Internet marketing is the process of marketing individuals, companies, organizations, events, ideas, information, products and services over the internet. Internet Marketing is used for marketing online / internet businesses as well as traditional and local businesses and organizations and it takes many different forms of marketing. As a marketing process or marketing channel includes online marketing, search engine marketing, email marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing and many other different marketing channels, approaches and tactics including paid advertising online.
In addition the strategy includes different internet marketing tactics and strategies such as web development, SEO or search engine optimization, continuous content development and social media networking. In addition, businesses and individuals who sell their products and services over the internet are engaged in electronic commerce or e-commerce.
The major benefits are:
– lead generation
– direct sales or e-commerce
– affiliate marketing
Internet Marketing allows smaller companies to compete with large competitors by utilizing the latest internet marketing strategies and tactics. Internet Marketing is also very effective for niche marketing because it allows niche marketers to reach a large targeted audience with specific and unique needs and preferences. Internet Marketing has been proven as a successful marketing approach for both local and global marketers.
Lead Generation Online
The ultimate goal of Internet Marketing is driving targeted visitors or potential prospects to your website. Lead Generation Online is not different than any other traditional lead generation channel. The organic SEO and Internet Marketing offer marketers a “free lead generation” alternative.
Unlike paid advertising online or PPC (pay per click) advertising, organic SEO and internet marketing have huge long-term benefits for companies because once they achieve a good search engine ranking they will benefit from continuous lead generation in long term. For example, once you rank your website on first page of the major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo for an important keyword for your business you have created an ongoing free lead generation for your business.
Critical for successful and effective lead generation online is using the right keywords for your business. There are keywords that will easily generate traffic to your website but those visitors might not be the leads and prospects you need to take the desired action. What you need is specific and actionable keywords for your business. Keyword Analysis is the critical step in your online marketing campaigns because this step will make all the difference between successful internet marketing and poor marketing online. Working with keywords that are not actionable for your business means wasting your time, financial and non-financial resources.
Know what you want and define your goal! The goal of any successful lead generation is leading the prospect to take the desired action. Desired action as defined by the business might be different things depending on the stage in the marketing process and the type of marketing campaign. For example, a desired action might be for the prospect to fill out an opt-in form or download a white paper or call customer service for more product info or request a sample or simply placing an order online or making a purchase. Effective internet marketing should be organized in a way to lead and motivate the prospect to take the desired action.
Understanding the logic behind the search engines is critical for developing and implementing successful internet marketing. Search engines evaluate websites based on many factors by using complex algorithms. All these factors or variables used by search engines can be grouped as internal and external factors. The internal factors include the quality of the website content and the keywords used – in addition technical factors such as use of html meta tags are also considered. However from a marketer perspective the most important internal factors are quality of the content, targeting the most appropriate keywords and the frequency of updating new content. Now, let’s take a look at the external factors. From a marketer’s perspective the most important external factor is the popularity of the website. Search engines measure popularity by the number of “votes” or links to your website such as links from social sharing, social bookmarking, blogging, micro blogging, etc. These external factors are very important because developing high quality content for your website won’t help you unless you are able to spread the word around and build popularity by using social media marketing.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is very effective! Every business needs to develop a social media marketing strategy and take advantage of social media networking sites. In many cases, social media marketing might be the only marketing required for a small business. For large organizations social media marketing is a very powerful addition to the current integrated marketing communications.
Social Networking Sites
There are many social networking sites available today. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Digg allow users to share information about any product, service, information, event, idea and anything about any type of business. Social media should be viewed as an integrated marketing communication platform which requires appropriate marketing strategy, plan and execution. Many business people see social media marketing as a collection of tools and applications that are mostly free and available 24/7 and they skip the marketing strategy planning process – in such a case social media marketing will not deliver the expected results.
Companies with established social media marketing strategy will succeed in delivering the expected results. The most important part of your internet marketing plan and strategy is delivering a consistent message and building an online presence on a continuous basis. Continuous and persistent effort will deliver results. The disadvantage of social media marketing and internet marketing in general is that it is a time consuming process and it requires adequate company resources allocated to a continuous marketing project. Beginners in social media marketing are generally very excited because of all the available free social media applications and tools out there but unfortunately most of them will give up after a few blog posts and engagements because they do not see immediate results. Social media marketing is a long term process.
Spreading the Word: Social Sharing, Social Bookmarking and Viral Marketing
Social Media Tools allow users to share information online with other social media users, bookmark and share their favorite websites and spread the word through Viral Marketing. Users share information with their friends, coworkers and anyone online. In addition search engines monitor the social media networking sites so those websites which have many bookmarks, mentions and links online will rank higher in the search engine results.
Successful viral marketing can bring hundreds or even thousands of visitors to your website. Viral marketing begins with creating a viral message which has an appeal to social media users. Effective viral message will be spread through all social media networks and your website will get noticed by search engines helping you rank higher on the major search engines.
Internet Marketing Model
What are the Critical Success Factors for your Internet Marketing?
1. Website Content
High quality content and relevant information for your target market. Do your prospects see you as a go to source for their needs?
2. Social Networking
Spread the Word! Share, engage, inform, help, interact, create community.
3. Search Engine Ranking
The more networking online the higher the number of links to your website which helps your website rank higher in search engine results.
4. Internet Marketing as an Ongoing Process
Most internet marketing and social media marketing campaigns fail because they lack an ongoing marketing and networking process. Mainly because companies start internet marketing without clear strategic marketing plan and without dedicated resources (time, people, expertise and internet marketing budget).
5. Branding and Identity
Be yourself, be open, friendly and helpful. Share useful information, tips and resources with your community. This will grow your online networks and grow your business.