Internet marketing is the use of online methods of advertising, marketing, and generally promoting an organisation’s products or services. Examples of the methods used in Internet Marketing include search engine optimisation, social media marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing, online banner and classified advertising, press releases and suchlike.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a process, the result of which is to see a website listed in the top pages of results of the internet’s most important search engines when searches are initiated using given but carefully identified keywords.
SEO is necessary to gain maximum visibility and exposure of your website. There will be thousands (quite possibly hundreds of thousands) of websites that are related in some way to your business activity. So, optimising your website for the search engines will help you to appear higher in the search results of those engines, and to be listed above many or most (and quite possibly all) of your competitor sites when a viewer has searched using your chosen keywords.
You can see Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements at the top and on the right-hand side of the search result pages of the major search engine such as Google and Yahoo. This method of advertising is so called because the search engines place your ads in these positions in return for which you pay them an agreed fee each time that somebody clicks on your ad and is then taken to your website.
The fact is that you do not need to do this as such and indeed many successful campaigns have been run without including PPC marketing. However, if you are looking for ‘instant results’ this is where PPC scores. PPC is probably the fastest way of steering potential customers to an advertiser’s website. It appears in a search engine’s results almost immediately. Properly written PPC ads frequently will link a reader to the exact page of his interest and quite often they escalate the likelihood of a sale
Email marketing simply is the process of sending advertising campaigns, sales material, newsletters and suchlike to your target audiences via email. Your mail arrives on the desk of your customers and prospects almost instantaneously, and informs them about your new promotions and business developments etc. Done correctly this can help to develop a stronger business relationship with your customers. Done incorrectly, it can irreparably damage that same relationship.
The concept of email marketing may seem simple, but there are protocols and technicalities that should be considered to ensure that your emails do not go straight into a spam folder or even are deleted without being opened. Here are just a few of the things that you should NOT do (and we are only scratching the surface here).
- When sending HTML emails do NOT overuse images – many viewers will have images disabled.
- Do NOT make your email too ‘busy’ and do NOT provide too many choices – if you are including a call to action, then no more than one call per email.
- Do NOT launch any campaign without first running A/B tests.
- Do NOT send your mail to an uncategorised list of recipients. Intended recipients should have an interest in the subject of your mail. Take it a step further and send ‘one-to-one’ emails when you can (they can of course be automated).
- Do NOT send just one email. Many people will take action on perhaps a third email whereas they will ignore a single email but also……
- Do NOT overdo it – almost certainly you will know already how annoying can be a flood of unwanted mail which leads us nicely to the big No! No!………..
- DO NOT SPAM! DO NOT SPAM! DO NOT SPAM! Got it? DO NOT SPAM! This can get you blacklisted, banned, your account shut down or worse – apart from which it is simply bad manners and will not win you any friends!
Here are a few Do’s that you should consider applying to your campaigns. As with the previous question (What can kill an email marketing campaign?) we are only scratching the surface here.
- Ensure that your content is shareable. Wherever possible, include ‘share’ icons in your email so that readers who are interested in your topic can easily forward it to others whom they think may be interested, which will extend your email’s reach. It is important that you make this as easy and quick as possible for your audience.
- Plan your campaigns; do not just mail at random. Your emails always should be composed with your intended targets and your end goal in mind. If you are aiming at different audiences (i.e. in different sectors) then do rewrite or tweak your message to fit each different audience. ‘One size’ most certainly does not ‘fit all’.
- Follow a carefully prepared plan. One of the worst things you can do is send out hit and miss messages to a hit and miss schedule.
- Spend time developing, tweaking and reworking an attention-grabbing subject line. This is what will decide whether your email is read or is trashed without even being opened.
- Ensure that your emails can be scanned so that the reader gains an immediate sense of whether or not your message is something that he wants to read more fully. Your message could be one of hundreds sitting in the recipients Inbox and is likely to be binned rather than read if he has to wade through the entire thing to determine his interest.
- Include a call to action.
- Also bullet points to bring to the fore points of importance and interest etc.
- Do analyse data and statistics to determine how each email has performed, whether it has been shared, what are the conversion rates, whether it has been read at all or even been opened.
As I mentioned above, these are just a very few of the many things you should take into account when preparing and running email campaigns.
Link popularity is simply a calculation of the number of links received by your website from other popular websites. A link from an authority website will carry more weight in the eyes of the search engines and will add credibility to your website. This in turn helps your website to achieve a higher ranking by the search engines.
There are three reasons in particular why link popularity is important.
Firstly, it is an established fact that many web surfers will move to a new page, by clicking a link that they see on any page that they happen to be viewing at that time. So, carefully created links to your site, on other pages, undoubtedly increase the likelihood of visits to your site.
Secondly, and as I have previously stated, search engines love links to your site from other authority sites and so your search engine rankings will increase in line with increases in your link popularity. Thus your website will be seen by more viewers, creating an increase in traffic which also helps to improve your search engine rankings but also has the potential to increase sales.
Finally, the higher your link popularity is, the easier it is for the search engine’s web spiders to find your website. Also, they are likely to visit more frequently with the overall result that your site will remain indexed and retain its position for much longer.
Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing wherein affiliates are rewarded by businesses or individuals, usually by payment of a commission, for introducing buyers of their products via the affiliate’s own marketing effort. Commissions can range from less than 5% (albeit rarely) to as much as 100% of the selling price of the product although in internet marketing 50% commission is generally the lowest acceptable rate of commission.
Affiliate marketing can overlap with other internet marketing methods because affiliates may promote their principal’s product(s) via other ‘standard’ advertising methods such as perhaps e-mail marketing, banner and display advertising, content marketing etc.
Affiliate marketing often is, but should not be confused with referral marketing, which is something entirely different.
Good question, simple answer. Of course, you might well think that is stupid in that if the principal pays 100% of the sale price as a commission, he is taking a loss each time a sale is made. In the short term, that is true – to a certain extent. But, cock-eyed as it may seem, the business owner is willing to lose on that (the first) sale to any new customer/client in the belief that he will recoup his loss (and more) on subsequent sales.
Commissions of 100% are more suited to, and more often found in the world of digital products where, in a nutshell, the vendor is paying to obtain the purchaser’s email address. That address usually will be verified as a ‘live’ address before delivery of the purchased product and future offers will be sent to that address. Bear in mind also that production costs of digital products are virtually NIL after the first one. So it is more a matter of forgoing profit than building losses.
Basically, affiliate marketing is driven purely by financial motivation and reward whereas referral marketing is more about personal relationships and trust.
In affiliate marketing, the affiliate does not know the prospective buyer and (for example) they would not socialise out of work or have any knowledge of the other’s personal circumstances. The affiliate marketer basically casts his net as wide as he can and of course will sell to anyone who wishes to buy.
Referral marketing however, is more a matter of recommending the principal or his products to the referrer’s family, friends, workmates and other contacts. Basically anyone known to the referrer.
Affiliate marketing often is not given the attention it deserves by sellers and advertisers. Usually search engines, email marketing, classified advertising etc. are uppermost in their minds. But affiliate marketing is responsible for billions of dollars of sales globally and is (or should be) a significant element in any online retailer’s strategy.
Comparison shopping marketing is the act of placing your products (using carefully chosen keywords) on websites that can quickly feature your product and bring customers. A few examples of these sites are Shopzilla, Shopping.com, Bizrate and NexTag.
Online shoppers these days often use comparison shopping websites to help them to secure the best prices but also because these sites allow them to browse and compare items on one page, instead of constantly moving backwards and forwards between different pages. This is much easier than going to individual websites. Getting your products onto these pages raises your visibility and increases the chances of sales.
This can be a little confusing, because in each case, your advertisements are placed on other sites to be seen by people who may be visiting those sites. However…
Pay Per Click (a.k.a. Cost Per Click)
In pay per click advertising, the ad appears on the chosen website for all visitors to see and many people will see it, but will not click on it. In other words, they will read your ad but will move on without clicking on the ad to visit your website and/or to gain more information. But as soon as someone does click on the ad, then the advertiser is charged an agreed amount – usually just a few cents. Whilst you can get some free exposure if a reader does not actually click on your ad, this may not have a lot of value in that probably the viewer does not have a great deal of interest in the subject of your ad. The cost per click that will be paid is agreed between the two parties before the advertiser submits his ad to be placed on the receiving website.
Pay Per Impression (a.k.a. Cost Per Mille)
An impression is in effect the appearing of your ad on the host’s web page when someone visits that page. Each time that the page bearing your ad is visited, that visit counts as one impression. You are paying for the fact that someone has visited the page bearing your ad, irrespective of whether or not the visitor clicks on your ad, and irrespective of whether or not the visitor has even seen your ad. Pricing usually is agreed at a rate per 1,000 impressions – hence cost per mille. So, in summary, you are paying an agreed fee for your advertisement to appear before each batch of 1,000 visitors, irrespective of whether or not they see your ad or click on it.
Content marketing is a wide-ranging term covering the creation and distribution of content designed to attract and engage existing, as well as potential customers and clients. It sets out to deliver information of high-quality which is of relevance and value to its audience and for example could be the release of hitherto proprietary information to a targeted audience. Or it could be the creation of entirely new information which is shared scatter-gun style via any suitable media.
Forms of content marketing may include newsletters, e-books, articles, how-to guides, website pages, webinars, webcasts and podcasts, videos, magazines, digital content, white papers, case-studies, even roadshows and events and other informative and educational material. The intention is not so much to ‘sell’ product there and then, but rather to inform a clearly-defined, target audience about important issues in the industry and develop brand recognition as a leader and expert in the subject field.
NO! Content marketing and advertising differ in two essential ways:
- Content marketing is delivered via owned or earned media whereas advertising is delivered on media space that has been purchased. As soon as the publication, broadcast or other form of delivery of any content or message is paid for, it becomes advertising.
- These are two different (push and pull) strategies. Content marketing is intended to attract and pull in an audience leading ultimately to business growth, whereas advertising pushes the product and the business name out into the world and in front of its audience and the wider public in general.
And before you ask, earned media is simply free media or publicity that has been gained through promotional efforts other than advertising.
Blog marketing is any process of publicising or advertising a website, a business, a brand or a service via blogging media. This may include banners or other advertising on blogs. For example, the blogger’s own review and recommendation on his blog, comments, advertising and recommendations on third party blogs and syndication across other blogs.
Advertisements may appear on blogs as banners, animations, streaming video, audio clips, text links or even plain text. The owner of the blog will normally receive a payment or some form of recompense for such advertising. This normally will be linked to readership numbers and the owners of popular blogs are able to capitalise in various ways on their readership numbers.
Cost Per Action Marketing, also known as Cost Per Acquisition Marketing, is a style of online affiliate marketing where publishers (affiliates) receive a commission when a specific action is completed by a third party as a direct result of their marketing. The specific action could be the submission of an email address or a telephone number in order to receive some free information or product. Alternatively it might be an action such as the filling out of a form, signing up to receive a newsletter, agreeing to receive a quotation etc. CPA marketing differs from mainstream affiliate marketing in that usually (but not always) the third party is not required to make a purchase – i.e. commissions normally are based on lead generation.