Online marketing, digital marketing, internet marketing, where do you start and what in the world is the difference?
Well, if you’re new to online marketing, the truth is…there is no difference between these terms. They all refer to the same thing.
However, the strategies that fall within it – like videos, social media, search engines, content, and email marketing, can propel your business to reach explosive growth.
Just take a look at the Inc. 5000 list. There are tons of businesses that just started a few years ago that are already making 7 to 8-figure revenues.
A lot of these newer companies relied solely on online marketing to achieve this massive success.
The Internet has allowed businesses of ANY size to connect directly with their target market, add value, and increase revenue.
That’s why we believe the time period we’re in, RIGHT NOW, will be bigger than the California Gold-Rush and the Industrial Revolution.
The whole world is using the Internet every day on the same platforms for the most part, making the Internet a GOLD-MIND right now.
And we want your business to take full advantage of this massive opportunity.
If you’re starting with nothing or know very little about how companies are using online marketing to explode their businesses, then this blog can help provide some guidance.
Let’s start with the basics, shall we?
What is Online Marketing?
Put simply, online marketing is the process of using the Internet to promote your business. Social media ads, email subscriptions, and blogs are all a part of online marketing.
With the shift in consumer habits, traditional marketing means have simply become less efficient. Now, any business that wants to be able to compete effectively with their competitors will have to have some type of online marketing techniques in place.
But that’s not to say you can just throw an ad up online and expect to get leads. Many businesses don’t recognize this and end up not getting the results they desire.
Why do most Businesses fail at Online Marketing?
Oftentimes, they try to use traditional marketing tactics in an online environment.
Most commonly, they use a sales-centric marketing approach, when a customer-centric approach is the only way to be successful at marketing in the Information Age we live in today.
You see, with traditional forms of advertising, like billboards, magazine ads, and even some TV commercials, promotion was all about the business.
It wasn’t uncommon to see ads like…
“Find out why our COMPUTER is the BEST computer around. Over 100 years of existence. Superb Quality. And, you want to know something? Let me tell you secret. This computer. Right here. Is better. Than our competitors. BAM! Gotcha. Yup, I gotcha!!! So will you be paying with cash or card?”
In the marketing universe, we refer to this type of cheesy sales techniques as “Sales-Centric”.
This aggressive, one-way type of selling worked very well when consumers HAD to rely on the salesperson’s expertise in order to make a purchase.
However, the Internet has completely changed this fact. So much so that we refer to the current times we’re in as the “Information Age”.
The Internet has provided us with access to so much information to help us make decisions.
Now, we can easily find answers to our questions, have way more options when it comes to making a purchase, and can determine if a company is a good fit or not before even interacting with them.
As a result, the Internet has shifted marketing from a sales-centric approach to what we call now is a “customer-centric” approach.
Jeff Bezos, founder of the biggest Internet company in the world, goes as far as embedding what he calls “customer-obsession” to the DNA of his company.
Everything Amazon does is to please the customer. From Amazon prime, fast shipping times, low-cost products, product reviews, and so on.
The point is, if you want to succeed at online marketing, you must first realize and agree that you will take a customer-centric approach to your strategy.
This means that your campaigns will be focused more on the needs, wants, and goals of your customers than your business itself.
You must have a strong mission and commit to helping your customers reach their goals, even if that conversation does not immediately involve telling them why your business is the best.
Luckily, it’s never too late to start building a customer-centric online marketing strategy for your business!
What are the Steps to Getting Started with Online Marketing?
- Get conversion-ready with great branding, website design, videos, and photography.
- Go ahead and optimize your website for SEO so your organic rankings can grow as your website becomes more popular.
- Start creating value for your audience through content marketing.
- When all that’s said and done, you can then share micro-pieces of your content through social media platforms.
- Use digital advertising to speed-up the process, and possibly skip some steps.
- Make sure that you have email marketing in place so that you can convert the people already interested in your business into buying customers.
As a beginner to online marketing, these steps are a great place to start.
Of course, we can jump right into talking about social media advertising and how we helped a client turn $17000 in spend into over $150,000.00 in revenue.
Or tell you how we launched a SEO campaign that resulted in $100,000 in revenue for a client.
But the truth is, those campaigns weren’t what created those results. The business must first offer an incredibly valuable product or service, and present itself in a way that is trustworthy and credible to their target audience.
Then and only then, will driving traffic from online marketing campaigns work. And as a small business owner, effective online marketing doesn’t have to be out of reach for you.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the simple steps to creating an explosive online marketing strategy for your business.
6 Simple Steps to Online Marketing for Beginners
Step #1 Get Conversion-Ready
The first step to online marketing is to get your business conversion-ready.
This means you need a well-designed website and logo, along with high-resolution photography and videos.
The goal here is to replicate the in-person experience of your products or services in an online environment.
For example, let’s say you’re shopping for a pair of shoes in the mall. In the mall, you can visit a store and walk around and see all of the shoes.
Eventually, you’ll stop, pick-up a shoe that catches your attention, and maybe even try it on.
So to replicate this same experience in an online environment, you need an attractive store, which you can achieve through effective website design and branding.
You will also need to stand-out and catch people’s attention, which you can do through professional photography.
Then, in some cases people will be highly interested, but just want a little more. Like trying on your shoes.
In this case, the best thing you can do here is to create videos of your products or services. Show people what’s it like to experience your product. You can show different angles and how it’s used. And so on.
If people don’t like or trust your store setup, or like your products, it doesn’t matter what online strategy you have.
You can have the best ad in the world, it won’t sell a bad website or products without videos or photos.
So do your business a favor by having an effective website, videography, photography, and branding.
Step #2 Optimize your website for SEO
The next step is to optimize your website for SEO, which is search engine optimization.
This will help you show-up on Google when someone is searching for a product like yours.
For example, let’s say your toilet broke and you need a plumber.
Naturally, the first thing you do is go to Google and type in “plumbing services,” and a list of search results shows up.
You’ll see various ads appear at the top of the results page. And then you’ll see some local SEO results, followed by some organic SEO listings.
All of the listing results below the ads represent websites that are receiving traffic completely free from Google.
This is what SEO is all about – optimizing your website to be trusted by Google, resulting in top Google rankings and TONS of free website traffic.
So once your website is designed, it’s best to optimize your website for SEO. This way, as your website becomes more popular, so will your SEO rankings.
SEO can drive hundreds, thousands, and even MILLIONS of visitors to your website, directly from Google.
For some perspective, we used SEO to drive over 4 million website visitors to our website over a few year’s time frame.
And your business can do it too!
Step #3 Create Content. A lot of Content.
Content is King when it comes to online marketing.
Because remember, we’re living an information-age right now. Customers who shop online must trust your business and understand your solution in order for a transaction to occur.
Content is the most effective way to do that.
Unless the product you’re selling is something people buy without thinking, an impulse purchase, then you will need to create content to build trust and help your audience fully understand why your solution is best to solve their problem.
The more money your product costs, the more resistance people will have when buying it.
For example, let’s say you wanted to host virtual events, and a company owned a software application that allows you to do this effectively.
Problem is, the application costs $10,000/year. And to make matters worse, you have never heard of this company before.
Chances are, the company you’re looking at can’t just run an ad on Facebook to get you to buy their product.
For one, you’re going to have to fully understand the application to justify the $10,000 price tag.
And furthermore, even if you do understand the value, you’re still going to have to trust that company enough to deliver these benefits to you.
Your customers are always thinking about two things – Do I really need this? And do I really need to get this, from you?
What Is Content?
Content is what bridges the gap between your price and the consumers’ resistance to buy.
It comforts the buyer and helps them overcome any objections they have before buying your products or services.
Great online marketers understand what their buyer’s journey looks like and what questions they may have, and then create content to help them get over those roadblocks.
Content can be written, audio, or visual. It can come in the form of eBooks, short guides, videos, blog posts, and so much more.
Regardless of the content type, you need to create something that ultimately adds value to your audience.
And the best part about content is that it can be used to fuel all of your other online marketing efforts. It can boost your SEO, social media, and email marketing campaigns.
For example, our own agency received over 5 million views to the free content on our website. This has built enormous trust and awareness amongst our target audience.
But to fully learn the ins and outs of content marketing, check out our “What is Content Marketing” blog.
Step #4 Build a Social Media Marketing Presence
Now that you have your content created, you can start creating micro pieces of your content to share on social media.
Here you can take the long-form content you’ve created, and break it down into smaller, more digestible pieces of content, to engage your audience on social media.
Social media marketing is so important because your customers are on there, it’s very inexpensive to advertise there, and it’s highly targeted.
To be successful at social media marketing, like everything else, you have to create content that benefits your audience.
Companies that see little to no results from social media oftentimes focus too much on themselves, using a sales centric approach we discussed earlier, to promote their social media campaign.
As long as you create content that is valuable to your audience, and make sure that people ACTUALLY see it, you will have a great chance of success at social media marketing.
As you consistently add value to your audience and they engage with your business, they will begin to form a positive impression of your company and trust your business.
Once they trust you, they’ll be more likely to buy from you. And this is how you continue to grow your business.
Step #5 Use Digital Advertising to Accelerate Awareness & Engagement
Digital advertising, like social media advertising and search engine advertising, can be used to complement your social media marketing and content marketing efforts.
For example, you may promote your best pieces of content on your social media pages or promote your hottest blog post.
However, digital advertising is also a powerful tool to direct tons of website traffic from social media or search engines to your website.
And the best part about digital advertising is that you do not necessarily have to create a bunch of content to generate tons of awareness and traffic.
You can use a single piece of valuable content, and run a single advertisement on social media that drives hundreds of thousands, even MILLIONS, of website traffic to your website.
Let’s look at the company Bear Mattress.
Bear Mattress is running an ad to help people find-out what kind of sleeper they are.
They know that if people know what kind of sleeper they are, then they’ll likely be interested in figuring out what kind of mattress supports their sleeping style.
As a mattress company, this makes a perfect ad for social media because your valuable content, “the guide to figuring out what kind of sleeper they are,” engaged them.
Now all of a sudden, they’re interested in buying a new mattress.
Even crazier, this company started in 2014 and is already grossing $10M per year in revenue, according to the Inc. 5000 list.
This is how powerful digital advertising can be. Instead of creating a high volume of content, you can create a few pieces of high-quality content that is proven to engage people online and motivate them to purchase.
The volume in digital advertising is not in your content, it is in your pockets. The more dollars you can spend, the more people you can reach.
This also means that if you’re not too sure what will work to motivate your customers to buy, you can end-up wasting a ton of money.
To be successful, you’ll need to know what works for your customers, and what works for various digital advertising mediums.
For example, Google ads are completely different from Facebook Ads. On Google you can target people based off of their intent, and with Facebook ads you can target people based on their behavior.
Even better, we explain more about effectively using platforms like these here.
Step #6 Use Email Marketing to Nurture Leads & Speed-up Your Sales Cycle
As your business grows online, you will more than likely start accumulating email addresses.
If you’re a service-based business, these emails may be leads. If you’re an eCommerce business, these emails may be prior customers. Or for any business, it may include anyone who has opted-in to your email list to obtain more value from your company.
Regardless, it is critical that you have an email marketing strategy in place to foster these relationships with your email subscribers.
Email marketing consists of sending routine email newsletters to your email list to further engage them and motivate them to purchase.
Sure, some people will purchase your products when they come across your other marketing efforts. But there will also be a group of interested people who do not.
They aren’t necessarily opposed to buying your products yet, they just do not have the urgency right now or fully understand the value of your product or service.
Email marketing is often used to get this group of people to the finish line. Chances are if they made it to your email list, they already know who you are and perhaps even trust you.
You can send weekly or monthly emails to continuously engage your subscribers through value creation. And, you can run time-sensitive promotions to incentivize them to purchase quickly.
Email marketing may not the hottest type of online marketing available today, BUT it sure does work.
As a matter of fact, small businesses report a $28 ROI for every $1 they invest into email marketing.
We’ve sent single emails that have resulted in over $30,000 in revenue for our clients.
So investing in email marketing as a part of your online marketing strategy will help you to not miss-out on these revenue-adding benefits.
So, we’ve covered everything you need to know about getting started with online marketing for beginners. And now you know nearly everything the internet has to offer when it comes to marketing your business.
With this newfound digital marketing knowledge, you are now equipped with the top online marketing strategies to help your business grow.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg…
With a little bit of help from online marketing experts, we’ll help you discover even more of what your online marketing has the ability to do.
Ready to give your marketing some LYFE? Contact us here or talk to an expert now at (404) 596-7925.