Internet Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide To Web Marketing, SEO, Social Media And Mobile Marketing
In today’s economic customer, many companies are focusing on efforts that contribute to high ROI (return on investment). Departments with high overhead and marketing campaigns are being cut as managers tighten their belts. This emphasis on “low costs, high returns” can mean a shift in focus from traditional marketing and sales efforts (such as maintaining an army of reps in the field) and toward interactive marketing campaigns. By interactive marketing, I mean the collective group of newer “next generation” techniques, such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click or cost-per-click (PPC or CPC, respectively) advertising, email marketing email and newsletters, social media marketing and mobile marketing.
So why is this industry one of the few that is currently experiencing growth? It’s really simple: when done right, interactive marketing provides some of the lowest-cost, highest-performance returns. In general, this is due to a) the ability to precisely and accurately target the segments that will generate the most revenue and b) the immense amount of data that can be used to track, analyze and refine the campaign(s). . These two factors (combined with the relatively low overhead of running most of these campaigns) explain why the web marketing industry continues to grow.
But for people who have limited experience with these marketing techniques, choosing the right way to reach potential customers can be quite overwhelming. By forgoing research and strategy, many companies end up choosing tactics that won’t work because they simply don’t fit with the company’s objectives; in fact, sometimes people forget to even define these goals!
Below is a quick rundown of the biggest names in web, search and mobile marketing. Many companies apply them together, but the successful ones know what to expect from each campaign. If you’re just diving into the stormy seas of interactive marketing, read on for a brief overview and some examples of what each technique can achieve, if applied successfully.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is a comprehensive technique for moving a website “up” on the search engine results pages for certain queries or phrases. The vast majority of search users never get past the first page of results (usually 10 listings); For example, if Coca-Cola appears on the fourth page of results for the search “best soda” it would obviously limit your reach and visibility to potential customers. SEO work involves, among many other things, making a site both user-friendly and “search engine friendly.” With precaution! Some companies or people who offer SEO services often make guarantees or promises that seem too good to be true – choose wisely.
- Businesses seeking high visibility and credibility in the minds of potential customers
- Companies trying to gain long-term visibility, especially in a highly competitive market
- Companies interested in being seen as an authoritative source in their field or industry
- It can be implemented both on a national and regional scale.
2. Pay Per Click/Cost Per Click (PPC or cpc)
Pay-per-click advertising (also called “PPC” or cost-per-click “CPC”) is based on sponsored links to your site that typically appear next to “natural” or “organic” search results on search engines like Google . and Yahoo. These links can consist of just a few lines of text, or they can include images and even videos. Companies bid on which search queries they would like their ads to appear on, and are charged each time a user clicks on the ad and lands on their site, hence the name “pay per click.” However, this relatively simple bidding system can be very costly when inexperienced advertisers bid on the wrong keywords or don’t craft their ads correctly.
- Quickly gain visibility near the top of search engine results pages.
- Seasonal products or time sensitive campaigns where SEO may not be effective
- Just like SEO, you can target clients nationwide, down to an individual city.
- Often used in conjunction with SEO services to extend reach
3. Email marketing, ezine marketing
Email marketing and opt-in ezines boast some of the highest purchase rates among online shoppers. When customers make a purchase or visit your site and sign up for your company newsletter, you immediately have a very interested segment of potential customers. By leveraging graphic-rich messaging, dynamic content, and advanced segmentation tools, newsletters can deliver the right content to the right people. The best email management tools boast extremely high delivery rates and provide tremendous power and flexibility while remaining extremely easy to use.
- Businesses that want to attract customers and encourage repeat purchases
- Keep the “top of mind” on potential customers
- Companies that want brand consistency and close contact with subscribers
- Low cost, high performance, but building a subscriber list can take time, especially if there are no incentives to sign up.
4. Social Networks / Marketing in Social Networks
First, some numbers:
- MySpace has more than 200 million users, more than the population of Russia or Brazil
- It’s not just for college kids: Facebook’s fastest-growing demographic today is the 35-55 age group.
- An incredible 120,000 blogs are created every day.
As everyone knows, community-driven sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Digg have become very popular of late – these user-focused sites, and many others, are called “social media” or “social networks” and have become become an important part of maintaining a strong and cohesive brand identity on the Internet. Many companies tend to hire one person to create a Facebook page or LinkedIn account, but few understand the strategy or techniques behind running a successful social media campaign.
Most users of social networking sites are very internet savvy and can spot a sales pitch from a mile away, and thanks to the open, community-based format on most sites, they will allow you and Let everyone else know what you think about it. . Due to the personal aspect of social sites (it’s YOUR profile, YOUR friends and colleagues, and they’ve probably spent time and effort developing both of those), many users will resent what they see as a company trying to “profit”. in something that is so close to them. This is why so many businesses fail to build a popular and successful social media presence: they lack entertaining content, the one-on-one conversational element, or generally put too much pressure on people to buy. Not a used car lot, folks!
While it may take a while to see an impact on the bottom line, many businesses know that their current customers and millions of prospects use these sites; This is an invaluable, low-cost link to market research and customer feedback.
- Companies seeking to build and/or maintain their reputation on the Internet
- Help customers go from being simply users of your product to advocates (brand internalizes, becomes part of their lifestyle and personality)
- Maintain direct contact with current customers: This connection to the market provides research, ideas, opportunities and challenges.
- Attract new customers and followers of the brand.
- Businesses willing to invest the time to become part of a community by offering interesting, exciting, or usable content.
5. Mobile marketing, SMS/text messages
As the two worlds of desktop computing and mobile devices converge, businesses are tapping into consumers’ “need it now” cell phone and smartphone usage. SMS or text message campaigns can alert subscribers to sales or special offers, or provide reminders, news or other information sent directly to cell phones. Similar to social media marketing, companies can build brand identity with contests and games, or gather market data by letting subscribers vote for their favorite products. A strategic approach to this effort—spanning mobile site design, minisite design, mobile-friendly PPC advertising, and SMS campaign management—can ensure your customer base gets the right message and information.
- Attract customers through the use of easy-to-understand, informative or entertaining content
- Keep in touch with interested subscribers through an SMS or text campaign
- Promote ease of use to encourage purchases (IE, a grocery store offering a mobile site where users can shop, choose items, and then pick them up at the store)
- Companies that want to promote brand awareness, credibility and a close connection with customers.
6. Comparison Shopping Engines / Online Malls
This is usually a pay-per-click form, but it’s unique enough to justify its own number. Sites like pricegrabber.com, nextag.com or Yahoo! Shopping is often called shopping engines, online shopping malls, or price comparison sites. Usually these sites are not retailers, but aggregators; that is, they accept product listings from multiple retailers and direct visitors to those specific sites, typically charging retailers using a pay-per-click model. Different shopping engines target different product segments and demographics, so choosing the right ones can be difficult. Also, most sites require retailers to submit their product listings via a specialized template file, and of course, each site requires a different format! Search engine optimization tactics can also come into play here, so that your products rank well in each site’s internal search results.
- Established online retailers looking to expand their reach through a new point of sale
- Expand visibility using an existing site with a demographically similar customer base, and is already trusted by multiple repeat visitors
- Getting highly qualified traffic through product listings in extremely specific categories
This should give a broad-level overview of the different options available to newer tech-focused marketing efforts. And remember: decide your goals first, THEN implement the strategy!