Once upon a time, internet marketing was something you could do as an ‘extra’ on top of your other marketing strategies. But that’s not the case anymore. Now, having an internet marketing strategy (including SEO and engaging social media) is vital for business growth. If you’re still not convinced, here are the reasons why you need to care more.
What is internet marketing?
Internet marketing is the name for promoting a business or brand over the internet. You might also have heard of ‘content marketing’ which is closely linked. Content marketing involves creating valuable content to attract a particular audience.
Although the two overlap, there is a clear difference. Internet marketing can include those annoying pop-up ads and the adverts that slow down the webpage you’re viewing. These don’t count as content marketing.
In order to compare the two, imagine traditional advertising – a page in a magazine, a radio advert or a TV advert. These adverts push their messages at you to try to get you to buy. These have been used by businesses since the mid-19th century, and some to great effect, but there’s a problem.
They can be really annoying.
These adverts also appear all over the internet. On apps, on websites, on social media pages. In your junk mail. There’s a reason why ad blockers are so popular – there can be nothing more irritating than having your work, play or conversation interrupted by an unwanted advert.
Content marketing is different. The aim of content marketing is to provide value to the consumer. This means rather than you going to them, the consumer comes to you.
Imagine searching for something on the internet – how to fix a wooden fence, for example. You find an article on the B&Q website which tells you exactly what you need to do and links to the tool that you need. You buy it from B&Q and follow their instructions. This is a great example of content marketing. The store provided value and you bought from them.
Where do SEO and social media fit in?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of growing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic methods. A great SEO strategy means that your website will rank higher in search engine results, and will be clicked on more often (hopefully leading to more conversions!)
Social media, of course, is a vital tool for content creation and can help your audience to learn more about your brand.
Why should you care about any of this?
Internet marketing has huge benefits for your business, no matter what you do. Here are some of the main positives…
Internet marketing reaches people where they actually spend their time
Just a few years ago, advertising on TV was the peak – you were guaranteed an enormous audience for your product because there were only 5 channels. Now, with the advent of streaming services such as Netflix, that audience is not certain.
However, the average person does spend over 2 hours a day on social media. 97% of the US population (under the age of 65) use social media at least once a month, and there are 45 million active social media users in the UK.
In fact, 48% of people made their last online purchase as the result of something they saw on social media.
Having a presence on social media is not optional any more. More than ever, people are using social media as a way to reassure themselves before purchasing from a company – they want to see a trusted brand with an active account.
Compete with big businesses
Content marketing is a great way of levelling the playing field. Your website can easily outrank large competitors with a focused internet marketing campaign. Because of its focus on storytelling, content marketing works really well for those small businesses who are willing to have some fun.
If you put an advert out on the radio, what do you know about the people who listen to it? You might know an average age range and their location – but that’s about it.
With online marketing, you know far more about the people you are targeting. At its simplest, you can use social media adverts to target very specific demographics – such as a particular gender, profession, etc.
Using email marketing is also extremely beneficial for this. If you have had a prior customer who has agreed to join your mailing list, you know the types of products they’re interested in, their name and many other details about them. You can create incredibly personalised emails using this information, directing certain products to certain people.
You can also target particular types of people with your SEO. By using particular keywords, you can aim your content at people with a certain challenge, issue or goal.
The ability to check performance
Let’s use the example of a magazine advert. How do you really know how well it performed? Even if you use a special code for purchases through the advert, you don’t know how many people really saw the advert, or how many people liked it.
With internet marketing, it’s very different. You have far more data to use to analyse the effectiveness of your campaign and learn about your audience. You can learn things such as:
- Who saw your campaign
- If it prompted a sale
- If it prompted another action (e.g. a like, a comment, a share with a friend)
- Which websites lead people to yours
- Who spends more on your website
The massive amount of information you can gain enables you to really target certain people with content that you know they’ll like.
Flexible and versatile
An online marketing campaign can be extremely adaptable and responsive. If something isn’t working – that’s fine, you can change it. If something is working, you can invest more money into it.
Similarly, if something works too well and you need to scale back in order to fulfill orders, you can do that too.
Where to start with internet marketing…
You’ve seen how incredibly powerful internet marketing can be. You’ll want to start your own strategy. Fortunately, even if you’re starting from nothing, internet marketing doesn’t need to be complicated. Here are some top tips for getting started:
- Keep your focus on your customers
Everything you do should be with your customers in mind – they are the reason you’re doing this after all. Take some time learning about who your customers are and what they want – this way, you can make sure your marketing is focused.
- Start to organise your SEO
It doesn’t matter how beautiful or flashy your website is, if you’re not ranking on search engines then it will be very difficult to get organic visitors. Start building your content, focusing on keywords that your potential customers are searching for. Build conversations and connections through your articles, guides and videos. Make sure your content is quality, and you will start to see your website appearing more often in searches.
- Game plan your social media
We’ve talked about how vital social media is, but if you’re starting from nothing it can be difficult to know where to start. The main thing to bear in mind is that social media is a place to tell your brand’s story and start conversations, not just sell, sell, sell. In order to gain a customer base from social media, you need high engagement and a loyal following. Whilst this might sound daunting, you’ll notice if you look at competitors who are killing their social media that they’re consistent, aesthetically pleasing and have a human, connective element. Try to emulate this in your social media and you will see the followers (and conversions) begin to roll in.
- Build your subscriber list
Email marketing is extraordinarily valuable and can be personalised to great effect. Ensuring that your subscriber list is high quality is key here – interested, invested subscribers will be a huge boost to your company with a strategic email campaign. You can find out all you need to know about email marketing here.
- Shout about your business with PR
PR can be an extremely cost effective way of marketing your company online. But, make sure you think carefully about your story before sending out press releases. Journalists are besieged by barely veiled sales pitches daily, so these won’t catch their eye. They are looking for something newsworthy, something that is going to catch the attention of their readers. So if you have a great story, you can get a huge boost.
- The future is mobile
In 2019, over 50% of worldwide web traffic was from mobile devices (excluding tablets). You can expect this number to keep on growing. With over half of all visitors to your website likely to be accessing it from a mobile, you need to make sure that your website is mobile ready. Here’s a little task for you. Open your website on your mobile phone, right now. Have a look at it – is it optimised for mobile? Or does it look clunky, old-fashioned or just plain messy? This is how your website will look for over half of your visitors. Get it optimised, now.
Tell me more about SEO…
We’ve touched on SEO briefly as part of internet marketing, but that really underestimates its importance. If you’re interested in the stats, 51% of all website traffic comes from organic searches, 10% from paid searches, 5% from social and 34% comes from other sources. If you don’t have an SEO plan, then you could be missing out on enormous numbers of visitors.
Showing up in searches isn’t enough. 91.5% of all searchers visit a page on the first page of the search results, and 32.5% of searchers visit the first organic search result.
If your website appears on the first page of search results, your business could go to the next level.
Here are the things you need to think about:
They’re important, but they’re not the be all end all that they used to be. Just littering your site with keywords won’t work – but they are still needed. Keywords are the words and phrases that your ideal visitors are searching for. You need to carefully research them, choose them well and, importantly, don’t overuse them.
Your content is vital. This is where you provide value to your website visitors, engage with audiences and build relationships. Ideally, it should be shareable – this encourages even more visitors. Content encompasses a variety of different forms – from web page content, videos and podcasts to blogs like this one.
- Local audiences
Searches are becoming more and more localised. Think about when you search for a restaurant on your mobile – the options that appear are all close to you. Many search terms contain local words – e.g. ‘near me’, ‘north west’ or the name of a town. Optimising your local SEO means that your business is more likely to appear in these searches.
Is it worth paying to appear in search results?
This can be useful, but it is not as valuable as having the informative, engaging content that your audience wants. Many people also skip the paid adverts after searching for a term, and go straight to the first organic result instead. That said, it does have its place.
How can social media help me?
We’ve talked about how widely used social media is and how important it is for your business to have social media accounts.
But it can be taken one step further. Of course, going viral isn’t easy, but an exceptional social media campaign can prove life changing for your business.
Here are some examples:
Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino
For one week in 2017, Starbucks released a purple and pink Unicorn Frappuccino. It was a social media win – Instagrammers loved it and over the week, #UnicornFrappuccino gained 150,000 posts. The scarcity and limited time period made it work – along with the outlandish colour.
Spotify’s Your Year Wrapped
If you listen to Spotify, you’ll know that since 2018 they’ve released data about the songs you’ve listened to in the year before. The key was shareability; the simple and aesthetically pleasing information allowed consumers to either self-deprecate or brag about their musical tastes by sharing it across numerous social media platforms.
Gillette’s The Best A Man Can Get
This video, shared on Youtube and Twitter, sparked incredible numbers of conversations from people who both agreed and disagreed with the concept. In the handful of days after publication, Gillette had 1.5 million social media mentions. The week before, they had less than 10,000.
Of course, these campaigns were by big industry leaders, but they show the amazing power of social media through hooking onto something that your audience is passionate about.
In our modern world, having a solid internet marketing plan isn’t optional – it is fundamental for business growth. If you need help getting started or taking things to the next level, use our online system below to book a free consultation now…
- Our Creative Content Specialist, Harriet Young, is a prolific blogger, Instagrammer and (almost) published author. A self-confessed book addict, Harriet loves to read, write and photograph books in her spare time - a hobby which transfers beautifully into her role of writing creative content for our wonderful clients.
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