It can seem like there are dozens of Internet marketing strategies available to you when you're trying to build a business presence and generate sales online.
You'll hear terms like search engine optimization, social media marketing, inbound links, article marketing, pay per click advertising, building email lists, blogging, guest blogging and many others. How do you know which is the best strategy for your business to focus on?
In truth, all these strategies can be highly effective - if they're done right. In fact, a good strategy will include a blend of all of the above.
But different business models require different strategies at different times. Are you business to consumer, or business to business? Are you a start-up, or a Fortune 500 company? Big budget or small? Do you sell a single product, or many? Is your business built on products or services?
All these questions will ultimately shape the strategy you adopt.
But let's start by boiling down the core elements of all Internet marketing strategies. Then we'll get into the specifics of various strategies, how they work, who should use them, and when they should be used.
Here's a quick breakdown of a few common online marketing strategies.
Note that these aren't all either/or strategies - many can be used together and complement each other quite well. Different strategies serve different purposes as part of your overall marketing game plan.
That's a quick look at some of the key strategies out there. Now let's examine what all good online marketing strategies have in common.
Getting traffic means getting a potential customer to interact with your marketing message. Usually when we talk about traffic, we're talking about visitors to your website.
Your website should be the central hub of your online marketing strategy. Traffic can also mean visitors to other branded areas on the Internet – your Facebook page, Twitter page or Youtube channel, for example.
But ultimately, no matter what avenues you're using, you want to expose your message to as many targeted visitors as possible.
Note the key word here: 'targeted.' You'll see many services offering to sell you thousands of website visitors, Twitter followers, or Youtube hits.
These are worth nothing to you if they aren't targeted - visitors who may actually be in your market and interested in buying from you. You can't sell to someone who has no interest in your product.
The idea of 'brand building' online may give a marketer a warm and fuzzy feeling, but ultimately your online marketing strategies must lead to sales or you're wasting your time and money.
While many online marketing strategies focus on building brand equity, which can be tough to track and relate directly to sales, you need to be keeping a close eye on the bottom line.
Some strategies are designed to run at a loss in the short term, then increase sales down the track (such as using pay per click ads to get people to sign up for a free newsletter, which you'll then use for long-term email marketing).
But ultimately, you have to assess your return on investment in the medium term and ask yourself if your strategy is leading to increased profits. If it isn't, it's time for a strategy change. Changing your target market's feelings about your brand is great, but it's only useful if it leads to a positive change in their actions. No action means no sales, which means no increase in profits.
How do you know if you're successful in the above to areas - traffic and conversions? By tracking and measuring everything, and examining the data.
No matter what kind of Internet marketing strategy you have in place, your success or failure will be largely determined by how well you can track data and respond to it as needed. That means tracking website visits, conversion rates for sales page, email sign-up rates, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, email marketing open rates, and everything else you can attach a number to.
If you don't have numbers, you won't know your return on investment – and that means you could be throwing money away.
In the past, businesses relied on 'outbound marketing' - forcing their marketing message out to potential consumers through one-way media like radio and TV.
The Internet and social media have changed all that. These days, customers and clients want to find the businesses they buy from on their own. They don't want a message shoved down their throat. They'd rather rely on their friends' recommendations or a Google search to find the best products.
Enter the art of 'inbound marketing' - getting customers to come to you.
Inbound marketing is tied closely to the concept of 'content marketing,' which is the central focus of what we do here at Premium Online Writing.
Content marketing is based on a simple principle: if you put great content out there on the web, people who consume that content will be more likely to buy something from you.
Content can mean articles, blog posts, videos, webinars, ebooks, or even software trials. Even a Twitter tweet or a Facebook status update counts as a piece of content.
It serves two purposes: it gets people to come to you (through search engines, social media and so on) and it warms them up to your brand and your products.
Content marketing needs to be a cornerstone element of any good Internet marketing strategy. The days of blasting out a message to the masses and expecting them to buy are long gone - effective Internet marketing strategies are all about pin-point targeting of your market and engagement through unique, top-quality content.
Check out the articles listed below for in-depth explanations and how-to guides built around the most brutally effective Internet marketing strategies.Related Articles:
Author: Tom McSherry
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