If you read one thing this year, make sure it’s this article. We’re going to show you the best ways to get started in online marketing, including everything from the tools to the tactics. But before we get into that, let’s discuss the basics of what is online marketing and why you should get involved in it.
What is Online Marketing?
“Online marketing” refers to all of the activities that businesses and brands perform in or outside of digital spaces (i.e. websites, blogs, etc.) to drive inbound marketing results.
In other words, it’s all the things that you may or may not know about, but which contribute to generating leads, growing your audience, and making sales. These activities include organic search, paid search, social media, marketing analytics, and more.
Why do you need to get involved in online marketing?
Because, ultimately, you’re trying to convert web traffic into paying customers – and the only way to do that is through inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing focuses on attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow their interest in your products or services. To achieve that, you need to adopt marketing activities that generate curiosity, delight, and confidence in your target audience – not just sales.
What does that mean for you?
It means that you shouldn’t just look for ways to attract and retain customers using the tactics and strategies you’ve trained yourself on using (e.g. Facebook ads or SEO).
Instead, you should seek to understand what makes your customer tick and engage with them on a personal level to understand their needs and desires. That way, when you do sell them something, you’ll have built a stronger connection and gained their trust – not just their dollar.
Why is SEO Key to Success in Online Marketing?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective, yet underutilized tools in your arsenal for online marketing.
Why is SEO so important?
Well, for starters, 96% of all Google searches are now conducted via mobile phones. That’s a big chunk of the market, and it suggests that people are searching for products and services more often from the palm of their hands. (Stats taken from Statista).
As a result, SEO has never been more important. When your customers are searching for your services or products, you want to be ahead of the pack – especially now, when they’re just a tap away on their phones.
Beyond that, SEO ensures your website pops up when someone else’s customer is searching for your product or service – not just when you trigger the words “online marketing” or “SEO” in a blog post.
In other words, with SEO, you’re not just competing for a spot in the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages), you’re also competing for customers. And that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.
How to Get Started in Online Marketing
Now that you have an idea of what online marketing is and why you need to get involved in it, let’s dive into the ways you can get started.
Attracting and Retaining a Niche Audience
In the world of inbound marketing, attracting and retaining a niche audience is crucial.
In other words, you won’t attract everyone simply by having a website or blog. You need to find your tribe – the individuals or groups of people that will happily follow and interact with you because they feel connected to your objectives and values.
Why is attracting and retaining a niche audience important?
Well, according to HubSpot Blog contributor and renowned entrepreneur Dharmesh Jha, “99% of consumers will never be satisfied with a generalist approach.” In other words, if you want to succeed in online marketing, you need to find your “tribe” of people – the discerning audience who cares about your niche enough to learn more about it, but not so much that they feel overwhelmed or needlessly crowded by the constant stream of information.
So how do you attract and retain a niche audience?
You start by identifying your niche – the set of individuals (or groups) that you deem to be the primary audience you’ll attract with your content.
Then, you craft your message around that, creating content that speaks to your intended audience and encourages them to engage with you.
Creating Trust-Building Content
As a marketer, you’ll spend a good amount of time developing and perfecting content for your website or blog.
But you don’t just need to develop content for your blog. You can use many tools, such as Hootsuite, to quickly create engaging content throughout your social media channels.
Why is creating trust-building content important?
Well, if you want to attract a niche audience, your first instinct might be to write content that will appeal to your target audience — the individuals or groups of people you’re trying to convince to buy your product or service.
However, as Mark Wiens of Kissmetrics states in his book, “Attracting, Nurturing, and Retaining a Niche Audience,” “People don’t buy from advertisers; they buy from people they know, like, or trust.” In other words, your target audience is likely to trust you (and your message) more if they feel that you’ve validated yourself through some form of content or platform they recognize – even if that content or platform is about something completely unrelated.
So, to create trust and inspire curiosity, you should consider producing content that is both informative and entertaining. Ideally, you’ll want to develop content that is both.
Growing a Relevant Audience On Social Media
You may be used to growing your audience on social media – either through likes, shares, or retweets.
However, with time, it becomes clear that simply having a presence on social media isn’t enough.
Well, according to Wiens, “The key to effective content strategy is to consider various platforms individually and as a whole — not as a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook, for example — and to assess how each one can be used to further your strategy.” In other words, what are your social media goals and how are you using each platform to reach them?
For example, maybe you’ve set a goal to gain 500 new Instagram followers by the end of the year. In order to do that, you might want to focus on gaining potential followers in countries where your target audience is located – Indonesia, for example.
On the other hand, if you want to create a buzz in your community, you may want to focus on gaining likes and retweets on your YouTube channel.
Analytics is all the buzz these days when it comes to marketing, and with good reason.
In marketing analytics, you’ll want to look at every aspect of your marketing activity, from the way you attract and retain audiences to the conversion rate of those audiences.
What you’ll find is that marketing analytics helps you discover patterns and makes it easier to track and understand the effectiveness of your overall marketing strategy.
So, with marketing analytics, you can track the results of your website, social media, and email marketing campaigns, and work to improve your performance in the future.