Online Marketing, also known as web marketing, internet marketing, or e-marketing, is marketing products or services via the internet. This seems like a simple concept, but in reality (virtual reality that is) there are many moving parts that businesses new to online marketing should know. Here are some of the basics to get started.
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1. Web Site Presence: According to the webmasters at cottsinc.com, “Your website is at the heart of your digital presence. A business’s website is the most important aspect of an online marketing strategy. Known as inbound marketing, a strong, creative and easy to navigate website will earn the attention of prospects and generate visits to your website. Website design and content is very important to get the exact message to visitors. This is referred to as content marketing and is managed through blogs, podcasts, white papers, newsletters videos and social media posts. Websites have become so important to every sized business that there are companies and consultants devoted to creating exclusive websites.
2. Search Engine Optimization: SEO or search engine optimization is using proper key words in marketing content to improve the visibility of a website in search engine’s unpaid or “organic” search results. These methods range from technical, behind the scenes, known as back end of the website to all the promotional strategies and creative efforts of the site that visitors will see. For example link building is a back end effort, and social media marketing is a promotional effort. It’s important to realize that a website is only as useful if the user can find it and SEO done correctly is the key to finding it.
3. Social Media Marketing: Social media is a major part in a carefully planned online marketing plan. Social media is a general term for online sites that have very different social actions. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter among others should researched and understood before being added to the top of a strategic list. Companies that are social and are doing it well realize social media is much more than taking pictures and tweeting photos. It’s using SEO, linking valuable information, capturing analytics and knowing what a customer and potential customers’ interests are and reaching them in a variety of interactive ways.
4. Search Engine Marketing: SEM or search engine marketing is another term important to successful internet marketing strategies. Search engine marketing’s greatest strength is that it offers advertisers multiple opportunities to get their ads seen by customers who are ready to buy at that moment in time. The difference between SEO and SEM is the amount of marketing dollars that is spent on SEM. For example, SEM is usually considered for Pay Per Click, Google Adwords and display ads placed on other websites to draw new customers in. SEM is a type of online marketing that promotes website traffic by increasing their visibility in SERPs or search engine results pages. Strategies that apply to SERPs are paid advertising on and off business websites, content advertising and other paid strategies.
5. Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate Marketing is earning a commission by promoting other company’s products and services. Affiliate marketing is a great opportunity for those who manufacture their products and want to promote them to their target audience through other websites who offer advertising. It’s also a way for professionals with an internet voice to promote and share their opinions of multiple products through their blogs, social media exposure, etc. For some who may or may not have an ecommerce site, this is a win win as products are sold, commissions are made and the company is increasing their internet marketing potential. There are many success stories created out of affiliate marketing and an area that can be an income generator of promoted and executed correctly.
6. Google AdWords: Google AdWords is Google’s advertising service for marketers who want to display ads on Google’s highly used search engine and its advertising network. Google AdWords allows businesses to control and keep track of their advertising budget because they only pay when someone clicks on the placed ads. Google AdWords can help promote, sell and raise awareness of a company with the main goal to increase clicks or visits to a website. Keywords, or the words and phrases used in advertising content, is a very important part of Google AdWords strategy as well as other key components marketers should become familiar with for success.
7. Keywords: Keywords are the bread and butter of internet marketing. Keywords are the foundation of a website’s content as well as promotional verbiage. When used effectively they help visitors and potential customers understand you, your web’s content and your company’s products and services. On the other hand, keywords help search engines, like Google, understand the content of your webpage. Knowing your products, others in your industry and the keywords that are relevant to your industry are “key” in forming your online marketing campaigns. Social marketing professionals spend focused time determining what keywords and phrases will offer them higher rankings in search engine optimization (SEO).
8. Pay Per Click: Pay per click or PPC is an internet marketing strategy where advertisers pay a fee only when one of their online ads are clicked. It gives online advertisers the opportunity to bid for particular ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when a visitor types in a keyword related to their business. PPC is an effective way to get buying visits to a website. Search engine advertising is an example of pay per click advertising. Every time someone clicks on an ad, the advertiser has to pay a small fee regardless of whether someone buys a product or not. Since keywords and ad placement are so important to a successful PPC campaign there are sites devoted to helping businesses selecting the right keywords, a huge service, especially for newcomers to online marketing.
9. Inbound Marketing: In today’s online marketing landscape it is imperative to earn the attention of potential customers, making it very easy to be found and generating leads and customers to your website. That being said, as legendary Microsoft founder, Bill Gates said in 1996, “Content it King.” Content marketing is king today and continues to rule in internet marketing. Creating value for the consumer instead of just promoting a company’s products and services is key to a successful inbound marketing program. This can be accomplished through blog posts, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, email content, social media, etc. Sharing information that is pertinent in an industry, how to tips, interviews, infographics, trends and other valuable, interesting information is all part of inbound marketing. A successful inbound marketing strategy will encourage others to like and share with their networks.
10. Web Analytics: Web Analytics helps online marketing professionals understand and optimize their internet marketing campaigns. This is one of the most important aspects of a campaign a professional can review, analyze and understand what campaigns worked and what didn’t work. It is a tool to measure web traffic, and gain valuable insight to how visitors responded to marketing advertising and content and help lead a business into successful future campaign direction. Most social media platforms, search engines, email management services and marketing consulting services offer detailed analytics to help customers evaluate their time and online marketing investment.