What is online marketing and why should you care about it?
See, starting a business can be easy.
After all, all you have to do is get a viable business idea, create a product and go to market.
But what you don’t know is that the aspect of growing a successful business relies heavily on your ability to drive consistent sales.
Yes, there are other moving parts in this whole thing, but without sales, you don’t have a business.
Well, of course, unless your business model depends on donations. But again, if it does, you still need to reach those who are willing to donate.
This is where marketing comes in handy.
Marketing is the process of amplifying the reach of your message to more people in the hope they will take action.
And there are two types of marketing; traditional and modern marketing.
Traditional marketing involves the use of flyers, workshops, and roadshows among other crude tactics to gain the attention of your target market.
Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to endure all that torture.
Enters online marketing.
What is the meaning of online marketing?
As its name suggests, online marketing involves leveraging internet (web-based) channels and tactics to amplify your message, products, or services to reach more people.
Pay attention here because, unlike traditional marketing where you have to be there physically, online marketing does it differently.
This point is better illustrated with an example;
Assuming you wish to hold a seminar in preparation for an upcoming launch of your book.
Traditionally, you’d have to send out event invites to people you think will benefit from what you have to say and hopefully invest in your business.
That was tough.
But not anymore.
Using online marketing tactics like email and social ads, you can immediately hold your seminar over the internet (webinar).
Here is how;
First, you need to reach those who would be interested in your business.
There is no better way to do that than through Facebook ads, thanks to its advanced targeting capabilities.
With your ads, you encourage the target audience to sign up for your upcoming event (webinar).
When the time comes, you stream live to attendees without leaving your couch.
How is that possible?
Just to recap, online marketing is the process of using the internet to spread the word about your business.
What are the different types of online marketing?
In order to grasp how online marketing works, here is something to note.
After starting a business, be it online or offline, you tend to go for the same goals.
- Ge traffic
- Generate leads and build relationships
- Convert traffic
Now, based on these three goals, you can implement online marketing techniques to help at every step.
To answer this, we will look at each goal and discuss the types of online marketing tactics you can implement.
Once you start a business, your next move is to get as many people as possible to see what you got to offer.
Traditionally, you’d have to start printing and distributing flyers and posters.
But thanks to the internet, you don’t have to.
Here are some internet marketing tactics you can use.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing is as its sounds; marketing on social media.
You are simply leveraging social platforms to reach more people who are more likely to be interested in your products.
See, today, social platforms are attracting millions of engaged users every month.
Facebook alone boasts over 2 billion active monthly users.
You can leverage this platform to reach these people easily.
In order to do that, you have two options;
You can use social media to market your business for free.
To get started, you need an account, i.e, open a Facebook account.
If you are using Facebook, you need to have a business page.
Once you do, invite friends and potential customers to like your page.
After that, you can start posting updates which may include links to your business website (if you have one).
As for the paid aspect, you can pay Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform to push your message to more people.
You can use Twitter ads to boost your tweet to reach more people.
At the same time, you can use Facebook ads to reach more people. In fact, $10 spend on Facebook ads can reach between 5,000 and 15,000 potential customers.
According to ContentMarketingInstitute, content marketing is “…the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience…”
Here is how this works.
After starting a business, say, a ladies’ shoes online store, you can start creating videos reviewing various shoes in your stock and uploading them online.
Now, when potential customers watch your videos, they are more likely to click and buy your products.
Alternatively, you can write an article on the top trending ladies’ shoes in 2021 and publish it on your blog.
After that, you share the links on your social media platform to drive traffic back to the site.
Now, for this to work, you have to do two things;
- Publish valuable, interesting, and actionable content. Use examples, add media, and use simple language.
- Make it easy for your target audience to find your content. This is where SEO comes in handy (see next point)
Search engine optimization
After writing and publish articles on your website, you need readers, that’s where SEO comes in.
SEO involves making your site and articles easy to find on search engines.
See, Google is the most popular search engine, with over 5.6 billion searches per day.
Among these billions of searches are people looking for what you are selling.
As such, if you are going to have a chance to appear whenever they go online to search, you must adhere to Google’s search guidelines.
These are the things you need to take care of to make it easy for search engines to find your content and include them in SERP (search engine results pages) results.
Here are some tips on how to SEO your articles;
- Do keyword research. Here, you are trying to figure out what queries (keywords) your target audience uses when searching online. Luckily, you don’t have to do that manually. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or KeywordTool.io, they are all free.
- Add the keyword on your title, meta description, URL, and repeat it a few times within the article.
- Link to other related articles within the site (on-page SEO)
- Link to your sources and other relevant resources (Off-page SEO).
- Add alt text to all images used within the article
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Here is the thing;
SEO is a free way to drive targeted traffic to your business site.
SEM is the paid version of SEO.
Whenever you search for something, you see two types of results
- Organic results
- Paid ads
Normally, the ads are above the organic results.
Studies show that the #1 result on search engines gets at least 27% click-through-rate.
In short, if your website turns up among the top results whenever a certain keyword is searched, you get more clicks (in theory) than those below you.
For this reason, people pay to be number one for keywords (search queries) they can’t rank for organically.
Here is an example;
In this example, Hostgator is paying Google to show their website as the top result whenever someone searches ‘web hosting.’
And that is something you can do as well.
If you are selling consulting services, you can pay search engines to show your website as the top result whenever someone searches for related keywords.
This is an online marketing tactic that involves leverage someone else’s efforts to generate traffic and sales for your site and in return, you pay them a commission.
Here, an affiliate sends you a potential customer.
This means that you don’t pay anything unless you make a sale.
Here is how to get started;
- Create an affiliate program where you offer a certain percentage of the sale (between 5% and 20%) to anyone who points a client your way.
- Invite people to sign up as your affiliates
- Set up tools to help track and attribute sales to the right referrers.
If that person buys from you, you share the sale revenue with the affiliate.
Why affiliate marketing?
First, you get free traffic.
Second, you’ve got nothing to lose.
You only pay when you get a sale.
So far, you have learned that you can generate traffic through;
- Sharing links on social media and using ads
- Using content to promote your business
- Leveraging SEO to generate organic traffic
- Go with SEM to get traffic fast from search engines
- Taking advantage of affiliate marketing
Over 70% of your website traffic will never return to your site after their first visit.
This means that you need a system in place to entice them to come back.
Generating leads and building relationships
Lucky for you, online marketing can come to your rescue.
Email marketing is where you keep sending emails to your customers and prospects.
To do that, you need to capture their email addresses.
Use a lead magnet.
This is a free item or service you give out in exchange for contact details.
You can offer a 34% discount code in exchange for prospects’ email addresses.
Also, you will need software to help manage the email list and send campaigns.
Bottom line, building an email list helps you increase the number of returning visitors.
Here is how;
If you have an email list, you can keep sending them promotions.
Also, you can inform them about your latest articles.
Additionally, you can use email marketing to help recover abandoned carts.
Whenever someone leaves without completing the checkout process, you immediately follow up with an email inquiring on reasons why.
Additionally, you can offer them a discount on their order.
Studies show that most people abandon carts because of high costs
You can offer free shipping if they return and complete the checkout.
Offer free trials
If you are dealing with courses or SaaS, you can implement a free trial as a way to capture leads.
Here, you are inviting the prospect to try your solution and see if it is a perfect fit.
The assumption here is that they will fall in love with your solution after seeing it in action.
- You have generated traffic
- Captured leads
The next step is to convert it into sales.
Converting traffic into sales
Online marketing has one end goal; boost business revenue.
For that to happen, you need to employ strategies to help convince all those who land on your pages that you are the right person to solve their pain points.
As such you need to make sure that your website is loading fast and the design is smooth with fewer distractions.
As its name sounds, these are seminars held over the internet.
Here, you are inviting prospects to attend a virtual training.
While in there, you can start talking about your product or service and how they can benefit from it.
Why does this work?
First, you are offering value by teaching them something they don’t know.
Secondly, they get to experience your solutions first hand, thus building credibility and increasing chances of them converting into sales
Additionally, you need a way to push the prospect to act immediately rather than wait for later.
Here are some online marketing strategies you can implement;
- Offering discounts – due to its limited-time factor, prospects are more likely to act now than risk losing the deal
- Incorporate timers on your landing pages. They help emphasize the immediacy of the deal.
- Add upsells and downsells to increase customer average order value (AOV)
- A money-back guarantee also helps turn skeptics into paying customers.
- Use testimonials (both videos and written) to improve credibility
What is your favorite online marketing tactic?
As you can see, there are a ton of strategies you can implement to generate revenue online.
Some may cost you money, but most of them will cost zero dollars to use.
The key to succeeding online is learning from mistakes.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be your own mistakes.
Look at what is working for people in your industry and use that as an inspiration to set your own.
This is where A/B testing comes in handy.
Mistakes are costly; money or time.
But by figuring out what works fast without spending so much is vital to your online marketing success.