Understanding online marketing strategies
Marketing is such a broad term that people always get confused to define it; with ever evolving technology and customer expectations, marketers are always on their toes to update themselves with latest strategies and concepts.
This is particularly true with online marketing.Online marketing and digital marketing have always been confused as being different form marketing (traditional marketing).
If you analyze the data surrounding marketing then you would understand that both terms are inter-related and the only difference between them is the medium and the strategies.
Internet and mobile technology have changed the landscape of marketing. It has given a medium to small businesses and startups to compete with corporate powers in their marketing strategies.
Online marketing has provided cost-effective solutions to marketing problems. Traditionally, marketing involved spending big amount of money in televisions, radios and print media, which was a big bottle neck for small businesses and startups.
Understanding the definition of online marketing will help us better understand digital marketing as well as marketing as a whole.
Definition of Online Marketing
According to www.techopedia.com
“Online marketing refers to a set of powerful tools and methodologies used for promoting products and services through the Internet.”
In simple terms it can be termed as marketing activities done through internet or web.
Various categories of online marketing
Understanding most important mediums and techniques can help us better understand online marketing. Let us classify some of the important online marketing techniques one by one.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing is a branch of internet marketing. SEM is used to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results page (SERPs) through organic or paid traffic optimization.
SEM usually has two sub categories SEO and SEA. SEM involves optimizing websites for all the major search engines like Google, Bing etc. SEM is one of the fundamental online marketing strategies which is tried and tested by many influential marketers.
In the industry, marketers usually term SEM as “paid search”. To better understand search marketing you have to understand and define the two categories of SEM.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is a technique used for ranking websites or webpages higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs) of search engines. It is a branch of search engine marketing (SEM).
It is used to drive organic traffic to a website using on-page an off-page optimization techniques. If a website ranks in the result page, it will receive more traffic or visitors or clicks which can be converted into customers.
Normally search involves Image search, local search, video search, news search and voice search etc. It is one of the easy to learn online marketing techniques.
If you are planning to start online marketing for your service or products; one can use SEO as the foundation for online marketing as it involves optimizing a “website”, which is considered as an online real estate.
Search engine advertising
Search engine advertising (SEA) is a form of paid advertising which is used to increase the traffic or visitors of a website through search engine result pages (SERPs), thereby increasing the sales of a website.
SEA or paid search is one of the main sources of revenue for search engines. It is a branch of search engine marketing (SEM). It is a pay per click (PPC) based advertising model.
Many marketers confused it with SEM as a marketing technique. SEA is a power tool for generating traffic and increasing conversion through sales.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
Pay per click (PPC) also known as Cost per click (CPC) is an advertising model, where advertiser pay an amount for every click of their ads. There is always confusion about PPC (Pay Per Click) with search engine marketing (SEM), but they are totally different form each other.
SEM is a marketing technique where as PPC is advertising model which is used in different advertising techniques. PPC is not only used in search ads (search engines result pages), but it is also used in display ads (website pages).
Even social networks like Facebook have adopted this model for their advertising platform. Though it is paid, it can be a source of traffic to a website and paid search have more conversion ratio then organic search.
Email marketing is one of the oldest and safest marketing techniques. Though lately, many marketers believed that it has lost its effectiveness. But still it is one of the most effective marketing techniques for marketers based on return on investments (ROI).
Email marketing involves sending email messages by companies to their current or previous customers to enhance their relationships. It involves sending ads, business proposals, sales pitch etc.
With email marketing, you can directly communicate with your customers or potential customers. It is a great way for building trust and brand identity. You can do email marketing with subscribers or customers data base.
Email marketing can be done with sold email list, but is a risky business as you may end up in the spam folder. Email marketing is effective because you are sending messages directly to the inboxes of customers or potential customers where they have least amount of distractions.
Social media marketing
There are many social media networks like twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn which are used as marketing platform by various multinational companies. Why social media has become popular as a marketing technique is because of its reach to the masses.
You can interact with your customers or build a customer base by carefully creating a campaign around your products or services. It is a great platform for marketing you products or services.
Most of the social networks have in-built analytics which helps you to track your engagement with your audience. Social media channels have also become a tool for addressing customer grievances.
Many people show their frustration or unhappiness with products or services of companies by sharing their views in their profiles or communities. This is a potential area where companies can build customers royalty by clearing their grievances.
Affiliate marketing is one of the traditional marketing techniques used in online space. It is performance based marketing, where affiliates are rewarded for their marketing efforts in bringing a customer or visitor to the business.
It refers to marketing other company’s products or services for some percentage of commission. Affiliate marketing is often missed by marketers because it overlaps with other marketing techniques.
Affiliates use advertising techniques like email marketing, pay per click, content marketing and display advertising to reach their goals.
Affiliate marketing is often confused with referral marketing, but the later involves building trust and personal relationships; whereas affiliate marketing involves financial motivations.
Businesses can use affiliate marketing as a tool for marketing their services and products. They can approach website and blog owners for displaying their product for some percentage, when a viewer clicks their products and visits their company’s website.
Branding (Link building)
In a broader sense, Link building can be explained as networking in the web space like social media, forums and communities.
It is totally different from the off page SEO technique known as link building which involves getting a referral inbound link back to their website or web page; so as to increase their search engine result ranking.
One can build their brand identity by taking part in discussions, communities, Q&A’s as a representative of their firm or company.
Branding involves creating an image of a company or business, their true value, what the business stands for and what makes them different from the crowd.
This is a slow but always an effective method for marketing your company or business.
Just like Customer is king in business, content is king in online marketing.
Everything revolves around content, from creating ad copies for PPC to writing an article in a blog, if you’re content is great than you can automatically gain audience for your company.
Be it an infographics or video from your workplace, creative content will always catch eyeballs; which can convert traffic into potential customers.
Content marketing involves creating strategic and valuable content to attract and retain engaging audience, who can become customers. Marketers can create content addressing different stages of the marketing funnel.
Though video marketing comes under content marketing, it needs a special mention because of the fact that YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web.
According to Google, people are using You Tube as a search engine. Video contents are more engaging and informative than plain text. Various social networks have now included video applications in their platforms.
Marketers can create engaging videos to promote their brand, products or services. Customer testimonials, how to videos, product videos are some of the areas where engaging and informative contents can be created.
Like traditional marketing, online marketing techniques overlap one another. Strategies like SEO, PPC and content marketing are connected to one another.
An online marketer needs to understand that every marketing technique will not work for his business (niche). A proper market research must be done before exploring all these techniques.With emerging technologies, online marketing will become complex and interesting.
Please let us know your thoughts, if we have left some strategies.