Internet Marketing is a broad term. To help you get oriented, below are some of the most popular and important fundamental information businesses need to know.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing (SEM) is any marketing effort designed to help users find you through search platforms like Google. Search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search platforms like Google AdWords both are considered crucial—but separate parts—of SEM.
SEO is free. With SEO, you’ll create a website that’s designed to rank well in search engines, helping people find you organically. To rank well organically, you’ll need to do extensive keyword research and knowing how to write great content that is focused on those keywords.
SEO will also require you to learn about techniques like link building, which can help your site move up in the rankings, too. While you’ll want to check in on your keywords every so often to make sure your site’s SEO health is in good function, the SEO of your basic site doesn’t require ongoing maintenance unlike other marketing platforms.
Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC)
PPC marketing is paid advertising where marketers create an ad, bid to have it shown to their target audience, and then pay for results. Depending on the platform and what they choose to optimize for, they may pay for clicks, conversions, actions taken, or impressions.
PPC marketing comes in either two forms: search ads or display ads.
Search ads allow you to show text ads to users who are actively searching for the keywords you’ve targeted. If they’re searching for “purple checkered pants” and you’re running an ad campaign to sell some, they’ll be shown your ad at the top of their search results.
Google AdWords and Bing Ads are the two most common PPC search ad platforms. They allow you to connect to users who are actively looking for your product and are at a high intent of purchasing.
All other ad types are display ads, including Facebook and Instagram Ads, Google AdSense, Promoted Pins, Quora Ads, and LinkedIn Ads.
Display ads let proactively show your ads to users while they’re browsing the web. Your ad could show up on their Facebook feed, for example, or on the news page they’re reading. They give you the advantage of introducing customer to your product even if they aren’t looking.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing includes both organic marketing and paid advertising through a social media platform’s native PPC ad programs. The main goals of social media marketing campaigns are often to build brand awareness and nurture relationships with customers, keeping your brand at the forefront of your mind.
The most popular social media platform for marketing is Facebook, where you can create thorough Pages with a lot of information about your business. Even with the latest algorithm change that is causing a big drop in organic reach, it’s still likely the most important social media site for business to be on.
Other big players are Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, though there’s also Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Periscope and so many more.
You can have business profiles on as many social media platforms as you’d like, but it’s good to start small and scale up unless you’re hiring someone to manage your social media for you. Pick one or two platforms that you believe will be most beneficial to you and that your audience is most active on, and start there.
Email marketing is the practice of nurturing leads and driving sales through email communications with your customers. Like social media, the goal is to remind users that you’re here and your product is waiting. Unlike social media, however, you can be a lot more aggressive with your sales techniques, as people expect that email marketing will contain offers, product announcements and calls to action.
You’ll want to capture users’ emails regularly, both when they purchase…and even before they become a customer. You can use lead magnets or discounts to incentivize email sign-ups and using an email management service like MailChimp allows you to create triggered autoresponders that will automatically send out pre-made welcome email campaigns when they subscribe.
Content marketing is the use of content that’s published online to draw in leads and establishing trust by offering value. It may involve the creation of:
Blog posts published on your site, Guest posts that you write for other sites, linking back to yours, Lead magnets like ebooks, white papers, or case studies designed to capture lead information, Infographics or videos that can be shared on various social channels.
Content marketing must be executed with goals in mind and it should be used in conjunction with search engine optimization. You should also plan on creating content regularly, or this marketing avenue loses most of its momentum quickly.
Online networking, when executed correctly, allows you to build valuable relationships in online forums and groups that can help you advance your business.
You could meet peers and fellow experts with whom you could collaborate or partner up with for a project, or you could provide value to your target audience by sharing your knowledge and winning over some customers as a result. No matter what, though, the goal with this type of marketing is purely relationship building and not selling outright.
Some of the best places to look for online communities that are relevant to your business include: Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, Industry forums, and Question and Answer forums like Quora.
Where Should I Start?
To get started with internet marketing, the first thing you need to do is to put together a strong, well-designed website. In many cases, hiring an expert to do this is a good way to go, as they’ll be able to create a site that has motivating copy and intuitive navigation designed to get customers to convert.
While your site is being built and the copy is being written, do extensive keyword research. You can use our guide here to see how to do this. The keywords you’re choosing will be vital to helping you rank well in search engines, so crafting a good keyword strategy is a fundamental part of your internet marketing approach.
As people start coming to your site, have an email capture form clearly visible. You should have a welcome-series autoresponder ready so you can start to build relationships with them.
After your site has been built out, creating a social media presence is the best second step for most businesses.
All businesses should have a Facebook Page that’s fully fleshed out with plenty of information about your business. Depending on your audience, you can also start a Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest account. Social media is a long-term commitment that requires frequently updating and monitoring, but it’s one of the best ways to build an online community around your business.
After your social media accounts are established, you can then branch out into other internet marketing options. PPC marketing, either on social media ads or search ads. This can help you extend your reach quickly and efficiently and content marketing is a good way to showcase your expertise.
How Do I Measure Internet Marketing Results?
There are free tools that you can use to track the effectiveness of your internet marketing, no matter which platforms you choose. These include:
Google Analytics, which helps you track what channels are sending your site traffic, who is visiting your site, how they’re interacting with it, and what’s encouraging them to convert. You sync it to your site with simple tags and it’s an invaluable source of information all sites should have.
Native on-platform analytics, including Facebook’s Insights, Twitter’s Analytics, and Instagram’s Insights. These platforms can help you evaluate your on-platform metrics such as likes, shares, retweets, comments, and direct messages. With this information, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your community-building efforts and your audience’s interest in your content.