Our 8 part guide on all aspects of SEO, from how search engines work to the effects of UI and UX.
With the internet having become the most dominant marketplace, no business can afford not to have an online presence. This also means that extra effort must be applied as it is a highly competitive environment that has a flood of businesses of all types. A good strategy and adequate investment are needed for businesses to properly leverage this form of marketing to their advantage.
Also known as digital or web marketing, online marketing makes it possible to reach out to target audiences through various web-based channels. Organizations can more easily convey their message concerning their products, services, and brands in hopes of gaining more visibility and securing more sales. It uses a blend of creative flair and data measurement in creating its messages through various formats and delivering them via different online channels.
There are many niches within this segment and most businesses lack the resources to effectively tap into the potential of everyone. This makes it ideal for businesses to focus their online marketing efforts on channels and media that best appeal to their target audiences and can deliver a good return on investment. Here are some of the key types of online marketing businesses may consider and a summary of how they work.
Types of Online Marketing
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Most online users will make use of search engines such as Google to find information on the products, services they are looking for. It is therefore vital for businesses to ensure they can be easily found, by optimising their websites to conform to the guidelines set out by each search engine.
Websites at the top of the rankings are much more likely to attract more search visitors. Note that online users rarely go beyond the first few pages of search results. This is why businesses embrace SEO services as a means to build rank that will make their platforms and the content on them more visible.
The content on these platforms should be fine-tuned or optimised to appeal to search engines first so that they will grant that top ranking that is being sought after. The main goal is to attract organic traffic as this is where visitors with the highest intent are found. There are multiple aspects to SEO including:
- On-page SEO– This relates to the content on the business website and how it is presented. Incorporating correct high ranking and related keywords within the content is key. So is understanding what kind of information the target audience will want and ensuring answers can be easily found on the site.
- Off-page SEO– This activity seeks to direct online traffic from other platforms to the main website. Backlinks are created within the content on other platforms that are related to what the business offers. The purpose of the content should be to help in boosting brand awareness, share valuable information and link to a relevant webpage on the business site.
- Technical SEO– As the name suggests, this refers to the more technical aspects of building a website like coding and layout. It is a vital concern that addresses user experience on the website. How fast and easily a visitor can navigate between pages and find the information they want matters. The more satisfied they are with their online experience, the more likely they are to return and recommend it.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media platforms receive billions of visits from online visitors each day, often several times a day. As one of the most visited online channels, they provide an excellent opportunity to not just share content with target audiences, but also interact with them. Channel such as Facebook Ads provides an easy means by which to cultivate a following and direct them to the main website and e-commerce platforms.
Consistent engagement is required to be successful at SMM. Many businesses may need to hire a social media manager that can not only keep updating content but also monitor and respond to conversations quickly. This can apply to conversations both on the businesses accounts and on other feeds. Choose and focus on platforms where you are most likely to find your target market.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing is a blanket term for different methods of getting your business noticed on the search engines like Google. Depending on whom you ask, SEO falls under the SEM umbrella, although others believe that SEM refers to paid marketing methods only.
There are various subcategories of SEM, which include:
- Search Advertising
Search ads (sometimes referred to as PPC) are displayed online on search engines, while they can also be found on social media platforms. You will only pay for Search ads whenever somebody clicks on one of your ads, hence the name. Not only will it usually cost just a few cents for each click, but PPC ads can also be very highly targeted, making them cost-effective.
The most popular form of Search ads is Google Ads which, as the name suggests, show up as paid ads on Google search results. This helps you to get to the top of Google right away, which would otherwise take time and investment with SEO. Search ads are shown according to which keywords you select, and you can choose how closely you want search terms to match your keywords.
- Display Ads
Display Ads or Banner Ads, can also be set up through the Google Ads platform and have a variety of targeting options based on a user’s profile or interests.
Display banners can be a great way to promote your brand and services at a low cost. Like with Search Ads you can choose to pay only when someone clicks on the banner and visits your webpage.
There are many ways to target your audience on Display ads, depending on how broad or niche you want to go. One method of targeting which is very popular is remarketing. Remarketing allows you to target users who have previously visited a page on your website or application and is typically a very high-performing campaign/audience.
This involves the creation of content that can be shared through your various online marketing channels. You need to identify the kind of content that will appeal and be of value to your target audience and develop a strategy on when and how to distribute it. Whether it is on your blog or Instagram account, content must be continually added for search engines to be attracted and hold the attention of your target audience.
There are different kinds of content you can regularly generate including articles, infographics, tutorials, videos, podcasts, and long-form content like eBooks. Utilizing a mix of these and other types of content can help add variation and interest to your content. This content is what you can share in the same or different ways across your channels including the main business website, e-commerce platforms, blogs, social media and more.
Online users regularly check on their email accounts, making it a worthwhile marketing tool for businesses. It is used to keep potential and existing customers updated on news regarding, products, events, promotions and so on. The content within the message will also include links to the website and other channels. This makes email marketing another helpful tool in directing more traffic to your platforms. It can also be used to encourage subscription to newsletters to following on social media sites. It is a great way to encourage repeat business and nurture customer relations.
Benefits of Online Marketing
The above are just some of the major types of online marketing that businesses pursue to appeal to online audiences. It is not an exhaustive list. Each type even has its own specialists that can be hired to fully exploit opportunities. But why bother making this investment?
Compared to traditional forms of advertising like billboards, television and newspaper ads, online marketing is far more affordable. Perhaps this is also why it is more competitive as SMEs can just as effectively use it to make their presence known as larger organizations. All kinds of businesses can invest according to their means and still manage to build a strong following and visibility in their niche.
Online marketing accommodates a variety of marketing channels and content that can be shared in different ways, both non-paid and paid. These many options give businesses plenty of opportunities to connect with their target audiences and meet their needs. This flexibility also helps make this an affordable form of marketing that can be tailored to accommodate whatever budget.
The performance of different types of marketing can be measured through analytics. This makes it easy to determine what kind of return you are truly getting on your investment. Tracking this performance helps businesses determine if they are applying the right online marketing strategy and if they should consider making changes. As they optimize their choices, with time they should arrive at the right mix of channels and content that will bring them a good return.
Traditional forms of marketing were much more limited in connecting with specific audiences. It was often difficult to guarantee that most of the viewership of your promotion would belong to your target audience. With online marketing, it is easier to target desired audiences as there is often access to their demographic information such as location, age, gender, and interests. And with ongoing interactions, even more, information is gathered to better tailor ads. This makes it easier for businesses to identify strong leads and secure conversions.
Overall, online marketing cannot be done without in today’s marketplace. Businesses need it to not just build brand awareness, but also keep engaging with their clients. It is the best way to connect with target audiences and monitor how well the brand is doing. It is also now becoming the best place to sell products through e-commerce platforms and even social media. More people and organisations are opting to make purchases remotely, meaning it has become key to sales growth.