Internet Marketing Explained

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Most smart marketers and business owners today know that the internet is the place to be. It offers a platform from which to market your business to the world – literally.

But mention internet marketing to many people and you’re met with blank stares. There seems to be so many different forms of marketing, most with baffling names and what’s more…you have to use a computer!

But if you are willing to spend a bit of time getting to know your way around the internet, it can be very rewarding. I began my freelance copywriting business 3 years ago and have done all my marketing online. Now, all my clients come to me through my website (or via referrals) – no costly adverts and no cold calling.

So how do you get started? What are the key aspects of internet marketing?

The how and why of internet marketing

1. Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine optimisation (or SEO for short) is something just about everyone has heard of, but very few understand.

Basically, when you make a search in Google, SEO will determine what results are returned and the order in which they appear. But SEO is changing (and that’s not including Google’s constantly changing algorithm that determine where your website appears in the search results). You may have noticed in searches that now Google also lists videos, images and even Tweets. This opens up new possibilities for internet marketing with more businesses setting up YouTube channels.

SEO is really the way to go for most businesses but it isn’t fast. You have to identify your keywords, produce excellent content that utilises these keywords, work on your site structure and infrastructure to make it SEO friendly. And then you have to build high quality one way links into your site.

It’s not a quick fix and it is a constantly ongoing job but it is ideal for businesses with a limited budget. Plus, the potential ROI is staggering.

2. Pay Per Click

Pay per click (PPC) is basically paid advertising on Google (and the other search engines). When you look at a page of search engine results, the PPC adverts are the top highlighted results and the list that appears down the right hand side.

The main advantage of PPC is that it’s fast. Once you’ve set your advert up it will begin to appear in the results. But, it can be very money hungry. PPC basically works on a bidding system whereby you compete with a number of other businesses all bidding for keywords. The higher the price you pay, the more prominent your advert. That is quite a simplistic way of looking at it as the actual price you pay is also determined by the number of click-throughs you get.

But, at the end of the day, if you don’t have deep pockets PPC probably isn’t for you – certainly not in the long term.

3. Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the best ways to market online. Sending out information and offers to your own in-house list is the perfect way to market to your customers.

So long as you give information as well as just sell, your recipients will be happy.

It is one of the cheapest forms of marketing and it’s so fast. But just be careful you don’t send out unsolicited emails – they are probably not going to be welcomed. The last thing you want is for your business to be labelled as a spammer.

4. Social media

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay (for the foreseeable future anyway). It can be done cheaply and easily and, if you have a strategy in place, it won’t eat into your time.

But, social media calls for a completely different way of selling. Basically you sell without selling – let me explain. Social media is about building relationships. You have to chat and engage with people; give them information that is useful. Then, occasionally you can add in a sales message.

The main thing to remember is to start a conversation, listen to your followers/readers, answer their questions and give advice and, maybe, in the long run they will turn into clients.

Twitter, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon…there are many different forms of social media you can use. But remember, they are called ‘social’ for a reason.

5. Banner ads

Love them or loath them, they exist and are used by many businesses. They may not always give the best ROI and not easily measurable, but they might work for you so don’t immediately discount them.

6. Your website

Whichever route you decide to go down for your internet marketing plan, one thing you can’t overlook is your website.

What’s the point of driving traffic to your site if it isn’t going to convert into sales when it gets there?

The copy on your website has to be conversational, customer orientated and benefits driven. If you manage that, it will engage with your reader and help convert them into a buying customer.

Why am I telling you this?

Internet marketing is a term that is thrown around without many people really understanding what it involves.

If your campaign is going to be successful it will need a combination of the above – which ones you use depends on your business and what you are looking to achieve.

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Peter on 09.07.10 at 1:08 pm

great article….explained every thing about internet marketing….ya for a good internet marketing, all should go together…thanks for sharing…

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