Are you a photographer, a graphic designer, or a makeup artist? Perhaps you bake cakes and make small chops for small events? If you possess any special skills that people appreciate, then you have the potential to create a thriving business with it, whilst making yourself some serious cash.
Perhaps you are a student entrepreneur, or maybe you’ve just finished school and is hoping to capture a larger customer base for your business. The easiest way to get people to know about your business is through the word-of-mouth of your already satisfied customers. However, there are other ways, and the internet makes it all so much easier.
What is internet marketing? Internet marketing is a broad term. It basically includes any marketing effort you conduct online. It’s all about promoting a brand or products/services over the internet with the use of tools that help generate traffic, capture leads, and make sales.
The internet has made marketing so much easier just like it has made everything else. Nowadays, it’s even possible to market without spending a kobo. You can attract thousands of customers just by creating a trending social media account.
Internet marketing is a necessity for every business that wants to go far. Having an online presence will help you establish your expertise, gain new leads, and make sales without stress.
Therefore, in this article, we will look at the basics of the various types of online marketing platforms. You’ll learn what you need to get started with any platform of your choice. Let’s get to it.
Internet marketing avenues: Below are some of the most important channels through which you can advertise your business on the internet.
1. Social media marketing: Open a social media account and market your products organically, or opt for paid advertising on a social media platform’s native pay per click (PPC) ad programme.
Social media marketing is a great way to keep your products/services in people’s minds. You create awareness for your business and interact with potential customers. It also provides a strong avenue for feedback.
Facebook is one of the most popular platforms for marketing. You can create a page that shows all the information people need to know about your business. Other major ones include Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Snapchat is becoming increasingly popular as well.
Showcase your business on as many social media platforms as you like, as long as you can manage all of them effectively by regularly creating content and responding to feedback.
However, it is advisable you pick one or two platforms on which your target audience is most active on.
2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM): This involves any online marketing effort designed to enable users find you on search platforms like Google. SEM has two crucial parts: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid search (for example, Google Ads).
Google Ads is Google’s advertising platform. You choose a keyword that when users search for, your clickable ad will appear in the search results. For SEO, all you have to do is create a website that can rank well in search engines so that people can find you organically. Now do not worry because creating a website can be easy. There are free content management systems you can use to build a beautiful website without stress. An example is WordPress.
Back to SEM, in order to gain organic ranking, conduct extensive keyword research and write engaging content focused around those keywords. For instance, if your service is photography, you can write interesting topics on photography that readers will find informative, and incorporate your chosen keyword in the articles. You will also have to learn important techniques like link building, in order to help boost your rankings on search engine results.
To make sure your site is search engine optimised, install some WordPress plugins, such as Yoast SEO. It is a free tool that helps you optimise your site even if you don’t know a thing about SEO optimisation.
3. Content Marketing: Content marketing, which is also referred to as inbound marketing, is a great way to advertise your products by addressing the pain points of your target audience. It involves publishing content that teaches, inspires, guides, or solves a problem.
Content marketing draws in leads and establishes trust since you are focused on providing value for your readers rather than making sales. When they always find your content useful and realize you know what you are talking about, they will recognize you as an authority and become willing to purchase your products/service. It is, therefore, a great way to gather loyal customers.
It involves the creation of:
• Blog posts published on your website.
• Guest posts published on websites other than your own (these will contain links that lead back to your own site).
• Videos or infographics that can also be shared on social media platforms.
This method of marketing works perfectly with search engine marketing.
You have to make sure you provide content regularly to keep your readers interested and quickly motivate them to make the decision to buy your product/service.
4. Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing: PPC advertising is a good way to drive traffic to your website. However, you have to pay a fee each time your ad is clicked.
Depending on the platform you choose to advertise on and what you want to optimise for, you may pay for clicks, actions taken, conversions, or impressions.
You have two options in PPC marketing: Display ads, and Search ads.
Display ads: We already came across display ads when we were looking at social media advertising. It involves getting your ads shown to website visitors and social media users as they scroll down the feed or on the webpage they are reading.
Display ads give you the advantage of introducing your product to people, even if they aren’t looking for the offer in the first place. Who knows, they may decide to make a purchase.
Also, it doesn’t matter if they only just scroll past. You’ve already left an impression on them. Next time they come across the ad, they might slow down and take a good look.
Search ads: Search ads on the other hand, allow you to capture search engine users who type in a keyword you’ve targeted. If you’ve targeted “men’s shoes”, for instance, and a user types in those keywords, your ad will be displayed at the top of the search results.
Bing Ads and Google Ads are the two most popular PPC search ad platforms.
The advantage of search ads is that you can connect with users who are in need of your offer and are ready to make a purchase.
5. Online Networking: You can build relationships on online forums that are relevant to your business. It is a good way to market your products. In such forums, people share knowledge and opinions. You can win over some customers in the process or even meet peers and experts with whom you can collaborate with. They may also help you gain some connections.
The goal of online networking is primarily relationship building. It’s not really about selling your product per se .
You can find online communities relevant to your business on places like:
• Linkedln groups
• Facebook groups
• Question and answer forums like Nairaland or Quora.
6. Email Marketing: Before you can effectively perform email marketing, you may need a good website, where you provide captivating content. Major parts of your website are the landing pages. These are web copies that tell your customers about your brand, your offers, and why they should choose you. Landings pages will usually include a call-to-action (CTA). When your visitors click on your CTA, they can then provide their email address.
Once you have the email address of your website visitors, it means you now have leads. You can then maintain contact until they reach the decision to purchase your product/service.
Just like social media marketing, the goal here is to notify your leads about your offers. However, unlike social media, email marketing is a more aggressive sales technique. You have to constantly send new offer announcements, call-to-actions, and reminders.
To make things easier, especially if the rate at which you generate leads is considerable, you would have to use an email management service, such as MailChimp, to set up triggered auto-responders. This way, when people subscribe to your email campaign, they will receive a pre-made welcome email.
Where to begin? Now that you have an idea of the various internet marketing channels available to you, you may like to know how to proceed. It’s often advisable to begin with social media marketing. It doesn’t necessarily require any level of expertise to get started. Almost everyone you meet is on one social media platform or the other. It is also a very good medium to spread the word faster. Once you can tag, and generate likes and comments, it won’t be long before you reach an unbelievable number of people.
Building a website is the next step you should take. If you have the means, you can hire an expert to design one for you. However, you can always create one through free website hosting platform like WordPress and GoDaddy.
To ensure that visitors don’t bounce off your site, you need to make it easy to navigate. It should also contain motivating web copy. This will encourage them to stay longer on your site and ultimately convert. You may need to hire a copywriter if you cannot write the copy yourself. It is recommended you should hire.
Don’t forget to do your keyword research for keywords you want to rank for.
After you have your social media profiles and your website, you can then key into PPC marketing – either search engine ads, social media ads, website placement ads, or all of the above.
Conclusion: The internet has made marketing easier. You don’t need to rely only on traditional marketing channels such as TV/radio ads, posters, flyers, and what not. The world has become a global village. You can reach a vast audience within a short period of time and sell your products/services all while in the comfort of your home.