Moving from traditional to digital advertising is no easy process for businesses, whether they are a mom-and-pop shop or a corporate legal firm. Even mass media giants find hiccups as they move from paper and radio advertisements to web pages and other forms of digital media.

That’s because while the transition is between two very different channels, the basic principle is still the same. How do you know which one is right for you? Well, that largely depends on where the consumers are that you are trying to target as well as which resources they will use in an attempt to find someone who deals in the products and services your business offers.

If they are local and less likely to look for you online, then you have likely been doing fine with traditional forms of print advertising such as the yellow pages and direct mailers. But as people around the world become more tech-friendly, by all means go digital all the way. However, professionals like doctors and lawyers target a wide range of patients and clients, which is why they benefit from using both.

Light Up Your Marketing

Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” The difference between using the almost right ad format and the right ad format for your company is quite similar. One reaches a small amount of people, while the other reaches them on a larger scale.

Lightning bugs light up a small area of the dark, often in our own backyards. Print and other forms of traditional advertising do the same, often reaching people who live in our same general geographic area. Meanwhile the brightness of lightning can be seen from very far distances and its thunder is heard for miles. Comparatively, digital advertising reaches consumers on a broader scale.

Why Go Digital?

Mass media advertising using tangible formats such as newspapers, magazines, and direct mailers can still help a large number of businesses provided it is used in the right way. For example, a team of lawyers might take out a full-page advertisement on the back of the telephone book or in the yellow pages. They may benefit from radio spots that introduce them to listeners in specific areas of the country.

However these businesses will undoubtedly reach more people by going digital. Here are some examples of how to transition to online marketing in order to reach a broader demographic of potential new clients and consumers.

WordPress – This is a great tool that is simple to use, and it’s not just for those who sell products. It allows lawyers, doctors, and others offering professional services to add content in the forms of text, photos, and videos on their websites. Best of all, no HTML is needed which means all updating can be done in-house.

Social Networks –Businesses have found ways to work social networks to their advantage for the past several years and even professionals are hopping aboard the social network bandwagon. According to the American Bar Association lawyers with a presence on some kind of a social network rose from 17% in 2012 to 55% in 2012. (www.usnews.com)

Google+ – Technically Google+ could be labeled a social network but it’s unlike all the others. What makes it different is the fact that it links up with Google’s search engine which pushes traffic to a business – even if that business only offers professional services such as medical or legal advice. It lends a more professional feel than things like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and allows professionals to add a more personal touch than LinkedIn allows.

Another benefit of digital marketing is that it helps brand the business, whether it sells a unique product or is someone offering professional services. For instance a company website can have an entire page dedicated to video testimonials from past clients that tell how a product changed their lives, or how a doctor or lawyer improved the quality of their lives.

Viral Marketing

Another term for viral marketing is buzz. Most viral marketing takes the form of video clips on a popular social media format like YouTube or Vimeo. However, people also use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ to circulate popular trends. If a social marketing format exists, you can bet something is trending there!

One such example of virtual marketing is the Piano Stairs. An article in the Daily Mail explains how, in the space of a single night with a single team of workers, Volkswagen “transformed the stairs leading out of the Odenplan subway in Stockholm, Sweden into a giant functioning piano keyboard – much like the piano made famous in the Tom Hanks movie Big. Applying pressure on each step played a musical note.”

And what was the result? More than 65 percent more people began taking the stairs to leave the subway versus using the escalator. But most importantly, the video right now has nearly 18.5 million views and over 47,000 likes! This is just one example of videos gone viral.

Viral marketing is a great way to stay relevant on the internet. Best of all, anyone can take advantage of the practice! A team of criminal lawyers might put together a video about seatbelt safety or the dangers of driving while under the influence. A doctor might put together a video showing miraculous success stories from patients. The primary goal is to find compelling content that encourages people to tweet, like, pin, or whatever the method used to share the newest trending buzz with their own followers.

 

Freelancer Benjamin Baker loves to write, because it gives him so many opportunities to learn new things. For instance, while reading blogs at www.bgs.com he found information about seatbelt safety that came in handy when educating his own teenage children about being safe on the road. When he’s not working, Benjamin and his sons scout local antique shops and junk yards for relics like old tools and retro signs for their man cave.