What Is Online Marketing, Anyway?

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re already somewhat familiar with the world of online marketing. You’ve probably spent at least a few hours every day for the past several months reading blog articles, watching webinars, and refreshing your social media accounts. You’re also probably already aware of the various terms used in online marketing – SEO, PPC, email marketing, etc.

If you’re not already utilizing online marketing as a part of your strategy, I recommend that you consider doing so. It’s quite easy to implement, and it offers a lot of benefits. To that end, here’s a short breakdown of what online marketing is and isn’t:

What Is Online Marketing, Anyway?

Before we begin, it’s important to define what online marketing is. Put simply, online marketing is all the methods you use to get people to learn about, believe in, and/or buy your products or services. It can be tricky to determine exactly what methods fit into this category, but I’ve found the following to be essential:

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing was born out of the need to find a way to attract customers who didn’t know about you or your product yet. This type of marketing focuses on attracting, engaging, and converting customers who find your content valuable.

Inbound marketing is all the methods you use to attract, engage, and convert potential customers into happy, buying, and breathing customers. You can use PPC (Pay Per Click), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Email Marketing, Content Marketing, Website Analysis, and Blogging to accomplish this.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is the traditional form of communication that came before the internet. You’ll often hear companies comparing direct marketing to the golden era of television advertising. While the method is still quite effective, the comparison isn’t quite fair. Compared to TV ads, direct marketing is relatively inexpensive. However, it’s also a lot less effective.

The main issue with direct marketing is that you’re mostly trying to sell a product that someone already knows they want. This is different than trying to attract someone who hasn’t expressed an interest in your product yet. Inbound marketing solves this by using various methods to find the right audience for your products.

Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is anything that isn’t digital marketing. This category includes radio ads, billboards, newspaper and magazine clippings, and pretty much any form of marketing that you’re not using online. It was originally created to serve a purpose. Back in the day, you’d typically use traditional marketing to alert potential customers to a new product that was about to be released. The goal was to get as many people as possible to hear about the new product so that they could get it before it sold out.

While it’s still quite effective, we now live in a world where the product you’re promoting isn’t necessarily limited to physical products. Many businesses use various online platforms to promote their products and services. This often results in a lack of face-to-face interaction between the customer and the salesperson. If you’re relying heavily on traditional marketing, you might want to reconsider your strategy.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing is essentially when you use social platforms (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) to spread the word about your product or service. The great thing about social media marketing is that it’s extremely cost-effective. You can get started for free on most of the major platforms, and you don’t necessarily need a massive budget to begin engaging with potential customers. This is one of the major reasons why so many businesses have started using social media marketing.

The downside to social media marketing is that it can be quite difficult to determine exactly how much engagement you’re getting on social media. With that being said, it’s also quite easy to track the success of your social media marketing efforts. Simply look at your analytics and see how often people are sharing your content and engaging with it. If you’re looking to get started with social media marketing, consider using a tool like Sprout Social or Hootsuite to easily manage your content across various platforms.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation simply refers to the use of technology to automate marketing tasks. You’ll typically find marketing automation software that can help you create automated emails with pre-written content or perform A/B tests on your email marketing campaigns. Another useful feature of marketing automation platforms is the ability to perform web analysis and SEO optimizations on your site.

One of the biggest advantages of using automated marketing is that you can scale your efforts quite easily. You can have one person concentrating on the task of gathering email addresses, and then have another person focusing on creating content for a particular campaign. Marketing automation can also be used to segment your audience and send targeted content to your customers.

The main disadvantage of marketing automation is that not all businesses can benefit from it. For instance, if you’re mainly selling physical products, you won’t be able to use all the various marketing methods to their fullest. This is because you’ll either have to order the product yourself or have it delivered by a service provider. If you can’t afford to have people going out for your product all the time, marketing automation might not be the right choice for you.

Why Should You Try Inbound Marketing?

The nice thing about inbound marketing is that it doesn’t matter what stage your product is in or what you’ve achieved so far. It also works well with any budget, and you don’t necessarily need a massive one to get started. Just remember to be consistent and patient.

If you’re looking to grow your business, inbound marketing is a great choice. You don’t necessarily need to rely on one source of income, as there’s plenty of work for everyone who’s looking for it. It can be quite a competitive industry, but that’s part of the fun. You can look forward to trying something new and being able to grow with the times.

The Growth Of Online Marketing

Over the past few years, many businesses have shifted their strategy to focus more on inbound marketing. According to HubSpot Blogs Research, 66% of consumers now prefer to learn about products and services through online reviews compared to only 28% who prefer to learn about new products from commercials. It would also seem that businesses are taking note and learning from these stats. Many companies are designing their websites with user experience in mind. Designing a good user experience on your website isn’t that difficult – you’ll just need to follow a few basic guidelines.

Basic Design

The first and most crucial step to creating an excellent user experience is by ensuring that your website is easy to navigate. With that being said, you don’t necessarily need a designer to do this for you. There are tools like Google Analytics that can tell you the exact location of your website visitors as well as how they’re interacting with your content. From there, you can work on fixing any broken links or testing out different menu structures to see which one works better for your users.

Clear Calls To Action

Every business page on your website should have a clear call to action. This could be anything from simply subscribing to a mailing list or signing up for a newsletter to buying a product or service. Your call to action should be simple, yet effective. When building out your website, you should also keep in mind the other platforms your customers are likely to be using (i.e., social media).

Mobile First

If your customers are mainly browsing from mobile devices (i.e., smartphones and tablets), you should design your website with mobile in mind. Not only will this make your site look great on any device, but it will improve your user experience as well. Your site’s performance on mobile devices will determine how easy it is for your customers to navigate your site and find what they’re looking for. On that note, you should avoid using any heavy advertisements or disturbing content on your mobile site. Remember, your customers are on the go – you want them to easily find the information they need, and keep coming back for more.

Content Is King

Keeping with the mobile theme, you should make sure to have a lot of content on your site. The more content you have, the more opportunities you have for engaging with your audience. If possible, you should also be distributing this content across various platforms. Having a strong social media presence and regularly posting on your website will not only get your content in front of your audience, but it will also drive traffic back to your site. Remember, content is what drives the industry, especially when measured by effectiveness, uniqueness, and shareability.