When you here of internet marketing, what comes to your mind?
The first thing that comes to most people’s minds is a website. Other people think of either a blog or a social media page. The reality is that these are some channels of internet advertising that are part of a larger picture referred to as internet marketing. Trying to create a comprehensive marketing strategy for your particular business is like solving a puzzle using different pieces.
In today’s business environment, internet marketing is invaluable. Whether you run a small or medium enterprise or whether you are a large multinational company. There are numerous benefits that accrue from having a visible online presence that includes:
- Creating a brand
- Attracting new customers
- Keeping in touch with existing customers
Internet marketing can help broadcast your expertise and develop new leads for your business. Having a visible online presence can lead to cost saving on other traditional promotional channels such as TV, radio, or newspaper advertising.
This post is aimed at helping you understand internet marketing so that it works for you and your business. We will outline the basics of internet marketing by analysing different platforms.
What constitutes internet marketing?
In reality, internet marketing is very broad. Any marketing endeavour that you can execute on an online platform falls under internet marketing. The most important and popular channels that can help your business include:
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
SEM is any marketing endeavor that helps your potential customers locate your business through search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. There are some avenues that are considered crucial but separate in SEM including platforms such as Google AdWords and SEO (search engine optimization).
SEO helps you to create a website that ranks highly on a search engine compared to similar websites for businesses offering similar services. SEO is free compared to Google AdWords that requires you to pay for your advertisement to appear in another person’s website or bog post. SEO allows your potential customers to organically find you.
To ensure that you organically rank highly, it is important that you conduct extensive keyword research and writing relevant content that utilizes those key words. SEO requires you to possess special skills such as building links that can help you move up search engine rankings.
You will need to consistently check on the keywords for your site’s SEO to make sure that it ranks highly and is up-to-date. Search engines such as Google regularly update their algorithms, which will require you to continually perform maintenance on your site.
There are numerous plugins that can be used on platforms such as WordPress that can help you ensure that the SEO for your site is effective even if you do not possess the requisite specialized skills. To have your SEO performed by professional online marketing experts, simply click here.
- Pay-per click marketing (PPC)
PPC marketing involves the creation of an ad, bidding to have it viewed by a target audience, and the results paid for. What different platforms choose to optimize determines what you pay for including actions taken, conversions, impressions, or more popularly, clicks.
There are two forms of PPC marketing: display ads and search ads
Display ads allow your potential customers to view your ads as they browse the internet. Your ads are displayed on a page that a user is viewing or on a Facebook feed. These types of ads allow you to introduce your business and products to customers that are inadvertently browsing the internet.
Display ads include Instagram Ads, Quora Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Promoted Pins, and Google AdSense among many others.
- Social Media Marketing
You can also utilize social media marketing. It entails both paid advertising using the PPC of a given platform and organic marketing. You can use social media to create awareness of your brand and to nurture customer relationships. Having a presence on social media platforms ensures that your brand is always in the minds of potential customers.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform for internet marketing. The platform allows you to create a detailed page with all the relevant information about your brand. There have been changes in the Facebook algorithm for organic reach but even these changes have not adversely affected Facebook’s standing as the premier social media platform for online marketing.
There are other social media platforms that compete with Facebook including Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. Others such as reddit, Periscope, Snapchat, and Tumblr are also viable to promote your business.
While it is possible to have your business profiled in multiple social media platforms, it is advisable that you start small in one platform and learn how to manage it before moving on to others. Alternatively, you can hire professionals such as climbing trees to manage your social media pages and handle your entire social media marketing profile.
- Email Marketing
Email marketing has been around for a lot longer than the other types of internet marketing. You can also utilize this avenue by sending emails to your customers to drive sales and nurture leads. Email marketing utilizes mailing lists and works just like social media marketing to remind potential customers and previous customers that your products are still around.
Email marketing is unlike social media marketing in that you can afford to be more aggressive. The emails that you send individuals or groups of users will contain more information than social media pitches such as calls to action, product announcements, and specific offers.
It is important for your business to capture the email of a user even prior to them becoming customers. Your business can persuade customers and other users to sign-up to your platforms through incentives and lead magnets. Utilizing a service like MailChimp for management of emails can allow you to automatically send autoresponses to welcome subscribers using email campaigns that are pre-made.
- Content Marketing
You can utilize content marketing for your business by publishing online in order to draw leads. Trust is established by ensuring that there is value in the content offered in blog posts that are published on your website, in guest posts that you have authored for affiliate sites with links that lead back to your website, videos and infographics that can be shared on multiple social media platforms, and other media that captures lead information such as case studies, white papers, and ebooks, jointly referred to as lead magnets.
Content marketing is utilized complementarily with SEO and should be executed to achieve specific goals. You should ensure that you regularly create content that will generate leads. Since this avenue for internet marketing quickly loses momentum, it is important that you contract third parties to produce content relevant for your business. For professional help in relevant content generation using keywords vital for SEO, visit website.
- Online Networking
Online networking is invaluable in creating relationships that are invaluable for business promotion and growth. It is important that you seek out and join online groups and forums of your peers and other experts ready to help you with your business. The relationships built through online networks can help in generating richer content for your webpages by sharing acquired knowledge that can help in expanding your target audience.
You can also collaborate on some projects with like-minded individuals on these forums to diversify your portfolio. This mode of internet marketing, however, is not utilized for outright selling but for building relationships that are mutually beneficial.
There are numerous forums where you can seek out online networks including:
- LinkedIn groups
- Facebook groups
- Quora, which is a question and answer forum, and
- Industry forums
Online networks are a free and effective way of growing your business by presenting your business in front of a diverse audience.
You should start here…
You should know that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when developing an internet marketing strategy that works for your business. Nonetheless, here are some basic pointers.
First, ensure that you have a website that is well-designed and strong. Since this is a specialized skill, you will require an expert in web design, who will create a website that has intuitive navigation and can persuade customers to shift to your brand.
Second, you will need to conduct extensive research into keywords for your business as your site is being built. Keywords are the Holy Grail in internet marketing as they guarantee visibility on the web. Choosing unique and comprehensive keywords helps your webpages rank highly on search engines.
Third, after launching your site, you should have a clearly visible form for capturing customer emails. This should be backed up with an autoresponder to automatically welcome potential clients once they volunteer their emails.
Fourth, it is time you consider having a presence in social media. We recommend that you start by having a Facebook page as it will guarantee you faster results than other social media platforms. This page should have plenty of relevant information on your business that is well presented. If you have a large and wide ranging target audience, you can register additional social media accounts with other popular platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and twitter. Ensure that you frequently monitor and update your social media pages. If you need help with managing your social media profile, click here.
Fifth, you can boldly branch out to other forms of internet marketing once your social media pages are up and running and are well-managed. Some of the avenues that can help you reach your target audience faster include search ads and social media ads through PPC. Also, consider generating relevant content for your business to highlight your expertise through blogs on your site or through writing guest blogs in other sites, which link back to your website.
So, how much will investing in internet marketing set me back?
Remember we mentioned earlier that internet marketing is invaluable for all types and sizes of business. The cost on internet marketing ultimately depends on how much you are willing to commit to the endeavour. Keep in mind, however, that you will require to invest some amount for professional help in some of the more technical aspects of internet marketing.
At the very minimum, you will have to spend close to $100 annually to pay for your domain name and have your website hosted. This will allow you to develop a website that is high-functioning.
Other aspects of internet marketing such as content marketing and social media marketing are free if you manage your own pages and develop your own content. Some of the email marketing platforms are also free for the first hundreds or first thousands of subscribers. This will afford you enough time to gain some revenue before you are required to pay for the service. There are free tools that can aid in keyword research such as Google Keyword Planner. Such a tool helps you optimize your searches for free.
While most services can be freely available on the internet, here are some recommendations where you can invest your resources for faster returns:
- You should hire a professional web designer so that you have a well-developed and outlined website with interactive content and is user-friendly. This will set you back a minimum of $1,500 but is a worthwhile investment.
- You should hire a copywriter to handle your site’s copy. This will also set you back around $500, which is also worthwhile.
- You should expand your reach using PPC advertising, which will cost you from as little as $10 to as much as $10,000. You have discretion to determine how much you are willing to spend.
Consider everything you invest on internet marketing a business expense that will help you when filing your taxes, in addition to generating new leads that will increase revenue.
So here we are!
Considering the above information, I bet you no longer consider internet marketing a complicated endeavour. It is necessary for your business regardless of its size as it helps, above all, to build your brand, attract new customers, and nurture existing relationships for the benefit of your business.