Internet Marketing: How to Market a Business Online
The fundamentals of on and offline marketing are basically the same. In either case you are building a marketing campaign designed to promote a particular product or service to one or more demographic of consumers.
A basic marketing campaign will involve the design of creative material for advertisements, content creation and media for placement or distribution of advertisements.
Marketing campaigns can be active or passive.
An active marketing campaign can involve seeking out and connecting with potential customers directly, either by phone, in person, mail or word of mouth referral. Some common methods of active marketing include telemarketing, multi-level marketing, or canvassing.
Online, active marketing takes on the form of social networking. Social networking is basically the process of making virtual connections with potential customers either directly or by networking through the use od social networking applications such as facebook, linkedin or merchantcircle, just to name a few.
A passive marketing campaign involves purchasing advertisments in newspapers, magazines, billboards, television, radio, the internet or other media. The idea is to place your business, product or services in the places where there is potential interest.
Online, a passive marketing campaign involves purchasing banner ads and advertisements on search engines, directories and various types of websites. Offline a passive campaign will usually involve a fixed cost for advertisements with no means of direct feedback on the reach or effectiveness of the campaign. Online marketing campaigns can be billed according to ad impressions, per click, per action or per sale.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine marketing and search engine optimization can be considered active and passive marketing. Using SEM an advertiser aims to generate leads to a website or online business listing by advertising on search engines based on the keywords that a user uses. In SEO the goal is to optimize a business website to be found on the first page of search engine results for a particular keyword or phrase without having to pay for placement.
In search engine marketing an advertiser simply pays for placement based on keywords. Ads are usually displayed in results until the budget and/or advertisment time period has expired.
In search engine optimization an advertiser will need to build a website's value and consequently, popularity by consistently proving to be a resource for a particular topic or range of keywords and phrases.
In order to demonstrate relevance to a particular area of search a website must meet a few basic criteria in which search engine algorithms are designed to test. A website is valued based on the amount of traffic it attracts generically, how popular it is with other websites (link popularity), how long visitors stay on the website, how often they return and most importantly, the quality of the content on the website.
If a website can prove to be a valuable resource it will be much easier to achieve success in either search engine marketing or search engine optmization campaigns.
How to start an online marketing campaign
You can begin marketing online quickly and easily by placing your website and/or business information in the places where you feel your potential customers go online. You can take advantage of free resources and online directories, pay for advertisements on relevant web properties, or simply start collecting emails sending out ads (be careful not to spam, it can negatively impact your business).
In either case you will need to organize your campaigns. There are a great number of tools available to manage and facilitate various types of internet marketing campaigns. We suggest starting with the basics, create a free Google Account and use Google Docs to manage your campaign.
Create separate lists for potential link partners, potential and existing clients, marketing resources and potential advertising opportunities.
Create you internet marketing flow chart and campaign presentations using Google Docs presentation tool (similar to powerpoint).
Create drafts of your ads and content for marketing.
Create accounts on as many relevant directories and social networking websites as you can effective manage.
Create a business website (if you don't have one specifically designed and optimized to convert traffic)
Research as many tools as you can to determine which one works best for you. Take advantage of free trials and demos.
Holistic Internet Marketing
Once you have setup up your basic accounts and have familiarized yourself with the various applications you plan on using then it is time to execute your online marketing campaigns.
You will want to work on both active and passive marketing techniques. It will help you yield the best overall results over time and help maximize your return on investment (ROI).
- Setup up your budget for paid marketing solutions such as banner ads or search engine pay per click accounts.
- Setup a system to track your progress and measure results.
- Make a list of potential articles and content for your search engine optimization efforts.
- Outline each article and insert references to any creative elements (graphics, image galleries, audio, video, etc).
- Setup landing pages designed to convert traffic into sales. In general each major keyword should have its own landing page.
- Start your social networking campaign by sharing information about the resources and information available on your website.
- Promote your products and services in the appropriate online resources.