Basic Guide to Online Marketing
Online marketing is a strategy that helps the company/venture to build up a reputation and brand awareness online. Today, online marketing is an important part of succeeding in business.
Online marketing (also called internet marketing) is a marketing effort (strategy) that uses world-wide-web to promote the company, products and services. It is also used to generate sales leads and make direct sales via e-commerce. There are many different strategies, methods and online marketing tools used to support this effort.
The main goals are: a) to achieve company’s online presence, b) to make the company/venture easy to find by potential buyers on the internet, and c) to arrange sales and support mechanisms online.
Let’s talk about main elements needed for online marketing.
One of the most elementary components of any online business is a website. That is the place where you will present your business, and your products and/or services. People look all the time for the information, products and services that they are interested in. Therefore, your website/blog will increase your ability to reach your targeted audience, if done properly. I will talk about that later on this page.
So, development of a website/blog plays a crucial role in online marketing. Actually, it is essential for any business today to present itself with the website, even if the company/venture is not selling products online. The website should be your ID.
Creating a website today is very simple and cost effective. If you are beginner without funds to invest in development, and you are not familiar with HTML, there are few great CMS (Content Management System) platforms that you can use for free, like WordPress, Drupal, etc. Those platforms are user-friendly and you can learn very fast how to use them. You can find them on my Resource Page.
Hosting platforms for your website or blog, you can find also for free or very cheap, depend which option you choose. I explained it all in “Email Marketing - Place Where to Start” section, under “Register Domain Name and Hosting”.
NameCheap offers website solutions to fit any budget.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website or web page content to affect its visibility in a search engine’s results for desired keywords/keyword phrases. Here we are talking about natural or organic results (non-paid).
In other words, SEO is a group of techniques and tactics used to obtain a higher ranking on search engine results pages (SEPR) in order to increase the number of visitors to a website or web page.
Many people argue about the importance of SEO. Those who argue mostly rely on ads and direct email campaigns, because they use short-term strategies and they don’t need visitors from search engines. As I mentioned, SEO is for those who use long-term strategies. SEO is a very important part of online marketing and it will complement other traffic generation methods.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a form of online marketing (internet marketing) that uses SEO process to increase website’s visibility in a search engine’s results to do promotion, primarily through paid advertising.
It doesn’t matter how good your website/blog is, how much of quality content and expertise are built into it, if you can’t find “money” keywords, you will not succeed. That is according to SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
The goal is to get search engine (organic) traffic to your website/blog in the shortest possible time. To achieve that, focus on long tail keywords with low competition. Once you get visitors on your website/blog, it will motivate you for further actions. It’s a really rewarding experience to see first visitors coming to your site after long preparations and research you did.
Conducting keyword research takes time. Don’t rush it, be patient, don’t overlook anything, because keywords are the most essential element of your online marketing effort. Everything in your business will be built around keywords. That is if you are player on long runs.
To learn more, please visit “Keyword Research” guide.
Email marketing is an important part of online marketing strategies and online marketing campaigns. Email marketing is used, as a tool, to stay in touch with your audience. There are many different purposes for an email marketing campaign, and some of them are - a) to provide the audience with up to date news regarding niche market (new technologies, new techniques, etc.), b) to provide news about products and services, c) to provide an online course, d) to run sales campaigns, etc.
The news is usually delivered in the form of a newsletter on weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis, while online courses and sales campaigns might take place every day, or every second day. All depends on the type of the product or service you are promoting and your audience habits.
Please visit “Email Marketing - Place Where to Start” section for more in-depth information.
Social Media Networks
One of the most powerful online marketing tools are social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, etc. Those platforms provide you with the opportunity to spread awareness of your business and to engage directly with your audience.
You can also advertise on social networking platforms targeting the groups from your market niche. But one of the greatest potentials of social networks is word-of-mouth. When your audience liked the content from your social page(s) they will share that content within their own social networks. That will improve your reputation and you will get an increase in traffic.
However, if you decide to advertise on those networks, you need to be aware that the great majority of people are simply using social networks to hang out with their friends, play online games, share photos and engaging in entertainment and conversations.
Advertising systems on social networks are simple to use and they will cover any specific demographic you choose, so do some research prior to committing to that service so that you can narrow down the list of people who you want to see your advertising. This way you will save your money and your time. You are not interested in people that don’t show any interest in your niche and your products and/or services. Whenever you do single campaign, evaluate your results.
More about social networking you can find in section “Building Your Audience with Social Networks”.
Display Online Ads
After you created your website and presented your products and/or services, it’s time to think about traffic. Any online business isn’t going anywhere without higher volumes of traffic. There are many traffic generation methods available (see “Traffic Generation” guide), but here we are talking about online ads.
There are many free traffic generation methods, but it is hard to beat paid advertising. Among many, let’s here consider 2 paid methods that many recommend. The first method is for beginners with limited funds, and the other method is for those who have the financial resources to invest in order to bring traffic.
Ad Buys advertising method is the method where you buy advertising places on other people’s websites and place your banners. I use this method often for my other sites, because this is one of the best methods of getting targeted traffic to your website/blog. It takes some time to find an adequate website that suits your requirements, but it makes results if done properly.
You need to do some research on, so called, a marketplace, where all sites are listed that offers ad space for sale. I use BuySellAds company and all sites on the market place are categorized and traffic information about the sites is in clear view. I am explaining this in-depth in section “Boost Blog Traffic with Direct Ads”. Please visit.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising, sometimes called CPC (cost per click), works on the principle that advertisers pay the advertisement company only for clicks that are made on their ad and visitor landed on their web page. This advertising method is considered highly targeted because people are getting to see the ads actually by typing in keywords/keyword phrases in search engines that are relevant to your promotional subjects (products/services).
This form of advertising can bring a huge amount of targeted traffic to your website very quickly if you know what you are doing, but it can also dry up your financial resources without significant result if you don’t know what you are doing.
If you want to try this form of advertising you make sure that you take an excellent training course and that you have some starting budget for it. I have to warn you, if you are inexperienced, you might lose a great deal of money accomplishing nothing. In this arena, there is a fierce competition. This form of advertising is not for online beginners.
Affiliate marketing is performance based online marketing in which seller pays a commission fee to his affiliated promoter after the sale was made. In this form of online marketing seller does not use its own sales force or resources. All leads that have been made or all sales that have been made are made by affiliates’ own online marketing efforts. So, all online marketing activities necessary to bring the customer to the seller’s website or sales page are done by affiliates.
Commission percentages are not the same for physical and for digital products. Of course, digital products have a much higher commission percentages because they are less expensive to produce. Besides, digital products are mostly downloaded after the sale, while physical products need to be delivered on conventional way.
All of the biggest e-commerce websites in the world use affiliate marketing campaigns ever since mid 1990s. Years later it proves to be their major contributory factor in their success.
Whether you sell physical or digital products you should consider affiliate marketing as a form of promotion and online advertising. The great advantages of this method are that you pay affiliate commission only after the sale was made, and you don’t use any of your resources and efforts for that sale.
There are two main options to start an affiliate program. One is to create your own affiliate program and run it from your website, and the other is to join already established and well-known affiliate program and use their services. The first option is pretty complicated and costly if you are beginner, so I suggest another option.
There is one thing very important to mention now and that is the commission percentage that you will offer to your potential affiliates. Again, depending on what kind of products you are selling - physical or digital, but in either case, you need to do some research on what your competition offers to their affiliates. You need to offer a high enough commission to attract affiliates to work for you. Otherwise, they will go to your competition and promote them.
If you are planning to join an affiliate program, I have to point out that you have to be careful. Like many other online opportunities, affiliate programs are also used for cheating. You need to be sure that you join legitimate, well-known affiliate program. I wrote about this in “Affiliate Marketing Strategies” guide under “Be Aware of Scams” section. Please read that section.
I use a ShareASale affiliate platform and I can recommend this company. This platform is well-known, legitimate, well protected and gathers a huge number of affiliates.
On the other hand, if you don’t have your own products and you want to monetize your website/blog, you can use the same affiliate program platform ShareASale to become an affiliate for other companies. Either way, please visit “Affiliate Marketing Strategies” guide, and “Boost Blog Traffic with Direct Ads” post. Both will help you in your online efforts.
Online Marketing and Business Strategy
Marketing strategy takes into account not only online marketing, but also all functional aspects of a business that must be coordinated by management - development, production, finance and human resource planning, as well as research and development (R&D).
To survive and prosper, it is necessary to properly balance the company's resources with objectives and opportunities of the environment. To meet the challenges of domestic and international competition, it is necessary to recognize the vital role that online marketing function plays in the development and implementation of successful business strategy. Effective business strategy is responsive to market needs, it exploits the specific competencies of the organization, and it employs valid assumptions about environmental trends and competitive behavior. Above all, it must offer a realistic basis for securing and sustaining a competitive advantage.