The Basics of Online Marketing

Online marketing is a multibillion-dollar industry with a lot of different careers and pathways. You can start by studying business or economics and then find your niche within online marketing. You can also become a digital marketing manager or even find a job in SEO (search engine optimization).

While it’s definitely true that any marketing job can be done online, there are some basic guidelines you need to follow to ensure you’re effective and efficient. In this article, we’ll talk about the basics of online marketing, including things like SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing. We’ll also discuss the differences between online and offline marketing as well as how to position yourself for success within the industry.

The History of Online Marketing

If you’ve been around long enough, you’ll remember the early days of the internet. Back then, most people used to get all their information from websites — especially news websites. Since those were the only places people went online back then, webmasters focused on attracting as many readers as possible by placing paid ads near the top of the page. This form of online marketing is still referred to as “traditional” or “vanity” marketing.

The big turning point came around 1996, when webmasters started placing increasing emphasis on content rather than ad copy. At first, this wasn’t very popular with advertisers because until then, attracting readers was considered more important than engaging them. However, the more people got to know about content marketing, the more they liked it. Today, content marketing is a significant chunk of almost every digital marketer’s job.

The Ultimate Guide to SEO

If you’ve ever been involved in SEO (search engine optimization), you’ll know that it’s a fairly complex process that requires a lot of trial and error. Once you’ve mastered the basics of SEO, you can move on to more advanced topics like link building and reputation management.

SEO is a combination of two letters (S for “search” and E for “engine”) that together stand for “search engine optimization.” When used in combination with search engines like Google, Bing, or Yandex, SEO enables consumers to find exactly what they’re looking for — whether it’s a product, service, or information.

To optimize your site for the search engines, you need to take into consideration several key factors, including the following:

  • on-site factors
  • off-site factors
  • quality of content
  • citation and authority of sources
  • keyword analysis
  • link popularity
  • cost-per-click (CPC)
  • mobile friendliness
  • page speed

Even though SEO is a very specialized field with a lot of rules and regulations, Google has laid out an easy to follow guide to help you get started. If you want to learn more, here are a few places to start:

  • SEO for Dummies
  • The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
  • Search Engine Optimization Tips For Small Businesses
  • Ways to Improve Your Small Business’ SEO
  • How to Increase Your SEO Rankings With These Useful Tips

What is Content Marketing?

If you’re new to marketing, you might be wondering what exactly content marketing is. Simply put, content marketing is when you create marketing content (typically blog posts, infographics, or videos) for the purpose of attracting and engaging potential customers.

The emphasis is on creating useful and valuable content that will encourage and inspire customers to action. When done right, content marketing can lead to significant business growth and success.

You’ll often see the terms ‘content’ and ‘marketing’ used interchangeably, but it’s important to understand the difference. Marketing is advertising and sales promotions, while content is what you create to attract, engage, and convert website visitors into customers.

How is content marketing different from traditional marketing?

Simply put, content is different, and marketers need to embrace and promote this fact. In a nutshell, content marketing doesn’t involve a lot of paid advertisements; instead, it’s all about creating and distributing useful, valuable, and engaging content that will attract potential customers. This content might include anything from case studies and reviews to tips and tricks or even live chats with experts.

Traditionally, marketers would use media (print, digital, or outdoor) to gain attention and then convert this into potential customers. With content marketing, you’re taking the opposite approach and using the media to attract visitors to your content.

The emphasis is on attracting people to your content and keeping them there. Once you have the attention of prospective customers, you can promote your product or service and encourage them to take action.

Why should you use content marketing?

According to HubSpot Blogs’ research, 86% of consumers feel that marketing content is helpful or very helpful in understanding a business or brand. Furthermore, 70% of consumers feel that content provided by a business or brand is more trustworthy than marketing content from an unknown source.

Based on this, it’s clear that consumers are looking for content that provides valuable information. If you want to thrive and succeed within the digital marketing world, you need to start creating and distributing content now!

You might already be doing some of this. If you use social media to follow and connect with experts, you might be getting some great content without even trying. However, you can use this platform to also promote your product or service by creating and sharing content that’s based on the latest research or analysis on your chosen topic. For example, if you’re an e-commerce store, you could create a blog post about the best time to buy a product or how to maximize your return on investment (ROI) from your online store.

The nice thing about content marketing is that it requires no specific training. As a result, you can teach others in your organization to create content or have individuals within your organization write and produce content for you (blog posts, for example).

How should you position yourself within the industry?

If you want to succeed within the industry, you need to do two things: First, establish your authority. Second, prove that you’re an expert in your chosen field. If you can do this successfully, you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd and develop long-lasting relationships with customers.

Doing business online means that everyone is a potential customer. This provides you with the opportunity to gain a lot of followers who may one day become customers. To best position yourself for success, identify key words and phrases that you should utilize within your content to attract the right audience.


When used correctly, online marketing can be a very powerful tool that can increase your business’ visibility, growth, and revenue. To ensure that you’re using this tool effectively, you need to understand the basics like SEO, but also be aware of more advanced concepts. Once you have a firm grasp of these basics, you’ll be able to take your knowledge and apply it towards growing your business.