Noob’s Guide to Online Marketing: What You Need to Know Before You Get Started

Did you know that over 80% of consumers conduct product research online before purchasing a product?

Whether you’re running a clothing store, furniture store, or electronics store, if you’re not online you’re losing out on a lot of potential business. It’s not about to go away, either. With mobile shopping growing by 20% annually, consumers have more access to information than ever before.

But if you’re new to the whole online marketing thing, how can you make sure you’re doing everything correctly? You might be wondering, “What is online marketing?”

Marketing is Everything

If you’re reading this you’re probably already well aware of the importance of marketing. Without marketing, you wouldn’t have any products to sell. But what exactly is marketing?

To quote Wikipedia, marketing is “the process of creating mental associations between a product or service and a brand or image that a business wants to convey to customers.” In plain English, marketing is everything from advertising to social media. And while all of these elements may be included in marketing, the primary focus is usually on advertising. Why? Because marketing is mostly about convincing people to buy your product or service, and the cheapest and easiest way to do that is through advertising.

Do you see what happened there? Cheap and easy always wins. You don’t need a PhD in marketing to know that cheap product ads on popular websites can get you instant and highly profitable sales.

Why Online Marketing?

So you’ve decided to go down the online marketing route. Great! Where do you start? There’s a lot to consider. First and most importantly you need a website. Whether you build your own or choose one of the many web hosting providers, it doesn’t really matter as long as you have a website.

Why? Because having a website will give you a unique online identity that allows you to build credibility with potential customers. When people learn about your product or service, they’ll usually look for your website to see what else you have to offer. A well-designed and maintained website will show prospective customers that you take your marketing seriously.

Even better is if you can get some nice and reputable sponsorships. A reputable company that sponsors your site may just throw a few bucks your way to have their logo on your site. So instead of just going into debt to build your own website, seek out sponsorships. The benefits are twofold. First, you have an additional source of income. Second, having a reputable website associated with your brand is a great way to increase your credibility with customers.

The Downsides of Offline Marketing

While there are plenty of benefits to online marketing, there are also some significant drawbacks. One of the biggest is simply keeping up with all of the marketing information. As you probably guessed, with so much information online, marketing information has become overly abundant. So much so that it’s nearly impossible to keep up. You’ll find yourself buried in unwanted emails, and desperate to find time to even read the basics of marketing.

While you might be used to pushing pixels and keeping up with fashion trends on social media, being the SEO for a clothing store might not be the dream gig you had in mind when you started your company. And for those of you who chose to ignore this option and went the conventional route, well, you’re probably wishing you would’ve taken the online route already. Especially now that everything you need is online.

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving a website’s ranking in search results for relevant keywords. Why is SEO so important? Well, according to Google, over 80% of their revenue comes from advertisers who purchase ad spots against relevant and popular content. So if your product or service is related to cooking, hiking, or fashion, having relevant content online that is optimized for search can bring in the revenue you need to survive.

SEO isn’t something you can learn in an afternoon. It takes years to master, and even then, it’s never perfect. But if you’re serious about growing your company, SEO is one of the must-have skillsets you need to develop.

The Importance of Content

While we’re on the subject of SEO, let’s talk about content. You’ll never get anywhere in the world of SEO if you don’t have relevant and informative content. But what exactly is relevant content?

Google defines relevant content as “content that is suitable and meaningful to a specific audience.” So if you’re writing about fashion, your content should reflect what is popular and trendy at the moment. If you’re writing about science, your content should be based on scientific studies and data. Ultimately, your content should match what a customer is looking for. In other words, relevant content is just good, old-fashioned writing.

You might be wondering how you can become the best writer you can be. The answer is simple. Start a blog. Blogging provides you with an opportunity to practice your writing every day, and the feedback you get from your readers helps you improve. And don’t worry; you don’t have to become a professional blogger to start a blog. You can use any free blogging platform, like WordPress, to get the ball rolling. Once you have a blog established, you can use it to publish your product reviews, explainer videos, event coverage, and more.

The Many Roles of a Content Marketer

Did you know there are a lot of different roles a content marketer can play? Just to name a few, you could be creating brand awareness, recruiting and engaging new customers, nurturing existing customer relationships, and providing content for different platforms.

If you’re looking to make the switch to a new industry, or want to enhance your expertise in digital marketing, maybe it’s time for a change. Rather than sticking with one role, why not try out a new role that will better fit your skills? For example, maybe you’re currently a social media manager, and you want to broaden your expertise to include content marketing. What’s the worst that could happen? You could end up with a few extra skills under your belt, and a new industry to add to your resume.

The Many Tools of the Trade

As a digital marketer or SEO specialist, you’ll need some tools to get the job done. While there are plenty of free tools out there, eventually, you’ll want to upgrade your software and get the best tools for the job. Fortunately, there are also some decent free tools that you can use to get started.

One of the best things about the Internet is the wealth of information you can find online. Whether you’re looking for a new marketing strategy, a way to improve your SEO, or just want to learn more about SEO, you’ll probably find what you’re looking for. But if you’re new to the whole thing, you might not know where to start. That’s where tools like Hootsuite, Buzzsumo, and Social Minder come in.

Hootsuite is one of the most popular tools among users, and for good reason. Not only does it make following hundreds of accounts easy, it also allows you to schedule posts in advance to make your following Instagrammers’ jobs easier. For example, if you know that one of your Instagrammers always likes to post at the end of the week, you can use Hootsuite to schedule a tweet to go out on Friday with a clever comment on the kid’s cooking school’s Instagram account.

Buzzsumo is a bit different than Hootsuite. Instead of solely focusing on social media, Buzzsumo handles searches on any topic, allowing you to find relevant content on any platform or website. For example, if you’re running a real estate company and want to become the go-to source for all real estate-related content, you can use Buzzsumo to find and evaluate the performance of your chosen keywords.

Social Minder is similar to Hootsuite, but instead of focusing on social media, it tracks your social media activity across all platforms and displays your activity in a simple but effective dashboard. Plus, the software allows you to monitor your mentions across different platforms, like Twitter and Instagram.