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No Marketing Manager can expect their company to survive these days without a comprehensive knowledge of Online Marketing. Whilst marketing on the Internet involves very similar principles, the means and methods are different and so we’ve produced this simple guide to introduce you to the basics of online marketing:
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is a way of promoting your business online by optimizing your website and its content for the Search Engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo. The companies that rank highest for certain search terms or ‘keywords’ get the greatest number of visitors. Clearly, there is immense competition for certain keywords but legitimate SEO techniques can help you outreach your competitors. Part of the SEO process is developing a great number of inbound links, these are like tiny testimonials from other relevant websites and the Search Engines see this as a sign of your credibility and boost your rankings.
Using Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, you can immediately begin advertising your products. But the important benefit of online advertising is that you are only marketing your goods or services to people that are looking for them! This vastly cuts your advertising budget immediately. What’s more, the response time from ad to sale is dramatically shortened, allowing you to see faster results.
Article Marketing is a very cost effective way of getting people to visit your website. It means placing high quality, relevant, well written articles on your website or submitting them to the best article sites. Articles are keyword rich, which means they attract people searching for your product/services. Articles serve two further purposes. First, they build your credibility online by demonstrating your expertise. Second, they provide lots of the inbound links we wrote about above.
Press Releases are similar, they are keyword rich, they provide inbound links but they also raise online profile. Just like offline PRs, don’t release unless you think it’s newsworthy.
Email marketing is often wrongly called ‘spam’. A well-written and thoughtful email marketing campaign should be aimed only at people that want to receive your messages. Like articles, fill them with informative and relevant content and keep the sales pitch gentle. Build credibility and rapport by offering something of value. Sending thousands of these messages costs nothing, which means that you can afford to pay for a good copywriter to create your emails for you.
It’s not a phase or a fad; Social Media Optimisation is the latest place to begin developing your online marketing. Facebook and BEBO allow ads, but better than this, you can give a face to your brand. Loyal customers can interact with you and offer direct feedback without the need for focus groups.
Blogging is a less formal way of article marketing and a great way to build a following. YouTube is a very popular way for people to communicate to thousands of people with a simple video. Releasing your ads on YouTube can cause them to spread across the world, so whilst you still pay production costs, your distribution costs rapidly shrink. Video Marketing is one of the latest and fastest growing sectors of the online marketing industry.
As with any good marketing campaign, your approach must be a blend of off and online marketing strategies. Combining all of these different parts of the online marketing picture will allow you to develop a dominant position in this new marketplace.