Content marketing, Internet campaigning, Web-based advertising, online outreach — whatever you want to call it, modern marketers understand the benefits of utilizing websites and social media to boost customer interaction and sales.

Whether you’ve already launched online campaigns or are contemplating outsourcing a marketing company, there are plenty of factors to consider before making any investment. To help, I thought I’d share a few of the top reasons companies need to use online marketing.

1. Brand-Controlled Press

Websites, Facebook pages, blogs, and other online assets are owned by you. Because of this, you’re better positioned to leverage the benefits of your products and services than ever before.

The “press” you publish is usually in a press release format and pushed through an online agency. In addition, you’re more than able to post updates, discounts, and major announcements through social media.

2. Customer Interaction

This is a big one for Web-based companies, not to mention businesses with little customer interaction. With social media, you’re able to ask your customers and clients what they think about certain products, pricing, and updates. It is much more efficient for a customer to respond to a Facebook comment than send in a survey form, after all.

3. Competition

The “If your competitor is doing it, you should, too” idea applies to social media and online marketing more than anything. In fact, the modern customer is more likely to look up a business on social media or Google. If you don’t have the right online assets, the odds of them finding you is much, much lower.

The trick, of course, is to launch campaigns that outdo your competition and work in favor of your brand.

4. ROI

The return-on-investment for content and social media marketing is incredible. For a few hundred bucks a month (from most firms), you can reach thousands of customers on social media, talk with industry leaders through blogs and LinkedIn, and build up a stronger market base.

Better yet, online marketing is easy to monitor. This allows you to see just how effective each of your online assets is.

5. Opportunities

Most businesses use a combination of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, blogging, websites, and press outlets to market on the Internet. These online assets give an in-house or outsourced marketing team much more to work with than traditional billboard and news advertising.

6. Targeting

Local businesses with a strong emphasis on online marketing are able to target specific markets and customers. With Facebook, for instance, you can promote your page to certain cities and demographics. This is another reason content marketing has such a high ROI for smaller, local businesses.

7. Branding

Branding, of course, is the big one. Businesses that initiate online campaigns are capable of positioning their brands higher up on search engines, appear more professional to customers, and reach out to new markets while building a stronger brand.