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 channels in the comfort of their bathrooms. 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 the audience. Indeed, online marketing is not a one-person 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 each component’s specific features. By component, we are mostly referring to:
- Various business partners
Identify Your Prospects
A raw goldmine that needs to be explored. Any individual and/or company likely to have some affinity with your products and/or services can be labeled a prospect. That is, a potential customer deserving your attention and efforts. As a side note, prospects are often confused with leads, a group 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 regularly. 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. You should also avoid a ‘selling at all costs mentality: 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 marketing online; we are not only referring to your competitors here. Any entrepreneur needs to collaborate with others at some point, no matter what niche one is involved in.
Suppose you are selling some plants cultivated in your backyard online. Even though the example seems like a solo experience at first glance, you will probably need to get in touch, at least with a pouch seller. 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 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 much more than that, namely a whole marketing technique (or set of techniques). One sure thing is that content reflects the spirit of your business and thus makes yourself visible to the audience. There are various types of content in digital marketing 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, or 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. This means that you can’t simply create your content and then disappear. You have to engage an audience, ensuring that it becomes involved in one way or another. Email marketing is one of the most effective methods of building an email list. Adding a sign-up feature to your website is 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 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.
These go beyond a simple engagement rate calculation. Here are the indicators you should consider: number of pages viewed within a certain period, number of pages viewed per visit, duration of visits, number of recurrent visitors, and 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. 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
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 earn within a specific period. Not only that: you also need to observe if your revenue is more than a simple depreciation and 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. 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 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. Whether you are lazy or reluctant to launch a big project, affiliate marketing is a more straightforward yet profitable path. 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.
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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 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 online marketing. 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 confusing.
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). Many aspects are involved, depending on which type of SEO one is talking about. Let’s simplify by saying that on-page SEO is about keywords and content, and off-page SEO is about building website authority by creating bonds with other prominent sites. Finally, technical SEO enhances 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 SEM users also invest in paid search instead of limiting themselves to organic search. So as a website owner, you guarantee your visibility and ranking in SERPs by using advertisements. You may notice that some sources use the term SEM interchangeably with PPC (the pay-per-click, as mentioned earlier), but SEM is a little more complicated than that. Let’s simplify things by saying that SEM can include both SEO and PPC.
Let’s also be clear that you must pay attention to SEM keywords. In other words, keyword management is one of the requirements of SEM. The first step is to look for the most relevant ones 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 focus on click-through rates, which are 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 you can get through your ads. A big gap would require a readjustment of your campaign or at least some elements in it.
Last Notes About Online Marketing
This article has tried to provide a basic guide for your undertakings. By now, you have probably noticed how diversified online marketing strategies can be. So much so that it can seem almost overwhelming and make you hesitate about which one(s) to choose. Your decision will be based on a mix of gut feeling, funds, and style. Just reassess what each kind of marketing can bring to you and your business. Be fair to yourself, and don’t underestimate your handling potential.