What is Internet Marketing?
In this article we look at what Internet Marketing means, which in-short is the most cost-effective way of reaching your potential customers through various forms of digital media, whatever size your business is.
The Definition of Internet MarketingAlso called online marketing, internet marketing is the process of promoting a business or brand and its products or services over the internet to drive traffic, leads, and sales. Internet marketing is a term that is used to cover a wide range of online marketing tactics and strategies which include email marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), paid advertising on social networks, and more. Internet marketing is often used side-by side with “content marketing”. Content marketing is the internet marketing of today and the future. Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as: “A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Content marketing is the opposite to traditional advertising methods, and inline with the expectations and behaviours of the consumer market today. Here’s a great illustration of that from Voltier Digital:
Content Marketing vs. Traditional AdvertisingThe hard sell doesn’t work anymore in today’s climate . Why? Traditional advertising such as TV commercials, billboards, magazine ads, radio ads, and web banner ads focus on pushing messages at the consumer to get them to buy. They are interruptive, obnoxious, and intrusive. Ads may still work in some strategic places. But consumers of the modern era can just click from ads or even block them completely if they don’t want to see them. Which is exactly what happens more often than not. According to a PageFair report, 615 million devices in use today employ ad blockers. Additionally, ad blocker use increased by 30 percent in 2016 alone. Ads are annoying and, they aren’t the way consumers want to learn about products and services anymore. Instead of businesses pushing themselves in the faces of consumers, they need to take a more subtle approach.
Content marketing is about bringing valueBusiness’s who understand content marketing, publish content that teaches, inspires, guides, and ultimately, solves a problem for their target audience. When the target audience gain something useful and are engaged with the content, they’ll keep coming back for more and are a loyalty based audience. Finally, consumers can interact with the brand organically and share their content on social media. Trust is forged. Authority is established. Connections happen. These loyal followers naturally convert into leads and sales. All of the above happens with a focus on bringing value to the audience. By helping your audience and providing value they’ll reward you in return. That is what internet marketing/content marketing is all about.
Why Internet Marketing?Now that you know what internet marketing is, you still may be wondering why there’s so much hype around it. Internet marketing has shown proven success over and over again. Here are some stats gathered from around the internet to help give you an idea of why internet/content marketing stands tall:
- By 2019, content marketing is set to be an industry worth $313 billion.
- 91 percent of businesses already are convinced of its power and have already adopted it as an essential marketing tactic.
- Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional, outbound marketing, but pulls in 3x as many leads.
- If you’re a small business with a blog, you’ll rake in 126 percent more lead growth than your competitors without a blog
- If you have a blog and publish content, you’re likely to get 434 percent more indexed pages on Google, on average
5 Content Examples: Providing Value for Big ReturnsReading about great content marketing is not enough to truly understand how it works. Instead, you have to see it in action to grasp its fundamental value. Because when content is really good, it can do amazing things. Here are some top examples of content types from brands who knocked content creation out of the park.
1. Blog Posts & ArticlesOne of the most common content types is blog posts and articles. A blog, is a great platform to provide relevant because it gives you a foundation for lots of posts, pages, and content that all point back to your site. Think of a blog as a tree trunk. Your individual blog posts are the branches that reach out into the corners of the internet and search engines. Users can find your branches and follow them back to your core site. That gives you a greater shot at leads and sales. For a great example of blogging content, look to Content Marketing Institute. They create troves of valuable, useful content for content marketers in order to teach, instruct, guide, or inspire. The result? Devoted fans, followers, and customers for their events, training, and consulting.
2. InfographicsInfographics are fun, visual ways to present valuable information. They use charts, graphs, pictures, and illustration to explain concepts. This type of content is easily digestible and totally shareable. Here’s a fantastic example of an infographic content marketing from Vertical Measures
3. Case StudiesAnother popular and effective form of content is a case study. In general, a case study is an in-depth look at some action your brand or business completed that had measurable results for success. Usually, this translates into something you accomplished for a client. Here’s a great example of a case study by Fractl: In it, the agency showcases how they executed a successful content campaign for a real estate brand. They talk about how it came together, the “whys” of the project, and the results (presented in measurable stats). This type of content is an great way to build trust and authority.
4. PodcastsPodcasts have rapidly grown in popularity and for good reason, they are a great way to get valuable content out. Similar to news radio shows, except people can download them and listen to episodes at their convenience. If you are a good speaker or interviewer, this content format can be a great one for sharing valuable information with your audience. For an example, check out our post HOW TO MEASURE ROI IN SOCIAL MEDIA where we have a link to the Buffer podcast. .
5. VideosVideos are the hottest content type right now. The stats are staggering. According to Social Media Today:
- By 2021, videos will grab 82 percent of all internet traffic
- Every day, over 500 million hours of video is consumed on YouTube
A Content Marketing StrategyWhatever type of content marketing you intend to do, it’s vital that you have a strategy for it to be successful. You must have a direction, a plan, the right tools, and ways to measure performance if you expect to get anywhere. Key content marketing strategy fundamentals include:
- Goals. You have to know where you want to go, and how you are going to get there, before you can head down the road to get there.
- Your Brand and Target Audience. You need to know who you’re creating content for and tailor your brand voice to appeal to them uniquely. If you aren’t targeting the right audience, nobody will be listening to what you have to say. And, if you can’t find a way to stand out, you’ll be just one of many other brands competing for attention in your industry.
- Keywords and Research. Once you know the why and the who, you have to address the how. How will you reach your audience? What do they want to learn, what problems do they need to solve? Research keywords to target to get found in search engine results, and find topics that have an inherent interest for your audience before you create any content.
- Content Focus and Commitments. What types of content will you create? How often will you post? Where will you post? It’s important to get these right so you can create content with consistency and quality.
- Content Creation. Once you have topics, keywords, a distinct voice, and a target audience, you can create content. However, if your content isn’t really good, you’re wasting your time. Get help if you need it, spend the time to tweak and perfect your output, and always put out the best content you can.
- Content Promotion. Promoting your content is even more effective if you plan when you publish your pieces, strategise about publishing on your blog and sharing on social media, use tools to analyse when your target audience is most likely to see what you’re putting out..
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)SEO encompasses a variety of techniques that help get you into prime spots on search engine results pages (SERPs). This means people can find you just by looking up a topic they’re interested in or need help with. The ultimate goal of SEO is to get your website pages ranked on the first page of Google. (After all, most people rarely, if ever, click to Page 2 on their quest for information.) Here are some basic SEO techniques that will help your content get indexed and ranked in search results:
- Strategically-placed keywords – You should place your target keyword in the headline (H1), in subheaders, in the content, and in the meta description to help Google understand what the page is about.
- A well-designed, well-organised site– Google looks at how usable your site is, or how easy it is for people to navigate, find what they’re looking for, and read your content.
- Clean page URLs – The URL structure for your pages should be simple and easy to read (i.e. http://yourdomain.com/blog/how-to-do-seo).
Paid MethodsOrganic search can give you great click-through rates. It also gives you the benefit of the inherent trust people have in Google results. However, sometimes investing in paid search can give you a boost.
- Use paid search to remarket to visitors who found your site through organic search, and tailor ads for them based on their experience.
- Test different versions of ad copy (A/B testing) to see which performs better – then use what you learned for your landing pages on your site.
- Paid search can increase your visibility in ways that organic search cannot, such as giving you air-time for high-volume keywords for which ar very competitive and thus hard to rank for.
PatienceContent marketing requires some pieces that are far less tangible than strategy or SEO, but are perhaps the most important. When it’s truly successful, content marketing is a long-term strategy and takes time to start seeing the ROI from your efforts. The blog post you publish today will not pay off by tomorrow, next week, or even next month. Instead, you must have the patience and be prepared to wait months – maybe even up to a year or longer – to start seeing the returns.
The good news?Content marketing is internet marketing that builds momentum over time. HubSpot calls this phenomenon “compounding.” High-quality content gets increased visits over time. This helps build the page’s authority, and can increase its reach through the ways people interact with the content as they discover it. Think linking, sharing, engaging, and more. Most importantly, all of these compounding returns can help your content climb the Google ranks, which in turn helps it reach more people organically. Pretty soon, your hard work on that post starts paying off in spades. It doesn’t happen right away, but it will happen if you set up your content for success, with strategy. It just takes patience to see it through, and to keep putting out content with the months ahead in mind.
What Now? How to Get into Internet MarketingIf you’ve got everything in place and you’re ready to go with your content marketing strategy, here’s what to do next:
1. Pace Yourself & Set GoalsPacing yourself is essential to doing it right – remember this is a long game and to play it you need to be patient and prepared. Think ahead to where you want your business to be in the next year.
- Do you already have customers?
- Do you have a website?
- Are you starting from square one?
2. Secure Your ContentFor content creation, lead gathering, and more, you need a home base on the web. This is:
- Where your content will live.
- What you’ll link to when you share your content on social media.
- Where you’ll gather leads from the traffic you pull in.
3. Start StrategisingNow that you have goals and a home for your content, it’s time to surge ahead with the rest of your content marketing strategy. We’ve already discussed strategy, but here are the actionable steps to put all the pieces of the jigsaw in place:
6 Key, Actionable Steps for Content Strategising
- Target audience research and brand development
- Keyword research and SEO research
- Content planning
- Creating/writing/producing content
- Community building
- Sharing and promoting content on social channels