To help reach as many customers as possible, businesses today are no longer relying solely on print, television and radio advertising. Many businesses have shifted much of their advertising and marketing strategies to the Internet.
The Web and email have opened up new avenues for businesses to market to both current, and potential, customers and clients. While it can come in many different forms, such as display advertising or social media marketing, the core of Internet marketing is to try and build brand awareness and attract new consumers via the Internet.
With more and more consumers increasing their time online, businesses that don't work at trying to target them there are only hurting their bottom line. Research shows, however, that most businesses aren't neglecting their online shoppers. Internet marketing is quickly surpassing all other forms marketing and advertising, with it projected to account for a quarter of the average business's marketing budget within the next 2 years.
Between the Web, email and social media, businesses have a variety of options when it comes to choosing the Internet marketing strategy that best fits their needs.
Internet marketing strategies
As the Internet has grown, so have the options for businesses to market to customers online. Among the most popular types of Internet marketing today are:
Affiliate Marketing: This type of marketing involves businesses paying other individuals or other companies to promote their products and services on their websites. This typically involves placing a banner ad on another site, with those hosts being paid based on the number of customers who click on the ad and make purchases.
Display Advertising: These are the most common type of online advertising. Similar to affiliate marketing, display advertising involves placing banner ads on other websites that have visitors who likely to be interested in the business's products or services. The ads can range in size and include video and audio.
Email Marketing: Email marketing is an online version of direct mail. Instead of sending a customer a flyer or advertisement, this form of Internet marketing allows businesses to send the same info, or even more, via email. Businesses have a wide variety of choices on what to send in an email marketing campaign, including coupons, newsletters, invitations to special events and surveys.
Inbound Marketing: Inbound marketing uses online content, such as blogs, social media and podcasts, to attract new customers. As opposed to outbound marketing, like buying ads and sending out emails, this strategy revolves around businesses creating their own content that hopefully draws shoppers in. Once they're in, businesses can start tailoring their message to each visitor's needs.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising: Also known as search engine marketing, pay-per-click advertising is when business place ads on search engine websites like Google and Yahoo. The ads are usually placed in special top or side panels that separated out for paid ads. Most search engines offer businesses the opportunity to bid on the ad space on their pages. The business that is willing to pay the most each time an Internet user clicks on the ad gets the spot.
Search Engine Optimization: This is an unpaid form of advertising that is designed to increase a businesses ranking on search engines. The higher a business's ranking, the more likely they are to be one of the first results given when an Internet user searches for the business or something similar. Among the ways businesses can boost their website's SEO are by using keywords on the site that shoppers will be searching for, linking to other sites and having other websites link to theirs and generating as much online content as possible.
Social Media Marketing: This strategy revolves around promoting a business via the various social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram. This involves creating dedicated pages for the business on each site and creating content that draws in followers that can eventually be converted to paying customers.
Internet marketing services
Since Internet marketing can be so encompassing, it can sometimes be difficult for business owners to handle the large task all on their own. To help with their efforts, many businesses employ online marketing services that specialize in developing campaigns that help increase website traffic and convert visitors to customers to help increase the bottom line.
For businesses searching for an online marketing firm, there are a number of qualities they should be looking for, including search engine optimization capabilities, revenue optimization services and pay-per-click advertising and affiliate marketing expertise. They should also offer a wide variety of support resources to help businesses that are running into problems with their campaigns, as well as regular performance reports that detail whether or not web traffic and conversions are increasing as a result of the campaign.
With so many different options for online marketing services, it can often be hard for business owners to figure out which fits their needs best. BusinessNewsDaily's sister site, TopTenReviews, has done extensive research on Internet marketing services and ranks Increase Visibility as the top option for its ability to handle all Internet marketing services in-house, from SEO and pay-per-click ads to brand management and mobile marketing.
Other marketing services it ranks highly include WebiMax, which employs in-house writers for all content creation and copywriting, Server Side Design, which is adept at copywriting, link building, web design optimization, local search and video SEO, and iMajestic, which provides a free web site audit to determine enhancements that can boost traffic and the site's search engine rankings.