments, video reviews and product reviews leads to better Brand perception, Brand dialogue and Brand engagement. When you allow online users to scrutinize and review your products/services it brings about Brand trust and enhances the word-of-mouth marketing experience.

Affiliate marketing programs provide an unparalleled opportunity to partner with powerful affiliate marketing web sites to promote products and services on a pay for performance basis.

Visual Marketing Aids to Increase Customer Responses

Bring your target customers closer to you through Video Streaming. Videos are an instant eye-catcher and streamed marketing videos can be added on to websites to grab the attention of potential customers immediately. They are the latest cost-effective digital marketing trend. YouTube is one of the fastest growing sites which is accessed by the mod, trendy and tech savvy customer.

According to research by Universal McCann:
” 73% of users read blogs
” 36% think more positively about brands that are strengthened by blogs
” 57% have joined a social network
” 83% of users have viewed video clips
” 49% have downloaded podcasts
” 38% have subscribed to an RSS feed

All this clearly highlights the fact that social media has well and truly arrived and you’re missing a huge opportunity if you don’t use it to your advantage.

The notable benefits of Digital Marketing

” Effectively markets 24-hours a day, 365-days a year
” Responds swiftly to changing terrain
” Relatively low investment
” Outcomes can be tracked more accurately
” Changes can be tweaked much more quickly

Vital Post-Lead Actionable: It is also important to keep track of the leads that visit your website, follow up on enquiries and convert potential leads into sales worthy ones. Investing in a feature-rich lead management program will help you sort out and track all leads right from the first point of contact to after-sales services, eventually speeding up the ROI of your marketing efforts. Sophisticated CRM tools allow precise targeting and more relevant messaging, creating better return for marketing spend. CRM tools are an integral part of every business organization today helping in storing customer data that gets generated over time and consolidating all sales leads and current customer data.

The Road Ahead

Marketing has rapidly evolved over the past decade looking beyond the basics, to leverage and integrate SEO, social media, blogging and video tools to gain competitive advantage and achieve meaningful scale. In an age where marketing budgets are subjected to even greater constraints and as companies strive to find more cost effective marketing channels, what will ultimately engage end consumers are the right copy, the right design and the right message. The bottom line for online visibility rests squarely on quality, relevancy, and customer engagement.