Internet Marketing Explained
By Billy Peery
Traditional Marketing is intuitive.
You pay to have your business featured on a billboard, newspaper, or TV ad, potential customers see it, and they end up coming to you with their needs.
Internet Marketing is, in some ways, just as simple: you pay to be seen on the Internet, and this leads to people choosing your business.
Of course, it doesn’t make as much sense as it used to.
Because it’s hard to know where to put your money,
Do you write an ad, pay Google to feature it, and hope for the best?
Do you focus on existing customers by sending out regular newsletters?
Do you pay a Search Engine Optimizer to help you rank well on Google, even though you don’t really know what a Search Engine Optimizer does?
It can all get very confusing, very fast.
Over the next several months, we’ll be focusing on one aspect of Internet Marketing, SEO. I’ll guide you by the hand, so that by the time we’re done, you’ll know more about ranking well in Google and Bing than the majority of business owners.
But before we get to that, I want to explain the various types of Internet Marketing. They all have their place and are of varying usefulness, depending on your needs.
By the end of this article, you should have an idea of which areas you can see the greatest ROI on.
Let’s start with pay per click (PPC) marketing.
Of all the various Internet Marketing strategies, this one most resembles old school marketing tactics.
Basically, you pay a search engine to put your website at the top of the results for certain keywords.
If you’re a plumber in Boca Raton, you might target the keyword, “Boca Raton Plumber”.
You’ll create an ad that has a title and description for your site. Here are the ads that currently display for “Boca Raton Plumber”:
Once you’ve created the ad, you have to bid for placement. Essentially, you’ll tell the search engine how much you want to pay in order to get someone to click the link to your site. This bid is called the cost per click.
The search engine will look at your proposed cost per click, as well as the perceived quality of the page you’re trying to display (its quality is determined by looking at a combination of click through rate and relevance to the searcher’s query).
It will then rank the potential paid search results and show them accordingly.
This form of advertising is best for those who need results fast. While many forms of Internet Marketing take a while to gain traction, PPC starts directing traffic to your site as soon as you have it set up.
That makes it great for promotional events, but it does come with some drawbacks. For one, it doesn’t scale very well. You’re always going to pay a set amount for every lead you get to a website. And it can quickly get expensive if you’re not careful.
The key is to watch your metrics closely. Determine how much you’re spending per visitor, the percentage of website visitors that convert into customers, and how much money you can make per customer.
If the amount you’re spending to get leads that turn into customers outweighs the amount you’re making with these customers, you’ll want to make changes to your campaign.
Most PPC marketers watch their metrics closely. They create landing pages designed to convert customers and constantly tweak their headlines, descriptions, and keywords to find the best results.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is the broadest form of Internet Marketing we’ll talk about.
There are many different social media networks you can use — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. — and many different strategies you can employ to build your business.
If your business is something trendy like fashion or food, you’ll want to learn about Influencer Marketing and Instagram Marketing.
But for most businesses, there’s only one network you’ll want to focus on in the beginning: Facebook.
There are two simple things you can do with it.
For one, you’ll want to create a Facebook page. This gives your business credibility, allows you to share important information with customers, and helps them to connect with you.
Facebook explains how to create a business page here. One important thing to note is that you’re not creating a profile. Those are meant for people, and your customers are less likely to friend a business profile than they are to like a page.
The second thing you’ll be interested in are Facebook ads. Even this sliver of social media marketing can get complicated, so business owners new to Internet Marketing will want to start small with retargeting ads.
Essentially, you’ll set up your website with Facebook Pixel. This tells Facebook who’s been on your website. You then target these people with ads.
This is useful, because people who have already visited your site are more likely to become customers. They’re essentially ‘warm’ leads.
Targeting them with ads makes them more likely to buy from you. This method is particularly useful if you sell on your website. Even if you only sell through a physical location, though, these ads will help keep you in a potential customer’s mind.
Once you’ve gotten familiar with Facebook Ads, you might want to go deeper into its features. Facebook allows you to target very specific demographics, and the people who find the most success often tweak their demographics to determine their most likely audience.
Newsletter Marketing is all about taking warm leads and turning them into customers.
People come to your website and like what they see: maybe they’re interested in your product, maybe they see you as an authority in your field.
Whatever the reason, they’re interested in your business, but they’re not ready to spend any money.
The process, then, is simple. Probably the simplest of any marketing strategy we discuss in this post.
You collect their email, then send them occasional newsletters.
To get their email, simply let them know you have a newsletter. You can do this with a pop-up on your site or a Call to Action at the end of blog posts. Some businesses incentivize email signups by offering a downloadable PDF in exchange for an email address.
Once you have email addresses, you start sending out newsletters. Monthly newsletters are usually effective: they appear often enough to keep businesses in people’s minds, but not so often as to appear annoying.
That said, if you have enough to talk about, weekly newsletters are also common. For ecommerce stores running frequent deals, even daily frequency can be appropriate.
The real key is to make sure you’re providing value to subscribers. Give them actionable advice and offer good deals. Depending on your niche, personal stories can also provide value.
The presence and ratio of these things will vary depending on your business, but the point is simple: a newsletter allows leads and existing customers to form a deeper connection with you. This leads to trust, which then leads to sales.
Now we get to my field of specialization: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
The goal is similar to PPC, but whereas PPC helps you rank in the ads section, SEO helps you rank in the normal, “organic” section of the search engine results page.
Here are the organic results that display when you type in “Boca Raton Plumber”:
As you can see with the Briggs Plumbing listing, businesses do rank on this page. However, search results feature a variety of pages, and so this one also features HomeAdvisor, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Better Business Bureau.
Different pages are going to have different sorts of results, depending both on how strongly various websites have optimized for search engines and which results Google thinks searchers would most like to see.
If we look at the other results ranking on the first page for this term, we can see some more results from businesses:
All of these results are similar to PPC ads, with their titles and descriptions. The major difference is that they lack the green “Ad” indicator.
One of the big advantages of SEO is that people are more likely to click on results that aren’t ads. With PPC, though, you have a bit more control over your positioning, because a main determining factor is how much you bid for ad placement.
With SEO, you’re not paying a search engine to help you rank well. Instead, you’re making sure your site is built in such a way that it appeals to searchers: creating content that thoroughly meets people’s needs when they’ve typed in a query like, “Boca Raton Plumber”.
You also make sure your site has links from high-quality sites pointed in its direction. Links are one of a search engine’s best ways of determining which sites are high-quality. And thus, which sites should rank well on a given search engine results page.
SEO is probably the most complex form of Internet Marketing we’re discussing in this article, but don’t worry. We’ll cover things in more detail in future columns.
For now, you simply need to know that SEO is a great way of getting new leads. It’s a bit like an investment. You put time — or money, if you’re hiring a Search Engine Optimizer — into building the content and links that help you rank well in Google.
These assets don’t then go away. Instead, good SEO work can help you rank well for high-performing keywords for years to come.
Internet Marketing in Boca Raton
That covers the basic aspects of Internet Marketing, but it’s impossible to give more than a basic overview in this amount of time.
If any of the forms of marketing above appeal to you, I’d recommend reaching out to an expert who can determine how these forms of marketing could help accelerate your business.
If you’re interested in SEO, we’ll feature plenty of information for you in the next couple months. Stay tuned!
About the Author
Billy Peery is an SEO expert working in Delray Beach. He’s written for Shopify, Cracked, Harvard Student Agencies, and a surprisingly large number of moving companies. Find out more about his Delray Beach SEO work here.