Sometimes clients have problems grasping all of the aspects of online marketing. This is of course only natural. Any new in-depth topic is hard to grasp in the beginning. If an internet marketer decided to take a look at structural engineering, or corporate accounting they will be lost in the beginning. (Actually they are likely to be lost for a few months or even years).
A decision needs to be made as to how deeply you want to learn. When we go to the doctor it is good when they can explain a problem in simple terms, this helps us feel comfortable. To have full knowledge of the doctors thought processes and experience would take at least a medical degree, and possibly many years of experience as well.
When developing your online omnipresence it helps to fully understand the basics, and the result that you want to achieve. You don’t need to know every aspect of the business, this will take years of time that you do not have available.
So in the vein of knowing the basics, and what you want to achieve, lets break it down.
Internet marketing 101
Q) What is the internet?
A) A network of digitally displayed information with links to even more information.
Q) What is marketing?
A) A set of tactics to achieve the goal of putting your companies offers in front of more potential customers.
Q) How is that different to sales?
A) Sales is one on one, one to a group, or a group to a group. Marketing is sales but in a volume model.
So, internet marketing is about getting your sales message or value proposition in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Great internet marketing makes sure that most of these eyeballs belong to your target customers.
Public relations/ advertising 101
Q) What do we want to achieve with PR or advertising?
A) We want our message in relation to our values and market positioning in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
If we can make these messages appear in front of people who might do business with us then this is called targeting.
Q) What is the difference between internet marketing and marketing in the real world?
A) Nothing, the internet IS real, the people looking at your website or advert are real as well.
Where do we want our message to appear? Everywhere! Or at least in as many places as possible. If these places are where your target customer hangs out then this is perfect.
Lets draw a comparison to traditional PR or advertising. If you came up with a remarkable product and a buzz started to occur, how many news channels would you want it to appear on?
… All of them?
… All news channels all over the World?
Unless you are as amazing as Apple, global domination is unlikely. So you start with as many channels as possible, and try to target them.
If you created a billboard advert, where will you want it to display?
… In your local city?
… In every city?
There are too many news channels, and too many cities to make global domination viable, or cost effective for most businesses. This means that you pick the most relevant to your niche. You choose places where your target audience is most likely to see them and take action.
Finding customers or them finding you. Push/Pull
Just as with traditional marketing, in the online space you can create ways for your customers to find you, or you can go to them.
For example, if you create a helpful infographic that really helps a geology student visualise a typical cross section of the earth that shows the likely rock formations that contain hydrocarbon deposits, you might help them pass their exams. If when they visit your website they also see that there are other valuable resources, and a mailing list- they might sign up. Someone like this will keep being ‘pulled’ back to your website because it is so helpful to them.
If over time, geology professors link to your helpful information from their blog, or from their university resource page to allow their students to find it, your SEO back link profile will become more powerful. Your geological formation infographic will feature high in the search results, pulling more visitors to your website.
An example of push advertising is paying for a Facebook adverts or Twitter adverts that appear right in their stream next to the updates from their trusted friends and colleagues. They see your message in a trusted place.
Just as in the ‘real world’ of newspapers, leaflets and magazines, online there are better places to put your message, and not so good places. Due to the inter-connectivity of ‘the web’ online efforts can be continued on a steady basis, the results will be cumulative.
The goal would to be to have mentions, write ups or links on every news site, every industry site, every related blog… You will never be able to appear on every single one, but if every month you create or find a new place to put your companies message on the internet, you will build momentum.