Monday, 30 July 2012

What is internet marketing?

Weird & wonderful  world wide web

Let's kick off with a brilliant definition from Wikipedia: "Internet marketing, also known as web marketingonline marketingwebvertising, or e-marketing, is referred to as the marketing (generally promotion) of products or services over the Internet. Internet marketing is considered to be broad in scope because it not only refers to marketing on the Internet, but also includes marketing done via e-mail and wireless media.

If I might add to this clear definition, I'd also mention inbound marketing, which includes blogs, podcasts, videos, e-newsletters, free ebooks and social media strategies. However - now standing on a soapbox - it doesn't include irritating sales pitches on LinkedIn masquerading as conversations. 

I monitor Twitter like a hawk and lately there has been a flurry of tweets about top marketing strategies. (Why not 10? With my copywriting hat on, it seems a tad unfair as I've always had to sweat out 10 items for each list I have ever been commissioned to write). 

Step 1: Create a keyword strategy
Step 2: Optimize your website
Step 3: Create blog and other content               
Step 4: Promote content & participate in social media
Step 5: Convert site traffic into leads
Step 6: Nurture leads with email marketing
Step 7: Be mobile friendly
Step 8: Analyze and refine strategies.

I lost count of how many marketing professionals have incorporated these steps in various ebooks and white papers, If somebody knows who invented these, feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below.  In the meantime I will go through them as fast as we can both get our quick fix. 

Step 1: I covered keywords in What is SEO?, but since it was a whistle-stop tour, I'm sure I will be covering keywords again. It's bound to happen, with Google constantly preening its algorithms.

Step 2 and Step 3, I'd do a swap here. I'd create the quality content first, using the keywords (sparingly), then inserting a few selected keywords in the source, as explained here. Re blogging, I will soon talk about it in my next post, so watch this space!

Step 4 is straightforward enough; take your website and hit the social media trail. It really depends what you are selling. If you haven't time to read heaps of ebooks, this is the usual advice: Facebook is best for B2C, LinkedIn and Twitter for B2B. The difference between LinkedIn and Twitter is immediacy - Twitter disseminates knowledge at the speed of light while LinkedIn is more useful to build relationships/authority while ruminating at leisure on a variety of topics. What about Pinterest? Well, it's definitely covering more bases than when it started as some firms are now pinning infographics - so it's only about pretty pics then.

Step 5 Ah, here is the challenge. Even if you are top cat in Google, it doesn't necessarily follow that visitors will buy your wares... I'm afraid here old-fashioned sales and marketing principles still stand. There are companies who sell this kind of service if you have a budget for this, but if you don't then it's all hands to the social media pump. Don't spread yourself too thinly, engage with potential customers and solve their problems. Many companies start by offering free advice, free ebooks, free consultations, the choice is yours!

Step 6 Let's be honest here, email marketing is the 21st century equivalent of junk mail. The challenge is to give your potential customers something they trust and/or are happy to get for free, whether information or a product sample. Well-targeted information does work - for instance, in the baby market, registered users get emails about child development, child nutrition, child health, anything really that put a commercial product into a parenting contest. And when your customer loves receiving your informative emails, you know you have hit the right note and sales will hopefully follow.

Step 7 If you are worried about how your website displays on mobiles, Google Analytics can give you a helping hand. Mobile is huge, but again it depends who your customers are, so if your target market doesn't dig smartphones, you are wasting your time.

Step 8 Sounds like an add-on to make a round number, does it? A bit like the number 10 in many top 10s, when it's obvious the writer couldn't think of yet another catchy point. However, scratch below the cliche' and you will find that analyzing your website at regular intervals makes sense. There are plenty of free analytical and organizational products for websites and social media tools. Subscribe to geeky/techy newsletters and you will know them all in a jiffy. Or follow me on Twitter, I post  DIY and free web tools nearly every day under my moniker @simonecas.

Here I sign off. Have a mull. Next post will be about blogging.

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