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 a high ROI (return on investment). High overhead departments and marketing campaigns are shrinking as managers tighten their belts. This emphasis on “low costs, high returns” may mean a shift in focus from traditional sales and marketing 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 and newsletters, social media marketing, and mobile marketing.
So why is this industry one of the few that is currently experiencing growth? It’s actually simple: when done right, interactive marketing provides some of the lowest cost, highest return returns. In general, this is due to a) the ability to accurately and precisely 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 campaigns. These two factors (combined with the relatively low overhead of running most of these campaigns) are why the web marketing industry continues to grow.
But for people who have limited experience with these marketing techniques, choosing the right avenue to reach potential customers can be quite overwhelming. By forgoing research and strategy, many companies end up choosing tactics that don’t work because they simply don’t fit the company’s goals; in fact, sometimes people forget to even define these goals!
Here’s 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’ve just launched into the stormy seas of interactive marketing, read on – you’ll get a brief overview and some examples of what you can accomplish with each technique, if applied successfully.
1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is a comprehensive technique for moving a website “up” in search engine results pages for specific queries or phrases. The vast majority of search users never go beyond 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 its 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 individuals offering SEO services often offer guarantees or promises that seem too good to be true – choose wisely.
- Companies looking for 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 “CPC” for cost per click) is based on sponsored links to your site that generally appear alongside “natural” or “organic” search results in search engines. like google. and Yahoo. These links can consist of a few lines of text or they can include images and even videos. Businesses bid on the 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 build their ads correctly.
- Quickly gain visibility near the top of search engine results pages.
- Seasonal products or urgent campaigns where SEO may not be effective
- Like SEO, you can target clients nationwide, down to an individual city.
- It is often used in conjunction with SEO services to broaden the reach.
3. Email marketing, e-newsletter marketing
Email marketing and opt-in ezines have 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 highly interested potential customer segment. By leveraging graphic-rich messages, dynamic content, and advanced targeting tools, newsletters can deliver the right content to the right people. The best email management tools boast extremely high delivery rates and provide a great deal of power and flexibility while still being extremely easy to use.
- Companies that want to engage customers and encourage repeat purchases.
- Maintain “priority” on potential customers
- Companies looking for brand consistency and close contact with subscribers.
- Low cost, high returns, but building a subscriber list can take time, especially if there are no incentives to sign up.
4. Social media / social media marketing
First, some numbers:
- MySpace has more than 200 million users, more than the population of Russia or Brazil.
- It is not just for college students; Currently, Facebook’s fastest growing demographic is the 35-55 age group.
- 120,000 blogs are created per day.
As everyone knows, community-driven sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Digg have become very popular lately. These user-centric sites, and many others, are called “social media” or “social media,” and they have become an important part of maintaining a strong and cohesive brand identity on the Internet. Many companies tend to hire someone 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 media 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 let you already everyone else know what they think about it. . Due to the personal aspect of social sites (it’s YOUR profile, YOUR friends and colleagues, and they’ve probably put in the time and effort to develop those two things), many users will be annoyed by what they see as a company trying to “profit” on something that is so close to them. This is why so many companies fail to build a popular and successful social media presence: they lack the entertaining content, the one-on-one conversational element, or they just put too much pressure on people to buy. Not a used car lot, folks!
While it may take time to see an impact on the bottom line, many companies know that their current customers and millions of prospects use these sites; This is an invaluable, inexpensive link for market research and customer feedback.
- Companies looking to build and / or maintain their reputation on the Internet.
- Help clients go from being a simple user of your product to an advocate (the brand is internalized, it 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 brand followers
- Companies willing to spend time being part of a community by offering interesting, exciting or usable content.
5. Mobile marketing, SMS / text message marketing
As the two worlds of desktop computing and mobile devices converge, companies are taking advantage of the “now-needed” consumer use of cell phones and smartphones. SMS or text message campaigns can alert subscribers to special offers or offers, or provide reminders, news, or other information sent directly to cell phones. Like social media marketing, companies can create a brand identity with contests and games, or collect market data by allowing subscribers to vote on their favorite products. A strategic approach to this effort – encompassing mobile site design, mini-site design, mobile optimized PPC advertising, and SMS campaign management – can ensure that your customer base receives the right information and message.
- Engage customers by using easily digestible, informative, or entertaining content
- Keep in touch with interested subscribers through an SMS or text campaign.
- Promote ease of use to encourage shopping (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 close connection with customers.
6. Comparison of shopping engines / online shopping centers
This is usually a pay-per-click form, but it is unique enough to guarantee its own number. Sites like pricegrabber.com, nextag.com, or Yahoo! Purchases are often referred to as shopping engines, online shopping malls, or price comparison sites. These sites are typically not retailers, but aggregators, that is, they accept product listings from multiple retailers and direct visitors to those specific sites, usually 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 through a specialized template file, and of course each site requires a different format! Search engine optimization tactics can also come into play here, so your products rank high in each site’s internal search results.
- Established online retailers looking to expand their reach through a new point of sale
- Expand visibility by using an existing site with a demographically similar customer base, and already trusted by multiple repeat visitors.
- Get highly qualified traffic through product listings in extremely specific categories.
This should provide a broad-level overview of the different options available for newer, technology-focused marketing efforts. And remember: first decide your goals, THEN implement the strategy.