The term “internet marketing” has become associated with a broad range of topics in recent years. For many, it literally means only what it says: “marketing on the internet”, in which case it is seen as synonymous with “digital marketing” and “online marketing”. For others, however, it has come to be associated more specifically with the worlds of affiliate marketing, information products, and the “make money online” niche. For our purposes, we’ll lean more towards the former and will settle on the following definition:
Internet marketing is the use of internet properties and traffic to generate leads, sales, or brand awareness. This is typically done via search engine visibility, social media marketing, email marketing, and various forms of paid advertising.
One of the best ways to begin understanding internet marketing is to break down the various goals a business can seek to accomplish with it. The ultimate end goal of marketing is, of course, revenue. With that in mind, we can certainly classify sales as a primary goal of internet marketing and many businesses do focus on sending traffic directly to paid offers, whether digital product sales pages or physical product pages in an eCommerce store. However, for many businesses, sales remain a distant, long term goal. A more common immediate or short-term goal of internet marketing, however, is lead generation. By using the internet to affordably collect leads rather than make individual sales, a business can then use their lead list to continue marketing for free (or close to free) to potential customers from that point forward with the expectation that multiple future sales will increase the average lifetime value of each lead and result in a greater long-term ROI from each dollar spent on marketing.
Lead generation for an online business might consist simply of building an email list, perhaps with customer names associated as well. Lead generation for an eCommerce business or local “offline” business might also include physical mailing addresses and phone numbers so they can follow up in other ways such as telemarketing or mailing out catalogues and special offers. Other businesses might pursue even more robust lead data such as business information like industry categories or number of employees in the case of B2B marketing, or income ranges and family size in the case of higher-ticket B2C models like insurance sales or real-estate. Since lead generation is often seen as the most common and multi-faceted immediate goal of internet marketing, the entirety of chapter three will be devoted to the various methods and forms of lead generation.
Finally, another immediate goal of internet marketing is growing brand awareness and familiarity. For many businesses, this might consist of spending large amounts on banner advertisements or video ads primarily for the purpose of getting their brand name, logo, or unique selling proposition (USP) in front of as many eyes as possible as many times as possible. The idea here is to increase top-of-mind awareness so that the potential customer will think of the brand in future situations when they need that specific need fulfilled. For example, when a fast food chain airs ads on television, it’s not because they expect people to immediately hop in the car and go buy a burger because of it. It’s because they want you to think of their restaurant next time you clock-out for your lunch break and are deciding what to eat. The internet marketing equivalent of this might be an online tax service heavily investing in banner ads and video ads in December and January, not because they think people will suddenly start doing their taxes early, but because in April when 90% of Americans do their taxes at the last minute, their brand will be the first one they remember. Other forms of brand awareness might simply consist of frequent social media posting. Companies know that constantly seeing their brand image in their followers’ newsfeeds or Twitter feeds accomplishes that same top-of-mind awareness as well as other emotional associations with their brand such as loyalty, pride, good will, and humor
Internet Marketing Methods
Regardless of whether your intended destination for traffic is a sales page, a lead page, or simply a piece of content, the potential internet marketing methods are manifold. We’ll cover the most common ones here.
Using an autoresponder service to send out promotional emails or automated sequences in order to drive sales.
Paying to make your ad appear as a search engine result prominently above or below organic search engine results.
Various on-site and off-site practices and factors to make your web properties rank higher in search results.
Placing banner image ads, video ads, or simple textual ads in front of web traffic on a variety of websites.
Individual Site Ads
Approaching websites on an individual basis and securing ad space.
Social Media Marketing
Using paid or organic methods to build a social following and drive traffic from social networks.
Promoting your business or products using paid and organic video content on video sharing sites, social networks, or ad networks.
Publishing useful, non-promotional content in order to build goodwill, credibility, and brand recognition.
Old School Methods
Less common methods including blog commenting, video commenting, and forum posting which can be useful when used sparingly and not abused.
So, you’ve just sat through one of the most detailed and up to date internet marketing guides available. But guess what? Everything you’ve learned here counts for nothing if you don’t immediately start applying it. Have a look at the battle plan below and start implementing these steps today.
Step 1: Determine your most important internet marketing goals.
Step 2: Choose 2 or 3 marketing methods to focus on.
Step 3: Acquire the necessary tools to employ those methods.
Step 4: Start implementing your internet marketing strategy immediately.