For anyone interested in enlarging their business or maximizing the return of their marketing dollars, online marketing is one of the most effective ways of doing it. Online marketing is effective as a part of a well developed marketing plan.
What is Online Marketing?
Online marketing means many things today. You can consider online advertising, search engine marketing, affiliate marketing, and even SEO (search engine optimization) as online marketing. It has also changed and evolved over the last decade. With the invention of Google Ad sense and other forms of targeted, pay-per-click advertising, online marketing is a lot more than 468 X 60 banners.
When thinking about the types of online marketing available today, you really need to think about the objectives of your online marketing dollars. Are you looking to sell a product? Move prospects to your web site or marketing pages? Create awareness of your company? The most important thing to remember is that your online placement, creative, and offer must be consistent on the web and your own website or retail business. This creates a seamless buying experience, increasing the chances of a purchase being made on your online marketing creative.
As mentioned before, online marketing also includes affiliate marketing – a method of utilizing partner sites to show off your products or services. One of the best methods of developing an affiliate network is by using content in addition to an aggressive affiliate commission plan. Other web sites look for content and useful information. If you can give useful content on partner sites with an opportunity to earn money at the same time, they will want to participate in your affiliate program.
It’s important to realize that Search Engine Optimization is also a component of online marketing. Very often, SEO is not considered part of the online marketing mix. However, it is one of the most valuable aspects of an online marketing campaign. When launching a new product or marketing an existing one, make sure that it’s easy for people to find your website and offer page. Searchers who see your online ads may not click right away. Rather, prospective buyers may later be looking for your promotion when a specific need arises. Think about the keywords prospects may use to search for your offer and optimize your pages with those. Also, be sure to link your promotional pages to your web site’s home page to optimize search result rankings.
Why is Online Marketing Important?
Online marketing can provide direct responses and the ability to measure campaign effectiveness. This helps you to test your offer(s) and creative, as well as measure the overall return on your marketing investment. Having the ability to evaluate effectiveness in real time allows you to reposition your marketing dollars or switch out creative to improve results.
With more than 68% of homes having internet access and about two-thirds of them having a high speed connection, the web is a reality today. If you want to reach the highest amount of consumers, you need to include online marketing as part of your marketing mix. Online marketing also gives you the opportunity to segment your market, allowing for highly targeted positioning. Unlike traditional advertising, online advertising allows you to select the sites that you run your ads on. There are also many services that will help you deliver ads on appropriate topics or contextual pages.
Best known for contextual and pay-per-click advertising, Google allows you to choose specific keywords for your ad to be displayed. When people search for the keywords you’ve selected, your ads will appear. The power of Google uses the affiliate network they’ve created to display their contextual ads across hundreds of thousands of websites. Despite recent allegations of click fraud, Google still gives one of the most targeted online marketing options. Other services, like Overture, owned by Yahoo, gives similar services that deliver targeted online marketing.
Who Can Benefit?
Anyone who is interested in improving their marketing results should consider the role that online marketing plays in their marketing mix. Because there are so many ways to use online marketing, including advertising, contextual ads, pay-per-click advertising, affiliate programs and more, the practice can benefit anyone looking for a measurable return on their investment.
Before beginning any online marketing campaign, you should always know what your budget is – how much you’re willing to invest in your marketing efforts. Ask yourself how much you are willing to spend? What type of conversion do you need to break even? What you hope your click to purchase ratio will be? Understanding these simple financial metrics is essential in determining how much you want to spend on your online marketing.
How to begin…
Starting your online marketing campaign can be as simple as bidding on a few keywords or as complex as developing a comprehensive online marketing campaign that consists of multiple buys across a network of websites. As with any new marketing venture, it’s best to start small and work your way up to more intricate marketing campaigns.
My recommendation for beginning your online marketing plan is to focus on your own site (developing promotional banners, buttons, and content), creating an affiliate program, and pay-per click advertising. The first two methods should not cost much to set up and will move your campaign forward. Supplemented with pay-per-click advertising, your marketing message will reach your intended audience.