With the ever growing reach of the internet, businesses of all types are shifting (or pretty much have shifted) from traditional marketing methods to online marketing. Why? Because where the attention of consumers go, the marketers eventually go as well, and is it now one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your target audience.
But what is online marketing actually about?
Well in the core, it is still about reaching your target market and audience, just through a different medium. However, from where I sit it basically boils down to keywords and content.
Keywords is a word, or groups of words (phrase), which you type into some form of search bar, whether it is in a search engine like Google or a social network like Facebook. Your search then returns a list of relevant and related results to your search terms… and off you go to finding whatever it is you want to find.
Content is the information your are trying to convey, and can be presented in words (long form like a blog, or short form like a Tweet), a picture (like on Instagram), a video (like on YouTube) or audio (via a podcast).
Wrap this All Up and You Get Online Marketing
Which is also known as internet marketing, and is the method of marketing (spreading the word about) your products, services or even your brand via the internet. It is using the internet to reach the people who want to hear your story, see what you are selling, and hopefully buy what you are selling.
Basically you can break online marketing down into three main sectors:
- Websites – accessed via search engines, via hyperlinks or directly via the website address (URL).
- Email – your digital mail box.
- Social Media Platforms – mostly via mobile phone apps, but a smaller percentage via website access on computers.
These can be further broken down into 7 distinct methods of online marketing. I’ll be going through and giving you an explanation about how each of these methods work, and how it can help you reach your target audience for your business.
You can use the linked menu below to navigate to the areas most relevant to you, or just continue reading through to get the whole picture.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Is the practice of optimizing your website’s posts, pages and content with the aim to have search engines, like Google, rank it high in their search results for a given keyword. This is the one of the top unpaid or free (a.k.a “organic”) methods for obtaining traffic to your website.
Write Content on a Specific Keyword ⇒ Optimize it for SEO ⇒ Get Organic Traffic through Search Engine Results
Imagine you own an online store selling tools for the D.I.Y person who likes to do home maintenance or renovations themselves. You then write an article on How to Install a Free-Hanging Shelf, you know the ones that stick out from the wall as if by magic!
People who are looking to install one of these shelves, then type “how to install a free hanging shelf” in Google, and if you got your SEO right, you are top hit! They click through (which is all free by the way), have a read of your article and then proceed to buy one of the recommended tools from your “recommended tools list”.
You got this sale all with a little of optimized content, no advertising dollars and some valuable content for the visitor. Sounds amazing doesn’t it!? Well it is, and it’s real, though along with most things, not always as easy as it sounds, because you can be sure you aren’t the only one who has written an article like that. You just have to beat the competition and do it better.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing is a paid method for appearing in search engine results. Unlike SEO, which takes time to build up trust with search engines, with SEM you can pay for top placement in search engines straight-away and are only really limited by budget.
Have a Product, Service or Website ⇒ Pay for Ads on Specific Keywords ⇒ Get Paid Traffic through Search Engine Results
The ads you pay for can appear in a number of places, but most commonly they appear at the top of the search results page, at the bottom, or on the right-hand side. Ads are again triggered by keywords, and the amount you pay varies greatly for the keyword (or number of keywords) your ads show up for, and how many other people are also paying for the same keyword (competition).
Remember the tool you sold using SEO in the example above? Well imagine this tool was a hammer drill and you decide to pay for ads when people search “best hammer drill”. Your paid ads should show up in a relevant search, and when someone clicks on the ad, you have to pay Google, or whatever search engine the ad is in, a small fee. Hopefully, the visitor then goes on to buy the product from you, but this isn’t always the case and conversion rates can be quite low.
It is a great method for targeting exactly what people are looking for or looking to buy, however you do need make more revenue from conversions, than the cost of the advertising itself, in order to be profitable. This is unlike SEO, which costs you next to nothing, basically only the price you pay for your domain and website hosting.
A quick side note: It is wise to avoid SEM in the initial stages of building your website and business. You need to first focus on building your brand, your audience and your content, otherwise you may waste your marketing dollars on paid advertising that is fruitless without a solid website and offering.
But! Once you have a solid offering, SEM can be very cost-effective, especially if you are drawing in revenue that is 5 to 10 times more than you ad spending. These numbers are not unheard-of!
Affiliate marketing is the method by which you talk about someone else’s product, service or website and refer your visitors and customers to them. If they then go on to visit the website and buy that product or service, that person or company then provides you with a small commission or other form of compensation for promoting them.
Recommend a Product, Service or Website ⇒ Your Visitor Clicks through to the Website ⇒ Visitor Buys ⇒ You Get Referral Compensation
One of the most common examples of affiliate marketing that you have probably heard of, is people monetizing their popular blogs about travel, fashion or photography. On this blog the person talks about everything relating to their specific passion, they then recommend certain products and a percentage of their visitors go through to buy that product. The blogger then gets a cut of the revenue from the company that actually sold the product to the customer.
Sounds awesome right! Passive income at its best, however be wary that a lot of up front work is needed to be done in order to achieve this. Why? Because it is about building engagement with your audience through providing valuable content, and this engagement takes time and trust. Simply spamming your audience to buy this or buy that doesn’t get many results!
You can learn more about affiliate marketing and how it works in another post.
Content marketing, which is also known as inbound marketing is all about creating valuable (and free) content for customers to your business. It is most often done by setting up a blog for your business, where you provide valuable supportive content for the products or services your sell or for the industry you are in.
Provide Helpful Content ⇒ Customers Use it and it Builds Their Trust with You ⇒ They May Go on to Purchase from You, or if Already Purchased, Become a Loyal Customer
The supportive content can be how to’s, setup guides, installation videos, or talking about up and coming things in the industry, just to name a few. The key here is that the content is there to help existing and potential future customers with timely and relevant advice, and therefore, can be both pre-purchase or post-purchase help.
Canva do this well with their Design School, which is effectively their blog for helping existing and potential customers become better graphic designers. They pump out a massive amount of free content, about everything relating to graphic design, this engages people, helps them, builds their trust and then they end up signing-up. But if they don’t, that’s cool, because Canva just helped make the world a better place, and this person may spread the word to another, and he or she may sign-up. You just never know!
In the end, you got to know what you are talking about and what your customer needs help with! And you got to give more than you take… Help, don’t sell!
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
Pay-Per-Click is like a specific form of SEM, however has its own category as it also exists outside of search engines in social media platforms. This form of marketing is exactly as it sounds. You pay for each click on your advertisement.
Create an Ad ⇒ Target a Keyword or Audience ⇒ Your Ad is Displayed ⇒ People Click, You Get Charged
In search engines, Google Adwords is the most popular PPC platform where you ‘bid’ for keywords against other people (like in an auction), and then Google chooses to display your ads depending on the amount you bid and how relevant you ad is to the search terms and person.
In social media platforms, Facebook Ads is an effective way to reach you target audience. You can create an ad or boost a post to a very targeted group of people… for example young males, between 25 and 30, living in New York city, who like or have shown interest in hair products, and have a job in the real estate industry. These ads then show up in the feed of the target group, just like a post or status update, and you pay for each time it shows up or is clicked until your budget runs out for that campaign.
PPC can be a very cost-effective way to show relevant ads to your target audience at the top of search engine results and right from within their social media feed. How convenient is that! But make sure it is relevant, valuable and not spammy, otherwise people will just ignore it!
This is probably still one of the most popular methods of online marketing, but is losing some traction due to the ever-increasing amount of information to your inbox, and therefore the reduction in attention. As you guessed it, you sign-up or submit your email to a website, or even a physical form at a shop, which means you then give the business permission to send you emails about their products and services.
People Provide Their Email Address ⇒ You Send Them Relevant Emails ⇒ They Find Your Content Useful, Then Visit Your Website and Buy
Most people are getting way too much irrelevant spam direct to their inbox nowadays, which is both an abuse of the system and a lack of understanding of what the target audience wants. As a result, it is critical that your email marketing campaigns are well planned and targeted. People are busy and will ignore anything that doesn’t stand out or is relevant.
This isn’t to say email marketing isn’t still one of the most effective methods! If done right, your subscriber list can grow to enormous levels and be the main source of referrals to your website, products or services. It is a form of permission marketing, which means you have permission to directly communicate what you promised you’d communicate to your audience. Keep your promise, don’t abuse it, help more then you sell and you can have loyal subscribers for life!
Social Media Marketing
This is the big one! And it probably the future of the internet, at least on your mobile phones, which is already the dominant tool for engaging with online content. To people, social media platforms, or rather apps, on their phones is entertaining and massively convenient.
Imagine you can have a feed or continual roll of all the things and people that interest you the most? You can! Its called social media and there are many platforms out there, some better than others of course. To name a few, we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and Snapchat.
Setup Your Social Media Profile ⇒ Post Content Regularly that is Relevant and Valuable ⇒ Gain Followers and Engagement with Your Posts ⇒ Get Additional Traffic to Your Website or Exposure of Your Products or Services
The important part of using social media is ensuring that the content you produce is right for the platform that you are posting it in. The best content is presented in a way that is native to that platform and matches how people expect to see it. This is what brought them there in the first place, and if it isn’t presented correctly it will just be ignored.
Pinterest is all about sharp high quality pictures and infographics about things that inspire people. Instagram is about visually engaging, authentic and artistic type images, and Facebook is about telling stories about the things that interest people.
Change your story and the way you present it for each platform, build your brand on the platforms where your target audience resides, and be amazed at the reach and impact you can make!
Final Thoughts – Online Marketing is Where Your Business Needs to Be
As you can see the reach of online marketing is far, wide and deep all at the same time, harnessing the power of the internet. This is where everyone’s attention is going, this is probably where your target audience’s attention already is, and as a result, this is where you need to be!
Each category of online marketing presents a different way that you can attract customers, build a brand and ultimately earn money by helping people. All online businesses should use most of these channels, or focus very heavily on a select few, and most physical businesses need to make the move to stay relevant, or can benefit through extending their reach.
If you are in business (online or physical) and would like to learn more about online marketing, specifically in the areas of SEO, affiliate marketing and content marketing. Then the Wealthy Affiliate platform is a great place to learn and engage with a community of online entrepreneurs succeeding in these areas.
If you would like to really understand how to use social media right, then Gary Vaynerchuk is your man. He is across many social media platforms with millions of followers, is the CEO of a large media company and grew his family wine shop from a $4M to $45M business in five years using social media as one of his main tools.
I hope you found this breakdown useful!
Are you ready to get into online marketing!? Yes! Then get pumped, get inspired and let’s create an online presence!
There is no Motivator better than Progress, and there is no progress without Action – Tweet This
Let’s Do This!
Ask me any questions you might have about the different types of internet marketing. I can help point you in the right direction if you are looking for more information!
Continue learning about the online world through my guide on online business or more about business in general through my book recommendations. However, if you are looking for a complete internet business training package, be sure to check out this post.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on which type of online marketing is best? Drop me a message in the comments below!
Hey guys! I have a strong passion for online business and enjoy helping people escape the 9-5 office, by creating online businesses. I want to help people build a source of income that is separate from their time, allowing them to pursue their dreams and passions. Together we can focus on designing a life we don't need to escape from! If you ever need any help or have questions, I'm here, just give me a shout anytime!