Online Marketing Basics

Marketing Basics for Beginners: Types of Online Marketing

Some marketing professionals will add or reclassify these categories, but for simplicity, I’ve broken online marketing down into 8 basic areas of study:

  • Social Media Marketing – this field encompasses all activities on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and other new platforms. YouTube can fit in here depending on what you do with it, but it can also fit under Content Marketing. Having a regular content calendar with a publishing schedule and using account management auto-publishing tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer will make life much simpler.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) & Local Search – this field focuses on organic results, that is, results that come up naturally on Google and other search engines when someone types in a query. These are unpaid ads that are found on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). If you have a local business, you must learn about how to optimize for local search. That means you want to be on Google Maps, have a Google My Business Page, and make sure anywhere your business name is mentioned, the Name, Address, and Phone (“NAP”) are consistent across the board. Any online directories need to be consistent, and there are tools such as Yext that can help push out your company’s information uniformly.
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing) & Pay Per Click (PPC), Native Advertising, Affiliate Marketing – this is all paid advertising, often using Google Ads (formerly AdWords), social media ads, and other channels. Native advertising can be as simple as an ad that is designed to fit in someone else’s content, on their webpage or social media page, where it looks like a natural (“native”) part of the overall project. An example of this would be an advertorial on the heart health benefits of fish oil on a health magazine website. Affiliate marketing is when you place ads on someone else’s page altogether such as an ad for tires on a website advertising car sales. You can actually sell space on your own website as well and earn some money.
  • Website Design, Development, User Experience – so this is not actually “advertising” as much as it is building a presence online. This ties closely into SEO as search engines pull information from a well-built website to determine when to show your page to someone searching for something in your area of expertise. This is one essential asset any company should have, and a social media profile page won’t cut it. The biggest challenges here are (1) how will you create a great user experience (UX) , (2) who will create the actual website, and (3) who will make updates? The players involved in managing the website should have a basic to intermediate understanding or better of CSS, JavaScript, HTML, Schema Markup, and Google Tag Manager as well as the content management system (CMS) used to run your website (Drupal, WordPress, for example).
  • Analytics – this is also not marketing, but as the saying goes, if you’re not measuring, you can’t improve it. Learning the ins and out of this powerhouse tool will help you get an understanding of how people use your website, what they look for most and least, and help you make assumptions on which areas of your website to fix or enhance. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Having analytics enabled is imperative in a successful marketing plan, whether you use Google Analytics or an alternative such as Kissmetrics, Clicky, or a more comprehensive, all-encompassing tool such as SEMRush or Moz.
  • Email Marketing – while many marketers will say email marketing is dead, there are companies with a core group of users who appreciate email as a communication method over something like instant messaging or a text message. Discount or coupon codes, e-zines (email magazines or newsletters), company updates, appointment reminders, and enhanced features for users (how to use products in a new way) are great messages to send by email.
  • Mobile Marketing – Under the mobile marketing umbrella, you’ll find SMS, MMS, apps, games, and platforms. SMS is short for Short Message Service, such as a text, and MMS is multimedia messaging service sent by text but includes visual or audio content such as a picture, video, music or other audio content sent to a device. Mobile marketing can be customized by demographic and geographic location through geo-marketing tactics such as geo-targeting and geo-fencing. Have you ever driven near a drugstore or fast food where you had one of their mobile apps installed on your phone and then received a message that there was a sale at their store? This is geo-marketing. With geo-targeting, you deliver location-based ads to a smart device when a user has met your specific criteria. You can define your users based on several demographics such as device ID, zip code, city, and IP address. Geo-fencing, however, uses an actual geographic boundary like a virtual fence to define an area, usually by radius, by using either GPS signals (global positioning signals) or RFID (radio frequency identification). You could use this to push a sales notification when a potential client is visiting a competitor’s physical location. If you are only concerned about location, you would use geo-fencing. If you want to refine your customer with more granularity by demographics, you would use geo-targeting.  Please note when using these techniques, you have to be very careful that you are not encroaching on protected data that could offend a potential customer. For instance, you wouldn’t want to sell feminine hygiene products this way when your customers are visiting a gynecologist or urologist (an example of geo-targeting). Nor would you want to push ads for divorce when potential clients drive by a law firm that practices divorce (a YMYL type of business). These tactics would be seen invasive and predatory to many consumers, plus, there are definite guidelines for ethics in marketing based on industry.
  • Content Marketing – blogging, vlogs or online videos housed on your website or on YouTube or Vimeo, Powerpoint presentations, events and webinars, white papers, infographics, case studies, eBooks, newsletters, checklists, statistics, presentation file, or any other type of content that brings leads & traffic to your website is considered content marketing. Content marketing is intermingled with a variety of marketing channels such as social media, email, video, and even SEM as different types of content should be created for different channels. The acronym EAT relies heavily on content marketing as well as SEO as your Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness are demonstrated by your content signal to Google that you are the result that best matches the user’s search.

This is the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a good place to start. So where do you find online resources to learn these specific fields? Read my blog on How to Learn Marketing Online.

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