With the rise of internet connectivity, social media and smart devices, internet marketing is now one of the primary elements of a successful business marketing strategy. Whether you’re targeting a global audience or simply people within your local community, using the web is an efficient and cost effective platform to do so.
Of course in 2016 most business owners will be aware of this, but applying it to your day to day operation is not as straight forward as it might seem.
So you have a website, but how do you get people to visit it? You’ve been posting away on Twitter, but how do you keep your followers engaged? You have a budget to pay for online advertising, but how do you get the ads up and running?
If you’ve asked some of these questions and others, then you may want to keep reading. Internet marketing can be broken up in to 5 key elements, which combined with the help of a professional internet marketing company, will ensure you’ll reach the audience you desire.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you want your website to show up in search engines like Google when people search for terms related to your business, then you’re going to have to speak its language. SEO is a combination of different webpage tweaks and principals that help Google interpret the content and rank it against all of the other websites with similar content. Traffic sent by search engines is known as “organic” and is one of the most valuable sources of traffic you can get. Why? Because if done correctly it means the user is actively seeking the information or product that you provide. This means an increase in sales!
To be ranked well in search engines you need high quality and informative content, coded with all of the appropriate tags, as well as backlinks from other sites so Google knows that others also value the content.
This is very much the lifeblood of most websites. If you aren’t getting hits from Google, the website is essentially useless at generating customers.
A professional internet marketing company can help you apply the basic principals and formulate a long term strategy for bringing in consistent organic search traffic.
Search Engine Marketing (PPC)
PPC is short for Pay Per Click, which is a commercial form of advertising that runs alongside the organic search results. While SEO can take time to bring success (though when it does it is usually recurring), PPC can bring instant success because there is no crawling and ranking of your pages. Your ad is live almost right away, regardless of whether Google’s algorithm thinks it is a great page or not at the time.
You are charged for every click that the ad generates, and ads are based on the search terms you bid on. So if you’re selling phone cases you may choose the search term “buy smart phone case” and whenever somebody searches this term and they click your ad beside the regular results you will pay a fee. This is determined by your own budget, though if many other marketers are paying for the same term, the cost will be higher. You’ll need to ensure that your ad is genuine and engaging, so that you can make a profit.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Conversion Rate Optimization can relate to PPC or any form of internet marketing in general. The conversion rate is the percentage of people that click on your link or ad that actually buy a product or complete the desired action you want them to (sign up to your site, use your service, redeem a coupon etc).
Optimization is the process of getting this rate as close to 100% as possible. With ads you pay directly for like PPC it is clear why you would want high conversion rate. What’s great about platforms like Google AdWords is that you can easily track ads that are the most successful so you can refine the process. For example you may notice a high conversion rate for “buy smart phone cases” but not “buy cell phone covers” so you may choose to drop it altogether or change the wording of the ad.
This can be a very experimental process, however monitoring the data will allow you to learn what’s working over time. Internet marketers from an expert team will have the experience to keep things running smoothly.
Email Marketing was one of the first forms of internet marketing and is still one that brings results today. However because it has been heavily abused over the years by spammers and scammers, you should never just buy a list of email addresses or find them yourself by Googling. In most cases paid for lists are out of date or even fake, and most email clients will now recognize unsolicited spam and send it directly to the spam folder.
Email marketing should be a secondary process where you can follow up with an existing customer. If they sign up to buy something encourage them “opt in” with their email address. Or you can promote a “newsletter” through your site as well.
Following this route allows you to build a list of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, which in turn makes email blasts with offers and other information that much more worthwhile and successful.
There are many professional tools available to manage email lists and newsletter/marketing content.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
When internet users are not actively searching for information on search engines or checking emails, they’re probably on social media chatting with friends or following pages and people related to their interests. While they might not be in “buy mode”, this is still a prime place to remind them of your existence and build brand awareness. Think of it as a more efficient form of the roadside billboard or shop window notice, with the ability for the information to be shared to thousands of people in minutes.
From a straight shooting product launch announcement, to a quirky take on something in the news, to handling customer feedback – social media allows you to stay connected with your audience, building trust over time.
There’s no one single method for approaching social media and each platform is different, so it’s important to learn the ins and outs of each one.