Day 22: Introduction to Online Marketing

“Content is king, but marketing is queen and runs the household.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

When you have your content planned out and you’ve started writing quality content, it’s time to think about to market it.  Ten to twelve years ago, online marketing was relatively easier as the number of websites and quality content sources were less.  Search engines and people were able to find good websites quite easily, without much marketing effort.  But now the situation is different.  There are billions of websites out there and to get your website seen through this crowd is quite difficult.

This is where marketing comes into the picture.  If you want to make an income from your website, online marketing is a must.  That is the only way you can make your online business stand out amid the crowd of other similar websites out there.  There are thousands of businesses vying for people’s attention, and if you are not intentional in marketing it, your business will not be visible to your target audience.  This translates to lesser traffic and in turn a low sales turnover.

Online Marketing

Content + Strategic marketing = More Visibility

While good content does play a major part in the success of your business, it is not sufficient.  Content marketing has to be coupled with other marketing strategies to get potential customers to notice your online business.

There are several ways of marketing online but I’m going to restrict the list to only the most essential online marketing techniques.

Online Marketing Strategies

1. Social Media Marketing

A lot of business establishments (big and small) all over the world now have an active social media presence.  Marketing specialists have figured out that since a huge percentage of the the world’s population is now on social media, it is one of the most effective ways to market.  With the advent of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc., if your business is not on any of them, you are missing out on a valuable marketing opportunity.

You can go the free route and just connect with your users, or you can opt for sponsored stories to reach a larger audience on a social media channel.  This kind of marketing is not restricted to social media sites alone, but also includes forums and other niche specific networks.  The idea is to get your target audience to follow you through any of these channels, so you can actively engage with them and market your services.

2. Organic Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a must for any website to be seen by people who search for it online.  If your content is optimized well, it will be picked up by search engines when customers search for the service your provide online.  Unless you’re paying for an SEO specialist to work on your website, this type of marketing is essentially free.

The aim is to get your website into the first page of search results.  Let’s face it, most of us never click over to the second page of search results.  So, if your website is ranked well by search engines and it turns up in the top few search results, people will flock to your online business.  {Look out for a detailed post about SEO tomorrow.}

3. Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing

Have you noticed that when you use a search engine, you end up with a few ad links on the top of your search results (and on the side)?  That’s pay per click marketing.  Businesses have paid the search engines to place their links on top of the search results, every time a user has a query related to their business.

You can opt for PPC marketing if you have a decent marketing budget and you want to target a larger audience.  You will essentially be paying a small amount to the search engine company every time a user clicks on one of your paid links.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a bit more personal than the previous three marketing strategies.  Here you send the people who are already interested in your business regular updates, special offers and other news that may be beneficial to them.  You must first offer something interesting to get users to sign up for your email updates, though.  It could be a free ebook, a discount coupon, access to a free course, etc.

When you have a collection of email addresses, you can set up an email program to send out newletters to those who have signed up.  You can use Feedburner to send the content of your website to subscribers as and when it is published.  You could also setup a service such as MailChimp to send weekly or monthly newsletters and keep people engaged with your online business.

5. Video Marketing

YouTube is the second most popular search engine online, even though it is just a video channel.  We don’t search for music videos alone there.  It is one place we go to when we aren’t sure how to do something – be it understanding a mathematical formula, cooking a new recipe, fixing a piece of furniture or installing a complicated plugin.

Videos are now becoming an essential tool to reach people.  So, don’t underestimate the use of videos as a medium to attract more people to your site.  You can create how-to videos, video courses, or even video ads to project your business to your target market.

6. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing

According to Wikipedia, Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.  You basically set up an affiliate program for the product or service you want to market.  You will then have to offer a commission (say 20-25%) of the product value to partner websites who use your affiliate link to send people your way.

For example, let’s say I am selling an ebook titled “SEO Marketing 101” for $10 on my website.  I set up an affiliate program wherein affiliate websites are paid $2 for each successful sale.  Assume a website (www.abcaffiliate.com) joins the affiliate program and they promote my book it to their audience using their affiliate link.  So, when a customer visits wwwabcaffiliate.com, they see the book image there, find it interesting, follow the link and end up purchasing it.  So now, I make a sales of $10 and after paying out the commision of $2, I still have make a profit of $8.

Affiliate marketing is a win-win situation for everybody.  You get more traffic and more sales, and the affiliate website gets a commission in the process.  You could either have your own affiliate program set up or join major affiliate networks such as Clickbank.comCommission JunctionShareASale and LinkShare.

7. Ad Campaigns

Advertisements are always a great way to market your business.  You can contact websites that people in your target audience frequently visit and check out the rates for advertising on their site.  Ads are usually in the form or either text ads or banner ads.

You will have to may a fixed amount to the website where you’d like to advertise and they will keep your ad going for the prescribed period of time.  Another alternative to directly advertising on a website is to go through an ad publishing network such as TextLinkAds.com.  These networks act as a mediator and place ads on third party websites on your behalf, in exchange for a small commission.

8. Word of Mouth Marketing

With all the technical marketing strategies mentioned above, let’s not forget word of mouth marketing.  This is where your existing customers are so happy with your business that they become marketers.  When your current clients are thrilled with your service, they will share it with their friends and associates, thereby bringing in more clients for your business.

For this to work, you have to be intentional in sharing relevant information about your product, maintaining connections with your present customers and connecting with prospective clients.  A good relationship between your business and your clients, coupled with a quality service/product is essential for word of mouth marketing to be effective.

This article has barely scratched the surface of online marketing, but we’ll be sharing more in detail even after this series is over.  So, stay tuned!

Today's Action Step: Go through the list above and note down which marketing strategies will work for your online business.

Click here to catch up on all the posts in this series.