‘Internet Marketing’ is a term that can be used by many online businesses; it encompasses many different areas of sales and promotions.
Web Design / Web Development
Internet marketing can mean the actual creation of a website from first design concept to full ecommerce or brochure solution. When looking for a website to showcase your brand look out for the web designers portfolio and see if they have created impressive and user-friendly websites in the past. Another important consideration is that the web design company uses SEO friendly web development so it can be easily optimised in the future for search engine results.
Search Engine Optimisation
Some internet marketeers are really SEO companies who promote websites in search engines such as Google. The process of getting a website higher in the search engines is difficult but it can bring in the highest amounts of revenue for small to medium businesses. If you sell a product of a service then you can make a lot of money if you appear at number one in Google when someone searches for terms relating to your product or service.
Marketing can be in the form of email broadcasts instead of directly on the website. Lists of thousands of email addresses in the right hands can be used as a consistent promotion vehicle. Emails are most effective when they have offers andcompetitions in them; forming the list of addresses will require other forms of marketing though.
Social Marketing / Public Relations
Getting a social ‘buzz’ around a product or service can be an incredible boost for a medium to large business. PR can expand your brand awareness with social marketing and achieve mentions in publications such as magazines and newspapers. Public Relations can also help businesses get air time on television and get products to celebrities or executives who may influence other people to buy the same thing. Building up a large following on social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook allows a channel for the latest news and promotions as well as being able to receive valuable feedback. Social marketing should be considered as an additional sales channel and shouldn’t be focused on alone as it’s difficult to make yourself stand out in the self-promotional‘fuzz’ of other similar businesses online.
The quickest way to gain traffic to a website is through paid advertising which is what some internet marketing companies focus on. Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns allow you to bid on certain keywords on popular search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. You only pay if someone clicks on your advert and the cost per click can be anything from 6 pence to £20 depending on the competition and how your website correlates on each word you are bidding on. PPC isn’t a long term solution and it’s also a risky solution as profit margins are slim and mistakes and fluctuations can lead to a loss instead of a profit. PPC also leaves a website in the dark after it is switched off as apposed to SEO which builds the site up as a valuable asset over time which can be sold at a later date. PPC is good to kick start a website and to test out it’s conversion rate (sales per visitor), if it is profitable then it can be run alongside other forms of traffic generation and ramped up as far as you wish to risk.
So if you’re looking for an Internet Marketing company then focus clearly on which part of marketing suits your current needs. Pick companies that can do each stage of your marketing effectively & skillfully, not just one which can do all the different jobs but half heatedly.