Online marketing, also known as Internet marketing
or digital marketing, is the collective term for your marketing activities online. It’s the actions you and your customers take online that form your online presence.
Each organization has to determine what Internet marketing strategy is appropriate. Are you going to work to drive all users to your website? Are you going to use your website to drive users to your social media? Are you going to use your website for one target audience and your blog for segments? Are you going to use social media and your website to drive email sign-ups? There are endless options.
No matter your strategies, it’s important to set goals and measure success. If you don’t have measurable goals, how will you know if you’ve been successful?
Online Marketing Components
Often, your website is the central hub of your online marketing. You control 100% of the structure and content. Whether you sell products online or not, your site should “sell” your organization by displaying your services and benefits, and directing visitors into your sales funnel.
With tablets and smartphones accounting for more than half of Internet traffic, your site has to be optimized for these platforms. Ideally, a responsive website
should be developed to display optimally for any screen size automatically.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If customers can’t find you, they can’t get to know you. SEO drives organic traffic to your online presences through search engines. It’s not just your website that has to rank well—your blog, social media profiles, Google+ Local page, and other sites need to be on that first page.
For example, when you Google Far Reach, below is a screenshot of what you see—our website, Facebook page, directory listing, Twitter, and Google+ profile.
This is called SEO for branded keywords—optimizing your online presence for your organization’s name.
There is also non-branded keyword optimization, optimizing for key phrases that don’t have your name in them but would be searched by people looking for your services.
For example, we might optimize for “Internet marketing Cedar Falls” so our website shows up when users search that phrase.
A company blog is a great way to provide information to your customers as well as boost your SEO (learn how blogging improves SEO
). You can share organization news, news about your employees, tips and recommendations about your products/services, and more.
A blog is one way to generate organic, high-quality backlinks to your website. Great content will get shared, and search engines like that. Your blog must have a purpose: Is it to teach your customers? Is it to attain new customers? Is it to drive traffic to your website? Is it for public relations? Determine what your goals are, and what benefits it will provide the reader, and develop content accordingly.
Google Reviews, Yelp, Angie’s List—there are countless review websites out there. The reviews on these websites are part of your Internet marketing; do you know what people are saying?
You can’t control what customers are saying on these sites (and you definitely should NOT post fake positive reviews), but you can watch what they’re saying. Knowing what’s being said gives you the opportunity to rectify it, when necessary. If someone complains about a bad customer service experience, you can work to make it up to her. If there are negative trends, you can better understand what needs to be improved.
There are so many social networks, and new ones are being developed every day. You have to choose which networks benefit your organization and are worth the investment.
Depending on your industry and audience, you may choose to use popular networks like Facebook and Twitter, or you may be better off finding niche websites with a small, targeted audience.
Once you’ve chosen what networks to be on, it’s all about content. What information are you sharing? Does it benefit the users on that network, not just sell you? What is your content driving viewers to do?
In online marketing, advertising is when you pay for placement. For example, you don’t pay to have your website listed on Google, but you can pay to place Google ads.
Many stand-alone websites (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) make money off advertising. You pay to have your content reach more people.
Online advertising is highly targeted. You can target by keyword, geography, interest, online activity, and more. It allows you to reach your audience where they already are online.
Each site has its own types of ads—different formats, different specifications, different targeting options. Again, you have to find the site that works for reaching your audience.
If you’re going to do email marketing, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CAN-SPAM
Act. Follow the regulations set out in this act to ensure you’re not spamming.
You have to have email addresses to send to, right? The best place to start is existing customers. You’re allowed to send marketing messages to anyone who has done business with you.
If you don’t have existing customers, you’re starting from scratch. We don’t recommend purchasing pre-made lists—that’s asking to be caught for spam. Instead, we recommend adding a sign-up area to your website, driving your social media followers to the form, and providing quality content that people will share.
Online marketing is growing in availability and importance. If you aren’t comfortable jumping in on your own, let us know
and we’ll work with you to develop an integrated Internet marketing strategy to reach your customers.