According to Search Engine Journal, internet marketing is “the process of promoting a business or brand and its products or services over the internet using tools that help drive traffic, leads, and sales.“
In essence, it’s doing business online. Which in this day and age is critical to almost any companies success.
But what exactly does it involve? And how can your company or organisation utilise the internet in the most efficient and effective way possible?
Building a Web Presence
First things first, you need a presence online.
Most people think of a website, and that is certainly a great web presence. But it isn’t the only way you can present your organisation online.
Social media platforms are also a presence that your organisation has on the internet, and should be considered in the same way as your website.
Both of these platforms allow you to create content, whether this is written word, images, video or audio, that allows you to let people know who and what your organisation is all about.
You need this to be a positive and true reflection of your organisation. For many people, this may be the first time they are coming across your organisation, and you want that initial impression to be as positive as possible, and in line with your organisational values.
But there is also something else you need to consider when you are creating your content, and that is how people are going to find it. The most important thing to consider in this case is search engines (e.g. Google).
Search engines have algorithms that scour the internet and ranks websites and web pages according to a plethora of variables and criteria. It is important that you optimise your website and your web content for search engines, so that they can easily find it and that they rank you as high as possible for what people would be searching for to find your content. This is called ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ and is the cornerstone of internet marketing.
Optimising that Web Presence
Search Engine Optimisation is all about optimising your content and web presence for search engines, so that you are hopefully ranked higher for certain keywords, and people subsequently find you.
This can be a delicate task, however, as search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to crack down on what they see as ‘black hat’ or bad practises. It is important to know what these are and how to avoid them, as many have unknowingly implemented black hat strategies and have had their websites black listed by search engines, which is very tricky to get back from (in fact, it’s easier to start from scratch with a new website entirely).
But this is not the only way you need to optimize your web presence. You also need to optimise your presence for multiple different devices, as well as ensuring that your website and social media profiles are also geared towards the people you are trying to attract.
The good news is that most social media are optimised for most devices, including mobile, tablet and desktop computers. However, your website may not be. Try viewing your website on your phone or tablet device and see how different it looks. Is it user friendly? Does it look ok? If not, you need to optimise your website for that particular device.
It’s also important not to forget the people that are ultimately reading or consuming your content. Is it worded in a way that they understand? Are you presenting yourself as an authority in your field? Are you being professional?
The next step, once you have a web presence and it’s optimised, is to attract people to your content.
Drawing People To That Web Presence
Search Engine Optimisation, if done properly, should begin to draw people in from search engine, but this can be a slow and arduous process. But when it does start to happen, it has a snowball effect, with each content piece you post, more and more people will come to your website or social media profiles. This stream of people coming to your website is called traffic.
Other ways to drive traffic to your website, blog or social media platforms is paid advertising. You are able to pay platforms to show your webpages or social media posts to new people, and can be a great way to attract new prospects and leads.
But what is you don’t have a huge marketing budget to pay for that boost in traffic.
Other ways you can attract people is to collaborate with other people in your field that already have an audience. These people are known as influencers, and this specific method of marketing is known as ‘influencer marketing’.
Collaborations can be paid ads on their platforms, but may also be joint ventures. For example, you can provide an offer that for people that buy your product or service through a specific webpage/link, they can get an enticing discount, bonus or freebie (known as a lead magnet). Influencers can then post that discount to their audience, which can be a win-win situation. You’re attracting new leads, the influencer is providing value to their audience, and their audience is getting a great deal. This type of collaboration is called ‘Affiliate Marketing’.
Capturing Leads and Building a Relationship
Capturing leads (for example, a person’s email address) through an affiliate’s marketing efforts or simply with a lead magnet sent to your own audience provides you the opportunity to build a relationship with prospective clients.
Studies show that people are more likely to buy from something they know and have a relationship with, as opposed to someone or an organisation they know nothing about.
So by capturing an individual’s email address, you are able to send them more content and value that not only lets them know what you are all about, but also builds trust and that all important relationship. This is known as email marketing.
Building relationships can be difficult and during the early stages can be very fragile. One wrong word or sentence can break that bond and leave a nasty taste in that prospect’s mouth, so to speak. Which not only loses you that lead, but through word of mouth, can have a greater negative impact. So it is very important to be purposeful and strategic in your email marketing.
So what now?
Internet marketing can be very powerful for your company, brand or organisation, but as you can hopefully see throughout this article, it can also be very complex and a delicate process. One wrong word or move can have disastrous consequences.
As a result, it can be very beneficial to have someone that is knowledgeable and experienced in the field of internet marketing and human behaviour to help you strategize and navigate through the journey to success. I personally help individuals and organisations do just this. If you are interested in working on a project like this, then click here to arrange a free 15 minute consultation to discuss you and your organisation and how we may be able to work together.