“Online Marketing” is a pretty broad term. It’s often used (even here at Gravitate, and, believe it or not, even by me) to really mean SEO. Probably half of the time you hear it, that’s what you’re really hearing.
But online marketing means a lot more than that. Here are 7 different types of online marketing, what they entail, and what makes them valuable.
SEO is search engine optimization, the process of improving your site in such a way that it’s rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) will improve.
While SEO covers hundreds of different factors, there are three general buckets they all fit in:
- Technical Factors
These organic SERP rankings lead to more traffic to your site, which leads to people buying your products, giving you a call, signing up for your newsletter, or whatever else you want them to do.
Paid advertising, also commonly called ppc (pay per click) covers everything from search ads to Pandora commercials to those annoying banners and videos that show up when you’re playing Trivia Crack. Here are some examples:
- Google display network ads
- YouTube ads
- Pandora commercials
- Hulu commercials
- Mobile app ads
- Shopping product listings
There is something in this category for pretty much any advertising goal, from general brand awareness to driving specific actions and sales. The nice thing is that you can get as much traffic as you’re willing to pay for. If you do it right, the sky is the limit to how much you can grow through these channels.
There’s also a flip side of this: hosting advertising on your own site. If you don’t mind an ad or two on your site, you can make a pretty penny.
Social Media Marketing
Everyone is on Facebook. Almost.
Social media is a great way to connect to people, to show what your brand is all about, to answer questions and resolve complaints. You can find new customers and strengthen your relationship with existing ones.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+… The great thing about social media is that you can be where the conversations are, and join in like you never could before.
Design and CRO
SEO and PPC can get people to visit your site. But then what?
Enter Conversion Rate Optimization.
Let me pose a question: what is better, a little traffic to a fantastic website, or tons of traffic to a terrible one? If no one can find your ugly, ugly site, is that good or bad? Site design is more than just picking colors and choosing menu options. It’s implementing best practices to lead visitors down the path you’d like them to follow. It’s making sure your site’s visitors can find the product, information, phone number they came looking for, or just as often pointing them to what they didn’t know they were looking for.
To put it simply: design helps your client have a good experience with the site. CRO helps turn those experiences into cash. For you.
More searches all the time are happening on mobile devices, and people increasingly research online before making purchases at a brick and mortar. Add to that the growing number of online review services, and you’ve got something you just can’t ignore.
Local search optimization is focused around two main things:
- Consistent, dependable location and contact information.
- Customer reviews
Get those things rolling, your business will improve both online and offline.
Content marketing can be really great, or REALLY terrible. That hilarious viral video? Great content marketing. That article about the top 10 most shocking ways to lose 50 lbs in a week? Not so much. (But seriously, you’ll never believe number 7!)
Content marketing has a lot of overlap with social media and SEO. Having awesome content on your site is great for your SEO. One of the best ways to share is through social media. But this is a thing that has a life of it’s own. In a way it’s one of the oldest forms of online marketing. It came directly from old timey marketing like TV commercials (my kids only know what a commercial is because of the Superbowl). Content marketing, when done right, is still one of the best things you can do. Think of the Old Spice guy. Think of the articles that your friends shared on Facebook that you HAD to read. The trouble is that it’s pretty dang hard to get right. For every great piece out there there are a dozen flops. High risk, high return as they say.
This one also overlaps with content marketing. And also like content marketing, it’s easy to go overboard. A good email marketing campaign is pretty simple: people sign up for a newsletter or special deals and you send those things to them. You alert them to sales, or big events, or interesting content you’ve produced. The only rules are to make the emails useful and good looking, and don’t send them too often.
And The Other Stuff…
Along with all these there are a bunch of other services that aren’t exactly marketing, but are either necessary or very helpful. Some of them are implied, some seem like common sense, but it’s worth pointing them out anyway. For example:
- Call tracking
- Website/hosting management
- Photography and graphic design
- Audio/video production
- Webstore management (Amazon, Ebay etc)
- Domain brokering
As you can see, success online is a huge undertaking with many moving parts, and it’s getting more critical to business every day. Your online presence, reputation and overall equity is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, because when you do it right, the internet brings you cash by the fistful.