A simple statistic to illustrate just how big of a deal the web is right now:
On average, adults aged 34 and under spent at least 4 hours a day online – on their mobile devices alone.
A figure made all the more impressive by the fact that more people are joining the digital revolution every day. There are around 4.05 billion people currently using the web worldwide, which is a mere drop in the ocean of what’s to come.
We’ve reached a point in time where the Internet isn’t a convenience – it’s a way of life for the masses. From entertainment to communication to education to retail, everything we do takes place online.
When you consider statistics like these, the power and reach of the Internet as a marketing platform starts to become apparent. Right now, any individual in the world can reach any other individual (or group thereof) instantaneously and with any message they choose.
The problem being that with millions all competing for the same attention, standing out from the crowd and making your voice heard isn’t easy.
What Is Internet Marketing?
The term ‘Internet marketing’ encompasses absolutely any tactic or strategy implemented online for the purpose of selling products, services or your brand as a whole. If it’s in any way promotional and it takes place online, it’s considered Internet marketing.
At its core, Internet marketing consists of seven major components, which are as follows:
- Social media marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Paid advertising
Theoretically, it’s possible to implement a successful digital marketing campaign without incorporating allof the above. Nevertheless, the key to successful online marketing typically lies in diversity and variety.
The more options and channels you explore, the more likely you are to find the reach the widest possible audience of prospects.
But whether you choose to cover all bases or go for something more select, it’s first worth getting to grips with the Ins and outs of each. So as something of a 101 guide for digital marketing newcomers, we’ll now be taking a brief look at each of the seven core components of successful digital marketing.
1. Social Media Marketing
First up, the term ‘social media marketing’ refers to the promotion of products, services, brands and general messages on social platforms like Instagram or Twitter. There are essentially two different types of social media marketing to explore – paid social advertising and organic (or free) social advertising.
The organic approach to social media marketing involves establishing a voice and building authority as part of a community. Rather than going for the hard-sell, you build the credibility and trust you need for nurturing relationships with your audience. Social media provides the opportunity to eliminate the usual business-customer barriers, allowing you to become a partof the community you target.
As the name suggests, paid social advertising involves paying for ads to be positioned anywhere you deem appropriate. Paid ads on platforms like Facebook can be effective, but don’t tend to deliver the same long-term results as an organic strategy. The reason being that today’s consumer is instinctively suspicious of paid marketing materials in general.
In most instances, the key to successful social media marketing lies in strategically balancing paid and organic elements in one campaign.
2. Search Engine Optimisation
Widely considered the granddaddy of digital marketing techniques for the 21stcentury, search engine optimisation (SEO) incorporates any and all efforts to appear more prominently in the search rankings.
Today, Google alone occupies approximately 80% of the world’s total search market share. On the whole, around 95% of all online experiences begin with a web search. That’s 95% of everythingthat happens online being directed by one of the major search engines.
In order to determine which websites rank more prominently than others, search engines use ‘crawlers’ to establish the value and relevance of their content respectively. When you engineer your site and its pages to climb the rankings, this is known as search engine optimisation.
Typical techniques for improving search engine results page (SERP) performance include increasing your website’s speed and fluidity, targeting relevant keywords, providing the best possible experience for mobile users, posting backlinks to your website elsewhere, publishing quality blog posts on a regular basis and many more besides.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing refers to the strategic creation, distribution and promotion of quality content for the benefit of your business. Contributory elements in the content marketing campaign may include blog posts, infographics, tutorials, video clips, case studies, podcasts, industry updates and many more besides.
Once again, the purpose of content marketing is to capitalise on the power of ‘selling without selling’. Rather than pleading with your customers to buy whatever you sell, you build the credibility and authority needed to convince them organically.
The more successfully you entertain, educate and generally influence your audience, the more likely they are to respond positively and take action.
4. Influencer Marketing
Speaking of influence, the power of influencer marketing is also growing at record pace. The term ‘influencer’ applies to any individual who has the power to influence others. Examples of which include mainstream celebrities, industry experts, recognised sports persons, business leaders and so on.
It’s a simple yet hugely effective strategy, wherein you convince someone influential to say something about your products or your services to your audience or theirs. In doing so, the appeal of your products, your services and your brand instantly hit home with the recipient. Rather than it being you who attempts to convince them, someone who’s already established trust and authority takes care of things on your behalf.
Appealing to influencers in the first place often means convincing them you’re the real deal. After all, it’s their reputation on the line if they endorse something substandard. Nevertheless, it’s often as easy as finding those who have some kind of relevance to your niche and paying whatever price they quote.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing can be effective, but should also be approached with caution. It’s a common strategy that involves having other websites and businesses promote your products and services and your behalf, in exchange for a cut of the action for every sale made. The problem being that you’re inherently putting your reputation and image in the hands of those you work with.
It’s therefore important to ensure that any affiliates you bring on board can be trusted to represent your brand in a manner you’re happy with. Should they make false promises or in some way misrepresent your brand, it could ultimately be youwho pays the price.
Affiliate marketing schemes are always worth checking out and can deliver a strong and on-going ROI. Nevertheless, it’s not something to run into without due care and attention.
Affiliate marketing is essentially just online referral marketing.
6. Email Marketing
The classic e-mail marketing is often underestimated in terms of its power and potential value. Despite being a somewhat ‘old school’ approach to digital marketing, it’s nonetheless one of the most capable and timeless.
In fact, the average ROI on a decent e-mail marketing campaign comes in at a whopping 122% – that’s 4X more than a comparable social media marketing campaign.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as bombarding the largest possible audience with a bunch of generic messages. The key to successful online marketing lies in two things – segmentation and personalisation.
In a typical ecommerce scenario, you’ll need to segment recipients by way of first-time customers, return customers, customers who abandoned their shopping carts, satisfied customers to request feedback from, previous customers who are now inactive, big-spenders and so on.
The closer the attention you paid to the habits and preferences of your customers, the easier it becomes to script emails they’re guaranteed to respond positively to. It’s simply a case of knowing where to draw the line between engaging e-mail marketing and the modern equivalent of cold calling.
7. Paid Advertising
Last but not least, paid advertising exists in many forms and can also be highly effective. Along with paid ads positioned on the major social networks (as touched upon previously), it’s also possible to post ads right at the top of the search rankings.
Referred to as Pay-Per-Click advertising – or PPC – you agree to pay the service (i.e. Google) a fixed price for each successful click. These clicks drive traffic directly to your website, in accordance with the keywords targeted and the nature of the ad.
Capable of driving targeted traffic to your website almost instantaneously, PPC is great for generating interest short-term. Hence, if you’re launching a new product, a new service or getting your business off the ground for the first time, PPC is good for an initial boost.
However, it has a tendency to be too costly to rely on as a long-term strategy. And once again, it’s important to remember that paid marketing materials rarely have the same impact and influence as their organic counterparts.
For more information on the steps necessary to create and implement a successful web marketing campaign, contact Tait Pollock today.