Internet marketing is a key goal for many businesses these days. While it’s certainly not the case that traditional forms of marketing have gone completely out of the window, it is definitely the case that the web has been placed front and center in the focus of most people who want to get a message distributed to the world – or, even, to just a local community.
And from optimizing your search results in Google to grappling with the complex yet potentially lucrative beast that is email, marketers can reach their objectives in one of many different and potentially cross-cutting ways. This article will explore just how this can be done.
The practice of altering the content of websites so that they hopefully show up higher in Google search results – which is known technically as “search engine optimization”, or SEO – is a trick as old as time in the online marketing world. It’s still popular among many people in this field, though. If done well, it can allow a site to rank for very specific keywords which match the search terms of potential customers.
There are some challenges involved, though. Google changes its algorithms from time to time, and this can come unexpectedly – especially given that the search engine giant often doesn’t divulge how and what it is doing in this regard. When the Google Panda update was released in 2011, for example, around 10% or more of search results (or results in English, at least) were affected. Relying too heavily on Google as a way of getting customers, then, could potentially backfire – but provided you have a range of other possible ways of reaching customers and have properly diversified your marketing funnels, there’s no reason not to give it a go.
A decade or two ago, email marketing was a core function of any online marketing strategy. Since the arrival of sophisticated spam filters, however, some marketers have begun to question its worth. Many ask themselves whether or not there is any point in investing in accounts with platforms like Mailchimp, for example, if there’s a risk that it will just be ignored.
But the reality is that it is still possible for good quality email marketing campaigns to get through and reach users. It’s not unheard of for campaigns to be opened by 20% of people who receive them – which, given that sizes of mailing lists are often well into the thousands, means that there are plenty of potential customers. Organizations including Wolverine Solutions Group have strong track records in this regard, too, and can often turn around a firm’s fortunes. The trick is to be sure that each campaign is relevant and useful to the reader. If it looks like spam, it will be either automatically flagged as such or marked as such by the reader.
One of the new key kids on the online marketing block is social media – but it’s a large creature to get to grips with, and it’s not always easy to assess the right way to go. From Facebook to Instagram and everything in between, there are now so many platforms out there to choose from that even some experienced marketers aren’t quite sure where to begin. Facebook, for example, has a clear critical mass of users – but there are hints that achieving organic growth is becoming harder than ever. Twitter, meanwhile, is fast-moving and snappy – but its advertising platform is expensive, and not nearly as sophisticated as some of the other platforms out there.
The first thing to do is to define your goal for using social media, and then use that to inform your decision about which platform you will choose and which activities you will pursue. If you want to reach people in a very tightly defined local area, for example, Facebook’s pinpointed advertising functions will probably be right for you. If you want to attempt to “go viral” among a younger audience or provide instant customer service responses, Twitter could be better. Once you have that objective worked out, the question of which platform will most likely answer itself.
Online marketing is not as easy as it looks. With decisions like platform choice to be made and risks like algorithm changes to contend with, there’s a lot to think about. But by defining your goals, you’ll soon be able to find the strategy that works for you and make a sensible decision about what will work best for your brand, your team and your product offer. And remember that the world of online marketing is hard to break into, but once you’re there, your strategy could end up netting you many new customers – so it’s definitely worth persisting with.