Internet marketing is more than just “SEO” or “Paid Search”. Although these are components, by themselves they do not provide the ROI most businesses are looking for. Think of each online marketing channel as functional piece of your automobile. You may have a powerful engine, but without wheels, a steering wheel and gas, your car won’t win any races. Internet Marketing channels should considered during the initial strategic planning phase of your online marketing plan.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the method in which you improve the visibility of your site naturally. Think of this as your websites resume to the search engines. Your website must have a well formed and organized resume in order for Google, Yahoo or Bing to consider it. SEO Consultants and tools are abundant these days. Seattle SEOconsultant.com has a great set of questions to ask before hiring a SEO.
Search Engine Management (SEM) is also know as paid search. This is the act in which you pay to have your ads place above “natural” or “organic” search results.
Display Advertising is a marketing by use of banner ads or static graphics, typically within a content network. Banner ads are often triggered by cookies placed in your browser from previous visits to other sites. These web beacons also allow advertisers to target consumers based on internet surfing behaviors (behavioral targeting). Places like Adready offer a great solution for medium to large businesses to manage this on your own, however strategy is still highly recommended.
E-mail marketing is what you get in your email box everyday. Many companies use e-mail marketing because it is inexpensive and can leverage the value of a return customer. E-mail campaigns can also be used to acquire new customers, update existing customers of new products, share upcoming events, and conduct surveys. When sending emails it very important that businesses comply with the CAN SPAM ACT of 2003. Many e-mail marketing clients are available these days. Small businesses often use tools like Constant Contact. Larger Businesses like Alaska Airlines use programs like Whatcounts.
Social Media is often associate with sites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s more than just using one or both of these sites. Its the philisophical engagement of real time socializing in an online environment. Successful businesses that use social media engage users conversation, games, polls, and contests. Of course Facebook and Twitter are the most popular today, but others will come along and pass over the next several years, consider MySpace.
Local search is geocentric advertising strategy that has become more relevant over the last year. Google and Bing deliver local results determined by the IP address of the individual searching. Local information is often time aggregated from one or more sources across the web. Optimizing local listings without knowing what your doing can inadvertantly damage your online positioning. Google uses commonalities of a single location across many sites. If a local listing presents itself differently across the web, it could be viewed as several different businesses. David Mihm has a great blog post about local search ranking factors.
Mobile is one of the fastest growing verticals right now. According to Mobile Future, Five BILLION app were download in 2010 up from 300 MILLION in 2009. 100 million YouTube videos are played on mobile devices everyday. Many individual that may not even have a desktop computer now have that technology in the palm of their hand.
Social CRM is one of the most important and foreseeable areas for growth. The expansive growth of internet users and the accessibility given the number of mobile users today have allowed consumers to voice their opinions, good and bad, about businesses. As a business owner or executive, its important to listen to what people are saying. A slow response or no response at all can be devastating. Josh Bernoff has a great book called “empowered” that give wonderful insight into this.
Analytics or web analytics is the collection and analysis of data from web traffic. This data is used to identify behavioral trends and multi-channel analysis in various marketing campaigns. Web analytics gives insight into the effectiveness, utility, and success of a given site. Google offers a free version of analytics and other several other companies offer alternate version with more robust features like Omniture and Optify.