Published June 2017
What is Internet marketing, and how do you know if it will help your business?
Broadly speaking, there are three categories of Internet marketing. This article will give you an overview of all the major types, how they work and my comparison between the options. I also offer some background and links to example businesses they have worked for.
Its abbreviation is SMM. Social media marketing covers platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, SnapChat, MySpace and Google+. I also group it with something called affiliate Internet marketing, though it is technically incorrect. I group it this way because, by my definition, SMM is marketing on another platform, be it WhatsApp, a website or any other program of sorts.
Therefore, by my definition, affiliate Internet marketing is similar, and to keep things simple I have added it to this group. The other two methods of marketing clearly do not fit within this group.
I want to start with Instagram and Facebook, for two reasons. One, they are by far the most popular social media platforms and two, because they are owned by the same company.
The backend of marketing on both of these platforms are similar and focus on a digital profile/demographic and location trigger. That means you can advertise based on a potential buyer profile. This profile will be based on selecting things the buyer might like, where they are located, possibly even their age and language. So you can place marketing or adverts based on social trends, human demographics and location.
Facebook has over 1.9 billion users. (The world’s entire population is 7 billion).
Instagram has over 600 million users; although, some resources report it to be 400 million. Can’t trust everything you read on the Internet.
To do marketing on Facebook and Instagram you need to open an account, open a business profile, load payment methods, post marketable information and then run a campaign linked to the profile or the post itself.
Link to start: https://www.facebook.com/business/overview
YouTube has over 1 billion users and is owned by Google. It is, without a doubt, the most used platform available. AdWords, which I will get to further on in this article, needs to be linked to your YouTube account. Once that is achieved you can prepare some general settings, load a video, target through device and demographic related triggers (age, gender, topics), keyword triggers, and Bob’s your uncle, you are ready to go. Your video advert is up and running.
Of course, making a video is another issue. There are a lot of simple softwares out there to help nowadays, and if you don’t want to do the work yourself, you might be able to track down a media student willing to help for a small payment.
LinkedIn has over 400 million users. 40% of users check in daily. 41% of millionaires use this platform, which is an interesting bit of data the website shares.
I, personally, only check this site 6-10 times…a year. Mostly because I keep forgetting my password, and I am not looking for employment, and when I employ it is normally by reference of an actual person. That’s me, not the rest of the world.
LinkedIn’s advertising platform lets you reach highly targeted groups of professionals and you need a company page or showcase page. Then you get two types of marketing options: sponsored updates and text ads.
Sponsored updates basically mean pushing a post from your profile and text ad is just that, a text ad.
You can direct visitors to your page on LinkedIn or to a URL on your website - through locations and target audience information such as professional traits (company name, company industry, company size, job title, job function, job seniority, school, fields of study, degrees, skills and so on) but also through selecting LinkedIn group membership information such as gender and age.
Twitter marketing is starting to roll out more vigorously now. It has fewer users than Instagram, which is interesting because it has been around longer. 319 million users (reported).
There are three types of Twitter marketing:
Link to start: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/twitter-advertising/
Tumblr has 300 million users.
This is a highly visual program, but because it appears to be more complex, Instagram is taking some of its business. The marketing platform on Tumblr can be broken down into two options:
Link to start: https://www.tumblr.com/business
Google+ has over 110million users, but only 6.6 million users have made more than 50 posts. So this is really not a platform I need to focus on. My humble opinion is that this was a flop for Google. (I hope the people I know at Google don’t read this … they get very defensive… trying to debate with someone from Google requires a lot of coffee)
Pinterest has about 70 million users. Not going to focus on this one either.
SnapChat has about 150 million and just added the Group Story tool to compete with Instagram. Not going to focus on this one either.
MySpace… what’s that?
In reported order of most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and then Tumblr. No mention of WhatsApp, which is technically correct, but I believe this app is going to do some amazing work in this area.
PPC is the abbreviation for pay per click, but a method which is also known as paid search marketing. Basically, it is a way of buying visits to your site rather than attempting to earn those visits organically via SEO listings, adverts on social media or affiliate websites. PPC, broadly speaking, can be broken down into the following categories.
Display Advertising: A type of online advertising that comes in several forms, including banner ads and media. There are more options but, unlike text-based ads, display advertising relies on elements such as images, audio and video to advertise a message. I would still bulk this type of marketing under affiliate marketing because, by my definition, it is marketing on another website, which you are doing through a marketing method featured on an affiliate program. Affiliate marketing is further an Internet marketing category, which I don’t really use because I hate being a tenant on someone else’s website. I have had no success with any affiliate companies. With that said, it has many pros, and, similar to social media, it also shares many of the cons.
Some helpful links to get going:
Retargeting PPC Advertising: This is basically adding code to your website, known as a tag or pixel so that a visitor can be tracked and added to your remarketing audiences through browser cookies. Let's say you operate an e-commerce that sells home décor and furniture. You might create a “desk” remarketing audience through the marketing platform, based on people who visit the pages on your website where you sell desks. You know then that they have been on that page. Now, with that knowledge, you can show these specific visitors highly targeted display ads on other websites that market your desks. But now, instead of offering desks, you punt them with desk chairs. Basically, if they leave your website, you can entice them back with something relevant to one of their last interests.
Price Comparison Website Advertising: People use these websites intending to buy. To get a product listed is simple. (Insert disclaimer here). One thing that all these websites should have in common is that they need the details of all your products, which usually comes in a "CSV" spread-sheet or sometimes in "XML" depending on your website. There are standard files from publicly available e-commerce software packages, so basically a plugin that can create these files for you. Speak to your website designer.
There are two pricing schemes for these sites. Some of them use a pay-per-click model (PPC), others will join your affiliate campaign (if you have one), and some will allow either option.
This marketing option is a little more expensive to maintain sometimes, but it has to pay off in the end if done well because of the type of user you are attracting. This moves me onto the most important option: PPC.
With PPC there are a few options, but the king of kings is Google Adwords.
This is an advertising service by Google for companies wanting to display their ads on Google search. The program enables you to display your website advert when a user types in a search phrase you have programmed to trigger your advert. For example, you sell cars. User is on Google and types “new cars for sale” and those are the words you have programmed through a bidding system to trigger an advert for your website.
Link to get started:
SEO is definitely the dinosaur of Internet marketing but, unlike the dinosaur, is a marketing method that is still very much alive. SEO is the process of getting traffic from the free, organic editorial or natural search results on search engines.
In short, it is the manipulation of a website to help it rank better than competitor sites on search engines.
So how is it done? There are so many arguments between web developers and computer nerds, because no one knows the computer program algorithm. In other words, the way it thinks/ranks. There are widely accepted theories and tricks of the trade, most of which has to be done by a web designer as the website is being built and then over time, to maintain it.
The benefit is that once the foundation work is done you don’t have to pay for your position on Google/search engines. Your website lists naturally. However, you do have to maintain SEO. The reason for this is because there are over one billion websites, all with SEO status. .
So with all the fuss of social media networks, blogging, email marketing, PPC, SEO and so forth, how do you know which type or variety is best for your business?
Let’s broadly look at the pros and cons for each of the three main options.
Of course, the most obvious difference between the three categories is that one dabbles in a social arena and the other two dabble in a ready to buy market.
So, the main comparisons are as follows:
Of course, some products and services need references to build client relationships before they buy, so you need to be able to engage to achieve this. So some businesses have to have social marketing components.
Time of action …. 2 weeks, up to 1 year.
3 success stories: https://mention.com/blog/seo-case-studies/
Time of action …. 1 week, up to 3 months.
3 success stories: https://www.webceo.com/blog/3-social-media-marketing-success-stories/
I also liked this one for Tumblr: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/26-ways-to-market-your-business-with-tumblr/
Time of action …. 1 day, up to 1 month.
Two success stories: http://www.rhinofish.com/ppc-success-stories/
So, how do you choose which of the three options to use?
Well, you start with step 3. Skipping step 1 (Research) and 2 (plan/roll out).
Simply assess competitors. Who’s doing well? Then do what they do (step 3) but better than them (step 4 = assess and tweak)!
Start with step 1.
No company or product really uses only one type of marketing. It is always a balancing act and shifting of focus. The Internet is very good at finding new clients.
Social media networks are very good at maintaining brand awareness and therefore boosting return clients.
New companies need to focus on finding clients. Same goes for companies that only sell their product once… perhaps a good example would be a funeral home selling coffins.
Those companies that need repeat business can use PPC and SEO to find clients, but they need to have social media to remind clients to return. For example, a company selling holidays catch clients on Google searching for accommodation, but then use social media to punt specials in the future, knowing who their clients are and where their social hang-outs are on the Internet.
How much do you spend?
I love this question from clients.
I answer with two questions:
Let’s say their answer to question 1 was R10 000 per month
And their answer to question 2 was 50% of clients.
I would say, let’s start with a budget of 5000 per month, on the most profitable product or service you offer.
Internet marketing does not work for every company. However, even compared to traditional printed, radio or TV marketing, in general, it offers more control, better ability to target, and costs less.
Internet marketing in general, is better than traditional forms of marketing.
Published June 2017