Digital or online marketing can be defined as the ensemble of profit-oriented practices conducted via the Internet, including any other indirect activity to promote them. Yes, our definition is somewhat sloppy for a precise reason: it is evident that nowadays, the term online marketing encompasses multiple facets. We are not only talking about the massive advertisement efforts of a small bunch of ‘pro’ companies anymore.
Forget also the older times when officially qualified marketers and web designers used to have a monopoly on digital strategies. Today, anyone can have a piece of the opportunity cake. To pick only one example, think about all those influencers, also known as housewives or househusbands, who make a tremendous amount of money simply by promoting shampoos and conditioners on their social media channel, in the comfort of their bathroom. You can be sure that most of them don’t have any diploma in marketing.
Does this mean that web marketing can be carried out in total randomness? Well, not exactly. There are some basic rules and directions that you will have to follow, namely a roadmap to success. Let’s explore them in the next paragraphs.
Prioritize Future Partnerships
Even though it may sound obvious, we still need to emphasize the importance of your audience. Indeed, online marketing is not a one-man show. Your undertakings will (and should) be aimed at creating lasting and profitable relationships. To be more exact, the process is about building a coherent network and getting to know the specific features of each component included in it. By component, we are mostly referring to:
- Various business partners
Identify Your Prospects
A raw goldmine that needs to be explored, so to speak. Any individual and/or company who is likely to have some affinity with your products and/or services can be labeled as a prospect. That is, a potential customer deserving your attention and efforts. As a side note, prospects are often confused with leads, a group that we have chosen not to include in our list simply because prospects are former leads. Or in other words, prospects are leads who are already somewhat aware of your business and have most likely come into contact with you by answering at least one of your emails, liking your posts, or clicking your links. Now you have to take it to the next level.
Also, remember that your prospect-tracking tools will be slightly different depending on whether your Internet marketing type is B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer). You would better use ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) in the former case, whereas buyer personas are more appropriate for the latter.
Cherish Your Customers
No matter if this sounds too romantic. You do need to nurture your relationship with your actual customers on a regular basis. Their loyalty should never be taken for granted, especially in nowadays market, which keeps offering new alternatives constantly. Try to understand why your customers have chosen you so far, and please do it beyond a simple ‘because we are the best mindset.
Pay attention to their feedback, suggestions, and complaints. Stay in touch (without harassing them, though) and investigate any possible new needs and/or preferences. Almost needless to say that you should also avoid a ‘selling at all costs’ mentality: so spoil your customers from time to time with special offers or even symbolic birthday gifts to reward them for their loyalty.
Develop Business Partnerships
Like The Blues Brothers used to say, ‘everybody needs somebody.’ You are surely not the only one who is marketing online, and we are not only referring to your competitors here. Any entrepreneur needs to collaborate with others at some point, no matter what kind of niche one is involved in.
Let’s suppose that you are selling online some plants cultivated in your backyard. Even though the example seems like a solo experience at first glance, you will most probably need to get in touch at least with – say – a pouch seller. Simply because you will need a container to put in your products before sending them, right? Plus, various business partners can help you with your promotional activities, for example, through backlink agreements. This means that they can redirect potential customers to your website by hosting links related to your business.
Display Your Quality Through Content Marketing
So we are continuing with basic marketing strategies. But wait, content marketing is actually much more than that, namely a whole marketing technique (or set of techniques) on its own. One sure thing is that content is all about reflecting the spirit of your business and thus make yourself visible to the audiences. There are various available instruments that can help you:
- Content hubs
When done in the right way, content marketing can be a great support for ROI (Return on Investment). The cheering part is that nowadays, you can hire the services of other experts to assist your work, such as content writers or designers (collaboration, remember?). Either way, the golden rules are always the same: being mindful of the quality, posting consistently (without harassing, spamming, nor becoming too repetitive though), adopting a professional yet friendly tone (your customers should feel comfortable with you), keeping an eye on the unsubscribe rates to detect the aspects that you have to improve.
Also, please don’t forget to nurture the ecosystem instead of performing a simple monologue. What this means is that you can’t simply create your content and then disappear. You have to engage an audience, ensuring that it becomes involved one way or another. Email marketing is one of the most obviously effective methods to build an email list. Adding a sign-up feature to your website is also another way to create more sustainable relationships with your followers and clientele. The same goes for various types of call-to-action (CTA): those are indeed a must when it comes to generating immediate responses from the audience.
Tracking the Results Through Specific Metrics
Once you have established a compelling content marketing strategy, you will also have to track the actual results through specific metrics.
Time needed: 1 hour.
The main ones can be listed as follows:
- Engagement indicators
These go beyond a simple engagement rate calculation. Here are the indicators that you should take into account: number of pages viewed within a certain period, number of pages viewed per visit, duration of visits, number of recurrent visitors, bounce rate.
- Conversions and potential interest
It’s important to check how many conversions your content generates. That is the number of sales and other profitable transactions. There are also more indirect clues, such as new leads and other actors on the market who show interest in your products by following your, signing up on your website, or sending you inquiries.
- Level of virality
This part is about determining the overall impact of your content and seeing ‘how far it goes, so to speak. Social media is one of the most efficient vehicles for content dissemination. It is not only about you: having people sharing, reposting, or retweeting your online material is also important. One-time visitors are another element to take into account while measuring your virality.
- Cost and profit
Obviously, since we are talking about marketing here. The type of evaluation for this topic will depend on the type of your investment, side-costs, and many other factors. However, one sure thing is that you will have to check how much you spend and how much you earn within a specific period. Not only that: you also need to observe if your revenue is more than a simple depreciation, as well as the percentage of long-term consumers.
Stay Connected With Social Media Marketing
We have already briefly mentioned it in the previous sections. There is no doubt that social media marketing is one of the standard-bearers of online marketing. An ingenious use of it can do wonders for your business. In fact, most of what we have said so far in this article also applies to social media criteria aimed at success. Let’s add, though, that you should choose a channel (or preferably more than one) that would best suit your professional style.
Some content may look better on Twitter, whereas others can require a TikTok video or Instagram Live. So try to study carefully what kind of advantages each of the available platforms is likely to provide. There are many specific and in-depth guides on the web for each alternative. You may also use social media management tools in order to plan and automate some of your tasks on the platforms.
Create Solidarity Through Affiliate Marketing
Once again: ‘everybody needs somebody,’ and affiliate marketing is one of the options that illustrate it most noticeably. Furthermore, it’s the kind of online marketing that requires less effort than many other paths. No matter if you are lazy or reluctant to launch a big project: affiliate marketing is precisely an easier yet profitable path to go for. A basic definition of it would be the process through which an individual or company promotes another individual’s or company’s goods and earns a commission in return.
Most of the time, this agreement between the seller/creator and the affiliate/publisher is set up via an affiliate program. We strongly recommend you to look for one of those available on the market. As for the commissions, there are different possibilities: PPC (pay-per-click) and PPS (pay-per-sale) are among those. Aside from the passive income, the other main advantages of affiliate marketing are:
- Possibility to work as a freelancer with flexible schedules
- Being exempt from customer service duties
- Getting paid for actual performance
Be Meticulous With Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Here’s another topic of interest in online marketing. To be honest, it’s also one that requires familiarizing with some finer details. But wait, we should probably start by differentiating it from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) since the terms are often confused with each other.
SEO is a complex practice that focuses mostly on generating organic traffic. It includes several methods, such as keyword research and page optimization, to increase visibility on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Actually, there is a multitude of aspects involved, depending on which type of SEO one is talking about. Let’s simplify by saying that basically, on-page SEO is about keywords and content, off-page SEO is about building website authority by creating bonds with other prominent sites, and finally, technical SEO aims at enhancing online experiences (security, speed, data organization, suitability for web crawlers, etc.). As you see, there’s a reason why some people are using terms like ‘Internet marketing SEO’ because, indeed, this is a giant system on its own.
What About Search Engine Marketing?
It is not incompatible with SEO, so one does not necessarily exclude the other (quite the contrary, considering, for example, the importance of keywords in both of them). However, there are some differences, and the most significant one is that instead of limiting themselves to organic search, SEM users also invest in paid search. So as a website owner, you sort of guarantee your visibility and ranking in SERPs by using advertisements. By the way, you may notice that some sources use the term SEM interchangeably with PPC (the aforementioned pay-per-click), but SEM is actually a little more complicated than that. For now, let’s just simplify things by saying that SEM can include both SEO and PPC.
Let’s also be clear about the fact that you definitely have to pay attention to keywords in SEM as well. In other words, keyword management is one of the requirements of SEM. The first step is to look for the ones which are the most relevant to your niche. To find them out, you can use, for example, Free Keyword Tool. That said, keywords are nothing but one of the pieces of a bigger structure mostly based on ad campaigns. In other words, your keywords should serve the performance of this campaign.
Several aspects are at play here. We may summarize them as follows:
- Quality: You will be focusing on click-through rates, which is about attracting visitors to specific links. To do so, you need high-quality advertisements and landing pages.
- Conversion: Yes, again. The number and value of conversions show the impact of your ads on sales. They also help you evaluate your ROI.
- Impression shares: Another aspect to watch closely. You have to check how close you are to the total number of impressions that you could get through your ads. A big gap would require a readjustment of your campaign or at least some elements in it.
FAQs About Online Marketing
Although there is nothing wrong with preferring more traditional marketing methods, the use of the Internet has become quite inevitable nowadays. Indeed, most of the prospects and customers are on the web. So logically, you have a higher chance to meet them there. If the Internet is not really up to your alley, you may try to find a collaborator who would be in charge of the online aspects of your marketing strategy.
Sure. This is a combo that works great for many. There is no fixed formula that you have to follow or that we can give you within a few lines. Let’s just say that as long as there is some consistency and complementarity between your different methods, feel free to use various means.
It’s simply about being responsive to the needs of your audience also when it comes to ergonomy and technical comfort. For instance, your web pages should be adaptable to different devices and screen sizes. So you will need to design them accordingly, right from the beginning. Take into account parameters such as screen orientation, mobile mode vs. desktop mode, etc.
Yes and no. Actually, they often coexist and complement each other. Schematically, online marketing includes some techniques for raising brand awareness beyond a strictly sales-oriented mindset. On the other hand, advertisement focuses on initiatives that directly encourage audiences to buy.
Marketing automation is a form of technology that performs overwhelming, time-consuming, and/or repetitive tasks on your behalf. It uses software that can reach several channels at once. That software is helpful for many processes, from lead scoring to spot-on content creation.
Last Notes About Online Marketing
In this article, we have tried to provide a first basic guide for your undertakings. By now, you have probably noticed how diversified can be online marketing strategies. So much so that it can seem almost overwhelming and make you hesitate about which one(s) to choose. At the end of the day, your decision will be based on a mix of gut feeling, funds, and style. Just take some time to reassess what each kind of marketing can bring to you and your business. Be fair to yourself, and don’t underestimate your handling potential. Would you be interested in learning how to conduct low budget online marketing for small businesses? If so, go ahead and check out our guide on the subject.