What is online marketing/internet marketing?
It is using the internet/web to try and promote your business.
Why is online marketing is so important?
With the continuing growth in web use, web marketing is now usually the best way to find new customers for your business. If somebody wants to find a product or service they used to look at the Yellow Pages. Now they will look online. It is especially important for small and medium business marketing because smaller companies don’t have the financial muscle that larger companies can use to dominate offline marketing. Online they can get compete a bit more easily, especially if they are offering a local service.
What types of internet marketing are there?
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This is basically all about how to make your company as visible as possible in the search engines, which is how most people look for a new product or service.
There are three main search engines that they are likely to look on – Google, Yahoo and Bing. Google is by far the largest of these.
The key thing to make your business is visible is to make sure that you are on the first page of the search engine, there’s no point being on page 7 or 8 because hardly anybody will go through that number of pages to reach your business.
But it’s no use being on page one for the ‘nameofyourbusiness.com’ because people aren’t going to be looking for the name of your business, they are going to be looking for whatever product or service they need, whether it is ‘accountant in Birmingham’ or ‘laser surgery in New York’. These are called Keywords.
So the first thing you need to decide, is what are the main things (keywords) that people who are looking for your service are going to type into the search engine.
When you have decided what these are, the next thing you need to do is to rank these keywords – which means to make them appear as high as possible in the search engines. This is the difficult bit because you will find that lots of your competitors are trying to do exactly the same.
And if the term is a competitive one, where a lot of money can be made, it is very difficult indeed to get your company to the top of the rankings because large companies with very big marketing budgets will already be there.
However what you can is to make sure you appear for more local terms eg ‘plumber in Birmingham’ or ‘pest control in London’.
Or you can appear for what are called long-tail keywords – so instead of ranking high for ‘accountants London’ you could try and do it for ‘best accountant for a small business in London’. Fewer people will search for this term but at least you will have a good chance of appearing in the first page of google and can be visible to potential customers. If you tried to rank for ‘accountants in London’ you would probably not to be able to do it unless you had a lot of money to spend on it.
On-page optimization/web optimization
This is making sure that your website is set up so that it will looked up favorably by the search engines. So you need to mention your keywords on your site (but not too often or you will be penalized by Google), and to make sure that the search engines have the best possible chance of seeing what your website is about.
How effective is SEO?
Search engine marketing is the cheapest and probably the best way of marketing a business online because there are no advertising costs, and because if you manage to do it successfully, it’s the most effective way of promoting yourself online. However it can be a very difficult process and the rules are changing all the time.
It’s important to make sure that you employ someone who knows what the latest SEO methods are. A couple of years ago it was still possible to use automated software to send thousands of links to a website in order to get it to the top of the search engine listings. Although this may still work temporarily, it will soon be spotted by the search engines ,who will either penalize or ban your site from their search engine. There are plenty of people offering dubious SEO services out there, so beware.
2. Online advertising
Another alternative to SEO is advertising. You can pay to promote your services on one of the search engines. Depending on how much you bid, your advert will appear on the right-hand side of the page or if you really bid a lot of money it will appear at the top.
If you pay enough money you should be able to reach customers, you will pay for each time a customer clicks on one of your adverts.
- It can end up being an expensive way of finding clients because you have to bid against your competitors, and if it is a popular term, it could end up costing you a lot
- People often ignore ads and will be more likely to be impressed by who is ranking highest in the search engines
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media is a great way to find new customers.
If you wish we can
- Set up an account for you,
- Advise you on how you should be using it
- Run the account for you if you wish
The most important social media are
Facebook is great if you have something interesting or funny to share, but is not so good if you don’t, or if you have a business that is not that interesting or exciting to the average person.
Twitter is great for interacting with other people in your industry
4. Email marketing
One of the best ways of marketing on the internet is to send emails out to your customers providing them with information and details of your services. But for this to work you will need to attract clients to your website in the first place, either by advertising or more commonly by using SEO methods.
Email marketing tips
- Don’t just send your customers details of what you are trying to sell, or they will quickly get fed up and unsubscribe. You need to offer them valuable information and if you do this they won’t mind if you sometimes try to sell them something.
- Make sure your emails look professional, with a good header with your logo in, and a well-written email without grammar or spelling mistakes.
5. Affiliate marketing
If you have a large number of visitors to your website, you could sell them products made by other people as well as your own services, although generally people ted to stick to either selling an affiliate product or their own, the two may not mix that well.
Do I need to do marketing online?
Virtually all businesses need some form of digital marketing these days. It is the major way that people find services and products so should be a key part of your marketing strategy. The main movement at the moment is towards mobile marketing, because more and more people are accessing websites from via their mobile phones, so you need to make sure that your website is ‘responsive’ which means that it can be easily read on a mobile phone or tablet. Read more here about why you need a website.