What is online marketing? It reaches a market of millions of internet users in the US and beyond.
In a nutshell – it’s using the internet to find customers online who want to purchase your product or services. Using online marketing can drive traffic to your site, boost sales, and skyrocket profits.
There’s a lot of confusion about modern marketing strategies and techniques. Little wonder we’re asked “what is online marketing” so much. While companies and individuals feel they’ve got a broad grasp of the topic, ask them to define it, and they’ll struggle. Even so-called industry experts find it hard to say precisely what online marketing is – let alone how it can sell your brand.
In this simple step-by-step guide, we’re going through the basics of online marketing: from what online marketing is to how you can use it to generate sales. There’s no convoluted jargon or complex topics – just the easy-to-understand explanation you’ve been searching for.
What is online marketing?
Online marketing refers to all promotional activities using the internet to connect customers with your brand, products, and services. That’s it. It can mean content creation, social media, pay-per-click advertising, or email marketing.
It’s a broad concept. In fact, when people ask “what is online marketing”, we often wonder, what isn’t it?
You’ll often hear online marketing referred to as digital marketing or internet marketing – we do it too. Technically, there’s a subtle difference. Where digital marketing refers to any electronic form of marketing, online marketing exclusively uses the internet.
With the internet increasingly the sole reason we use our digital devices, it’s a distinction becoming less and less relevant.
Why use online marketing?
In short – because almost all your potential customers are online.
That’s the real reason. There are tons of potential benefits from online marketing. But, let’s be honest – marketers go where the people are. If we all spent our days wandering around fields, we’d be talking about field marketing.
We’re all online, so that’s where your effort needs to be.
It’s not the sole reason, however. Here are our top benefits:
Online Marketing is more personalized.
Traditional marketing – like magazine ads, TV commercials, and fliers – relies on mass appeal. You can target customers interested in your industry, products, or services with online marketing. It means online marketing is more cost-effective, with a substantially higher conversion rate compared to the marketing techniques of yesteryear.
Online Marketing is more cost-effective.
Fewer people will see your marketing efforts, but those that do are more likely to be converted. The result – you spend less. Plus, with email marketing, you generate a higher lifetime value for customers due to repeat purchases.
Online Marketing is more measurable.
With greater data at your disposal, you can tweak your marketing campaigns to respond to customer interest. Find out what works and what doesn’t by harnessing the power of data and metrics.
Online Marketing is more efficient.
Online marketing works faster than traditional techniques. With social media and SEO marketing, you can build brand awareness in a year or less. Not so with traditional methods.
Types of online marketing
With ever more platforms and aspects of the internet, online marketing is continually expanding. Here are common types of online marketing that see success:
1. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the subtle art of improving your ranking on a search engine results page. The higher you rank, the more clicks you’ll receive, and the more likely you’ll see an uptick in sales.
You’ll find SEO a common topic in marketing circles. But there are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation. To succeed with SEO, focus on two things:
- High-quality content with relevant keywords.
- A fast-loading, engaging site that’s easy to navigate.
Get those two aspects right, and you’ll be over 90% of the way to maximizing your SEO. Forget the “experts” who complicate the topic. Just focus on delivering value to your customer.
2. Content creation
Content creation – be it landing pages, blog posts, videos, infographics, industry reports, and more – goes hand-in-hand with SEO and online marketing.
You’ll want to sprinkle keywords throughout your content – it’s how your customers will find it in a search engine. Try not to focus solely on overly competitive short-tail keywords, like “running shoes”. You’re unlikely to ever rank for these terms.
Instead, go after middle-tail and long-tail keywords with less competition but more specificity – for example, “best running shoes for men” or “high-quality trail running shoes”.
3. Social media
No company is complete without a social media account. Just remember – it’s called social media. It’s supposed to be a conversation between you and your customers. When you promote active engagement, you’re more likely to generate interest, get shares, and drive sales.
Think about contests, votes, provocative questions, and more.
It’s also essential which social media you use. Facebook, for instance, is better for products and services targeted at the older market. In contrast, Instagram has a user base in their 20s and 30s. LinkedIn, meanwhile, is the only game in town for B2B online marketing.
Email is the most neglected form of online marketing. But it’s also one of the most effective. With email marketing, you’re sending newsletters, reminders, or special offers to existing customers to prompt them to buy more.
You already know such people are interested in your products. That makes your subscriber lists one of your most valuable assets. After all, it’s far more cost-effective to keep your existing customers than attract new ones.
5. Paid advertising
Paid advertising, like pay-per-click ads, work well to build brand awareness and generate customer interest. However, long-term, SEO is more cost-effective; PPC can be a helpful complementary strategy as you build up your SEO content backlog.
The types of needed paid advertising strategies are going to vary from business to business. In most case, you’ll want some sort of lead generation campaign along with a retargeting campaign. After all, you’ve done the hard part of getting people to your website. It’s much easier getting them back once they’ve become familiar with your brand.
6. Reputation Marketing
Reputation marketing – it’s great for controlling your online reputation and putting mechanisms in place to continue your businesses growth. With more than 77% of online viewers always or regularly reading online reviews than ever before, reputation marketing is an essential part of a valid online marketing strategy to continue building your companies brand.
But reputation marketing should be taken a step further than just asking for reviews. You need to respond to review – both positive and negative. People want to see how you react at your best and, more critically, at your worst. After all, no one can have a good day every day but you can control how you manage certain experiences.
Online marketing is the key to success
When you understand what online marketing is, you’re ready to take your business to the next level. By harnessing the power of the internet, you can reach audiences you’d never have imagined. Just follow the key tips above and start building your online marketing strategy.
Are you ready to take your online marketing efforts to the next level? Contact the online marketing experts at Clicta Digital to learn more about our online marketing & campaign strategies for your business. Schedule your free consultation today!