Author: David Olivares
I have seen many definitions of internet marketing out there, but to make it really simple to everyone, internet marketing is, in its core (yes, you guessed it), marketing. It is referred to all the activities that will place your product in front of hundreds, thousands, or maybe millions of potential customers, but with just one subtle difference; internet marketing “uses” the internet as its communication platform. In other words, internet marketing is defined as the ensemble of techniques that leverage the Internet for driving traffic to your site and hopefully more customers to your business.
What are some of these activities or techniques? The list is growing everyday but I will venture myself to list most of them and provide a brief explanation for those who are planning to enter in this sometimes “obscure” but exciting world. Some of them are very basic but others not as much.
- Building a website: believe it or not, with no website there is no internet marketing. Websites are the internet´s building blocks and the face of every single business or individual on the internet. It is your image to the entire world (and probably you need to ask yourself if your website accurately reflects the image you want the world to see of you and your business…)
- Newsletters: email newsletters are about telling the world what’s new about your company: new products, new offers, new people. It is the periodic contact with your loved ones (i.e. your customers). Research suggests that companies that send newsletters to their customers sell more than those who don’t, especially since the newsletters are usually sent to current customers.
- Banners: have you seen the Geico billboards lately? I really do not like those plastic eyes looking at me, but you know what? The ad really works, it got my attention and I cannot take those eyes and that stack of bills out of my mind. Banners are billboards on a website and if properly designed, they really work to your advantage.
- Search Engine Marketing: Google processed around 250+ million searches today, so I am sure that some of those searches are about the products or services you offer. Would you like to show up on Google when people are specifically looking for your products or services? Well, search engine marketing or also referred to as search engine optimization is about that. In fact, in some industries, more that 80% of prospective buyers use Google or other search engines to research a product or services before selecting a vendor.
- Online Video: online video does not really need a definition but it is one of the areas of internet marketing experiencing the highest growth. 73% of internet users click on an internet video at least once a month and this number is growing, in comparison to only 33% last year. The main challenge I see here is production costs; if you want to do something professionally produced.
- Online Public Relations: in here, I like to throw in all activities that make your voice heard on the internet or allow you or your company to get more exposure. Some of these include: writing press releases, articles, or just posting your opinion about something in a forum. Have you heard about blogs? A blog is just someone’s personal or business journal. If you like to write, this is a great way of people learning about you and your company.
- Affiliate Marketing: I like to think of affiliate marketing as tens, hundreds, or thousands of “virtual” salesmen/women of my product or services on the internet to which you pay a commission for bringing traffic and/or paying customers to your website.
- Online Directories: remember the big yellow phone book? There are millions of yellow book types of websites on the internet, so the more directories you are in, the higher the probabilities of people finding you.
- Social Networking: you may have heard about facebook, myspace, linkedin, twitter, or others. Well, these tools have become one of the most effective and viral forms of advertising in the internet. It is based on the following notion: It is estimated that the average person knows about 250 people. And each of those people knows on average another 250 or so people. This means that for each new person you meet, you gain access to a potential pool of 62,500 people separated from you by just two degrees! In other words, for each person you meet you may be able to tell an average of 250 people about your business.
- Web Analytics: I recently heard that tracking is the key to success. I couldn’t agree more. If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. Web analytics is referred to the tools or methodologies used to track the results of everything you do in relation to internet marketing. These may include numbers of visitors to your site, opened emails, clicks to your ad, etc.
What is the most effective form of internet marketing? I believe there is no “silver bullet” in marketing but a trial and error effort to see what works and not for your products and customers. However, if I have to choose my top 3, I would go for a professional and engaging website (no website, no internet), a decent investment in search engine marketing (who is not using Google today?) and web analytics (if you can’t measure, you can’t manage it)
PD: If you are not doing some kind of internet marketing today, you are not doing marketing.