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Online Marketing

The web has changed how we work, how we spend time, how we communicate and how we spend money. The greatest distinction of online marketing is that it works for you 24/7 offering worldwide visibility and the ability to target a specific audience.  As the saying goes: “We do not plan to fail, we fail to plan”.

Why is Online Marketing important:

It takes an average of 7 touch points to make a sale.  What’s a touch point?  Here are a few: referrals, a web search, a social media mention, seeing a press release, receiving an email, seeing on online ad.  The more online marketing puzzle pieces you have working for you, the more likely you will get prospective customers to know, like and trust you.  Remember if you are out of sight, you’re out of mind.

The Strategy:

  • Build Awareness:
    You might have the best product or service but if nobody knows about it, what’s the point.
  • Communicate:
    Educate your target audience. What do you do? Why should someone buy from you? Define your target market: who is your ideal customer, what are their needs, wants and/or problems, and how can you help them.
  • Connect:
    This is where you get people to know, like  and trust you.
  • Service:
    Good service is a precursor to a sale and repeat business.
  • Sales:
    All of the above comes together to produce sales.
The best social media marketers listen, understand, monitor feedback, participate and actively manage what they set up.

Components of Online Marketing:

Content Marketing:

Content Marketing – Become an authority. Write text for your website that offers the content your customers are looking to find.  Write articles to share on blogs, Google Reader, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Digg it, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon to name a few. Speak to your target audience – engage with informative and entertaining content. Create and spark conversation to attract interest in your brand and drive traffic to your website.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM):

Search Engine Marketing – SEM is an umbrella term that encompasses all parts of search: organic (with the help of seo), paid and local. It can be defined as marketing your site through search engines. Optimizing for organic or natural search, incorporating paid placement for ads, and listing your site on search engines increases your visibility in search engine results pages.  The largest fish in the search engine marketing waters is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Optimizing a website to increase visibility in a search engine’s organic search may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to increase its relevance to specific keywords and phrases. Read more on the best practices for SEO.  Paid search is an online marketing piece that can help an organization obtain search visibility in the sponsored area of a search results page.  Unlike organic search, paid for placement allows you to pay to be visibile.  Advertisers bid on a per click basis to have their message appear.  Marketing using paid placement uses the same keywords and phrases utilized in an organic or local search. Descriptive phrases within the ad should support the keywords in your title and link to appropriate pages. Ads should be monitored to measure the success of your ad (clicks, leads, sales, etc) and the return on your investment.  Local search is extremely valuable for local organization to get searched and found in verticals like local search. Explore local search engines to have your website listed (many times for free).

Email Marketing:

Email Marketing – Stay in touch with existing customers & acquire new ones. Read more about the many benefits of email marketing campaigns.

Social Media Marketing:

Social Media Marketing – The term Social Media means the technical tools themselves.  Social media includes things like video, audio or texts that are published and shared in a social environment such as a video sharing site, a blog or podcast. Social networking refers to the connection between people or a group of people to network or communicate.  Social networking sites include facebook, twitter and linkedIn. Social Media Marketing is a type of online marketing which supports marketing goals through the creation of social media and participation in various social media networks.

Blogging

Blogging – Blogs are no longer online journals. They can become a powerful marketing asset to an organization. Blogs can increase search engine results.  Many times blog posts and articles are shared among friends and co-workers.  The longer you blog the more content grows and compounds providing more content to be searched on, boosting visibility and long term marketing scalability. Blog content can include snippets from other blogs (giving appropriate credit to the source, of course), feature interviews with customers you admire, employees, case studies, press releases and so on.  Write in your own voice sharing your opinions, values and knowledge. Have fun and it will come through to your readers.

Social Opinion Sites

Social opinion sites allow us to get feedback easily on many different products and services. Organizations can tap tools like yelp, google reviews and “facebook nearby” (available to mobile users that have the facebook app) to see what customers are saying about them and create a forum for happy customers to spread the word. The good news is that great testimonials shared on a third party site can serve as a great credibility source and a source of new traffic. The bad news is that negative reviews can affect your brand, so sites like these must be monitored.

Social News Sites:

Social news sites like digg, reddit or mixx are websites that house user generated content which means anyone can submit. Content is ranked by popularity meaning how many people have linked to it or shared it. Social bookmarking sites like delicious and StumbleUpon took the old ways of bookmarking sites on our browser and made them web based so that we can access them on any browser.  Social news and bookmarking sites are paying attention to marketing wise because the popularity of sites helps the public search for news to share and helps them share what they like on their own personal social media outlets. Consider producing content to submit to social news sites as another tool in your online marketing tool chest.

Social Event Sites:

Social Event Sites – Social networking is about connecting people online.  For those that have events offline, you have social media marketing options that can help boost visibility and increase live foot traffic to your event location.  Foursquare allows organizations to create incentives to people who “check-in” to their location which then exposes the organization to all of their friends.  Event sites like Meetup and eventbrite help people find events based on their interests and location. These sites also make event announcements and rsvp management easy, thanks to the ability to post and manage on the event sites themselves.

Wikis:

Wikis – An example of a wiki is www.wikipedia.com which is a free encyclopedia that anyone can add, edit or contribute to.  Wikipedia is considered one of the most important sources of information on the internet. From an online marketing perspective, having a wikipedia entry could increase the chance that search engines will place your company higher in their search engine results.

Online Advertising:

  • Online Advertising can take your online marketing to a new level when done strategically. It can expedite awareness, distribute your message, make connections and support sales.
  • Search Engine Advertising has targeting power.  You can target around keyphrases and determine your budget. Google, Yahoo and Bing are three of the most popular sites to advertise on.
  • Display Ads (also known as banner ads) – many local websites offer organizations the space to display a specific sized image for a fee. Fees will be based on placement, impressions and/or cost per click. Affiliate marketing is another option for some businesses.
  • Social Media Advertising involves buying ads on social media sources with the ability to highly target specific segments of the population such as:  age, location, interests and more.
  • Local Advertising is available on major search engines and local websites and blogs where you pay for ads that will only be shown to a local geographic area.  NeighborhoodPromos is a powerful source to feature your business via their website with the added benefit of also appearing on their email campaigns which are delivered to a hyper local audience in the Philadelphia (Bucks and Montgomery County) area.

Email Marketing vs. Email Advertising:

Email Marketing means sending messages to your own permission based email list which is usually secured via an email sign-up form on your own website or physical location. Email Advertising involves reaching a potential customer in their email inbox through someone else’s list. Email Marketing and Email Advertising are so effective because it connects you with potential clients in the place where they check constantly – their inbox!

Your website is your opportunity to make a positive impression online.

Online Marketing Measurement:

Create, Execute and Monitor:

  • Qualitative: strengthens your brand,  builds creativity, improves public relations, helps realize goals.
  • Quantitative:  evaluate online views, number of inquiries, leads, email signups and sales.