This year, the number of internet users grew 7% from 2017 levels to more than 4 billion. This represents more than half of the world population of 7.7 billion. So whatever your product, you need the internet (like you didn’t know right?….).
Whichever age group or sex you are targeting, the internet is important. Whichever country you are selling your goods and services in, you can’t do without the internet. That is why internet marketing has become so important today. You can no longer rely only on the legacy marketing tools. Doing outdoor advertisements or TV and newspaper ads are not enough anymore, and in many cases too expensive and not profitable.
Benefits of Internet Marketing
Table of Contents
- 1 Benefits of Internet Marketing
- 2 The Components of Internet Marketing
- 3 The Importance of Tracking in Internet Marketing
- 4 Tools for Internet Marketing
- 5 Final Thoughts:
There are several benefits of internet marketing over traditional marketing. These are few of the most important ones:
- With internet marketing, you are not bound geographically. Your Facebook profile is not being seen only by people in your hometown. Some across the globe can also see and hear what you are saying. This was not possible earlier.
- A lot of aspects of internet marketing are available at low cost or no cost. You might have to spend money to buy a domain name. But it costs nothing to write a blog or send an email. There are a large number of free tools available which you can use.
- When you use the platforms like Google and Facebook, you also get easy ways to track your results. You can analyze these results quickly and accurately to understand how to improve your strategy. The easy measurement and tracking of results makes your marketing more effective.
- Internet marketing allows you to segment your target audience and design offerings accordingly. This saves on effort, time, and of course money.
- Earlier, placing a newspaper ad used to be for a fixed day or days of a week. An outdoor hoarding would be booked for weeks or months, or any finite period. A magazine ad could be booked for a particular issue or for a certain number of issues. But internet marketing would be working for you 24×7 across the world.
- When your company puts up a hoarding outside a mall, you would have no clue about the people who looked at it, or the people who were influenced by it. Any internet marketing campaign allows you to get rich data about the people who took a look at it. You would also get data about the conversions due to your campaign. This would allow you to understand the campaign’s effectiveness. It would also help you decide how to fine-tune the campaign.
- The life cycle of an internet marketing campaign is much shorter than a traditional marketing campaign. You can set up and initiate a marketing campaign very quickly. As soon as your first wave is over, you can track your results and fine-tune for the next wave. This makes your efforts more dynamic.
Let us look at all the aspects of internet marketing now.
The Components of Internet Marketing
The challenge, as well as the opportunity of internet marketing, is the same. There are many facets to an internet marketing strategy. You can choose to pursue a few of them or you could use all the aspects in the right proportion. This might make it challenging for some, but if rightly used, the different components of internet marketing offer so much more opportunity. Let us look at the six of these.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Whenever a person has to look for information on the internet, he or she takes use of a search engine. Search engines use bots or algorithms to crawl across webpages. It does this to find the most pertinent matches for the phrase or word which has been searched for. SEO is the science (and art) of designing the web content accordingly. This ensures that the webpage comes up at the top of the search engine results page. This needs the content of a webpage or a blog to be curated accordingly. This is called search engine optimization. Check out my previous post onGoogle’s top 50 ranking factors for organic SEO.
2. Pay per Click (PPC) Marketing
In Pay per click, advertisers put in bids for their advertisements, and then pay for the number of clicks received. They could choose between search ads and display ads. In search ads, the advertisement would be shown as part of results when the same keyword is searched for.
3. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Out of the 7.7 billion people under the sun, there are more than 3 billion people who have used social media in 2018 till date. That is why there is no way an internet marketer can avoid social media. Internet marketing on social media can be done organically or as paid posts. The benefit of internet marketing on social media is that it is interactive. This gives you the scope to generate engagement and initiate conversations about your brands. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or even LinkedIn, your brand can gain immensely from social media marketing.
4. Email Marketing
To be fair, email marketing has been around for several years. But in its initial years, it only consisted of getting hold of hundreds and thousands of email ids. Then a standard email was shot off to all those email ids. Over the years such push emails brought in fatigue for the readers. Most such emails were not even opened. Some were deleted after reading. Now email marketing has become much more sophisticated. The mailing list is more elegantly created. Artificial intelligence and social media interactions are used to come up with more useful mailing lists. Often the content of these emails is also customized.
5. Content Marketing
In any modern internet marketing setup, contents are a very important part. You can run a successful content marketing campaign by creating blogs, guest posts, press releases, and there are many more options.
The benefits of having a regular blog are many. Well-written blogs give you the opportunity of gradually becoming a domain expert. Blogs should not be promotional pieces, so that the visitors may incline to read through them.
You can use blogs in many ways:
- Blogs can be used to generate backlinks from domain experts.
- Blogs can be used as content for webpages or for email marketing.
- They can be linked to your company’s social media profile.
This gives visitors something else to chew on rather than only your product promotions.
Although it is mentioned at the end of our list, a website is actually at the core of an effective internet marketing strategy. A well-designed website can be the fulcrum for all the other strategies mentioned above. Your marketing emails could direct readers to your website. Your blogs could be an important component of your website. All social media profiles could be linked back to your website. If you incorporate e-commerce components, then your website can also become a secure place for prospective customers to avail of your services or buy your products.
The Importance of Tracking in Internet Marketing
We already discussed how convenient it is to track results in internet marketing. Because of this, it makes it easy for the marketer to continually improve his or her campaign. Let us look at a few simple tools and strategies to measure the effectiveness of your internet marketing campaign.
When you are marketing on some social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, those platforms provide their respective analytics tools for your use. Instagram has Insights, Facebook also has Insights, while Twitter has Analytics. These tools will quickly tell you how many people liked your posts, for instance. You can also find out the number of shares, retweets, comments and even direct messages.
You also have great analytics functions on the biggest search engine Google. You can find out a lot of details about the traffic to your website. Starting from where the traffic came from, you can also know what exactly they did after they reached your website.
Since most internet marketing campaigns have more than one component, it is easy to lose track of which ones are more effective. So you should have ways to find out which of your customers bought from you due to your blog. You need to keep a count of which customers reached you due to your mailers.
Stickiness is very important for you. It is not enough that viewers reach your website. They must spend adequate time on your website. They must also buy stuff while they are there.
We discussed what the components of Internet marketing are, the benefits internet marketing provides, and also why it is important to measure the effectiveness of internet marketing efforts. But what if you are a small set up and are not quite able to spend a lot of money for a sustained internet marketing campaign? You can use some of the useful tools available on the internet. The good news is that many of them are free. Let us see what some of them are.
Tools for Internet Marketing
MailChimp (for email marketing):
This is a very popular email service provider which has free options for beginners and also more advanced paid versions as your business begins to scale up. You can use it to create newsletters and start off your email marketing efforts. MailChimp allows you to first collect all your leads in one place. Then it helps you create well-directed emails for them, and then send those emails.
Answer the Public (for blogs):
When you write a blog, the net result is to gain engagement from your visitors. That would then probably lead to increased prospects for your business. And maybe provide more revenue. So the challenge in writing blogs is to select topics that the prospects might be interested in. With the help of this tool, you can enter a search for a broad topic. The tool gives you back a large number of topics that people are interested in.
Smylelytics (for website analytics):
Your website is one of the most important aspects of your internet marketing strategy. But once your website is up and running, you need to know how effective it is. Smylelytics is a free tool that makes it easier for you to understand Google Analytics. You need to have Google Analytics installed. Smylelytics will send you a report bimonthly about the traffic on your website. This makes it easier for you to understand what is working and what is not.
Of the 4 billion people accessing the internet in 2018, almost 3.2 billion people used at least one social media portal. Most companies and businesses, therefore, have several social media profiles. Hootsuite helps you to manage all your company’s social media profiles. You can access all your social media profiles using a single user id. Hootsuite can be programmed to view, schedule and even post your messages, pictures, and videos on scheduled times or at specific triggers.
Grammarly (proofreading and plagiarism check):
Uniqueness is an important factor for any kind of content you create. It makes your content attractive and useful to the reader. It also prevents penalties due to plagiarism. This is a free tool that is very easy to use, and it also has paid premium versions. There are several useful features of the free version. You can run spelling checks and basic grammar checks on it. The list of errors is also accompanied by an explanation of the errors. You can also check for plagiarism of the content you will use.
It is a no-brainer that internet marketing is imperative in today’s world. While it may seem intimidating to some, yet it offers several options from which to choose. There are so many ways to promote your products and services to the world. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money. What is needed is a sound understanding of the target segments, and well-curated campaigns targeting them.
It is also possible to measure the effectiveness of these campaigns. This allows you to rework the campaigns to improve the return on investment (ROI). Smaller companies can easily handle their internet marketing by themselves. But as the scale and scope of your company increases, you can hire the services of a good digital marketing agency.