Online Marketing Basics
Article by Austin Internet Marketing Company Semantic Advantage -- June 2011
Online Marketing Services Overview Online marketing can bring your business more visibility,
new customers and increased sales, and provides a cost-effective way to reach a
large number of customers and prospects.
Online marketing services employ the same basic principles as
conventional marketing; but the analyses and implementation can be highly
technical and complex – and everything happens much faster.
The capabilities and technology of online marketing services
are growing so quickly it’s difficult for business managers (not to mention web
marketing experts) to keep up with these developments and formulate an Internet
marketing strategy that works for their customers and business model. This is especially true for small
businesses that don’t have the online marketing expertise to do this in-house;
most of these will be more successful hiring a professional online marketing services
company to devise and implement their web marketing programs.
Here is an overview of the major online marketing services
offered by web marketing companies -- how they work and the benefits they have
for your business.
These days nearly every business has a website -- many have
multiple websites. Just as ‘the
eyes are the window to the soul’, your website is the world’s online window to
your business. Your website’s content
(words), navigation, layout and visual appeal portray your business and your
brand – and determine how effective your website will be.
The most important thing for your website to do is attract the
visitors you want and provide them with useful, compelling information about
your products, services and value proposition. Your website should be logically and intuitively
organized, so visitors can easily find the information they want.
There are several ways visitors can arrive at your website:
Traffic – enter URL (or selects a bookmark) in web browser
Engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, etc.
Search – click link in organic search results
Search – click on your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad on the results page
Sites – social media site, business directory, blog, etc.
– click your link on the website
– click your ad on the website
or newsletter – click on link in email
Depending on the specifics of your business and characteristics
of your target audience, some of these methods will be more effective than
others. Many businesses and online
marketing services organizations pursue traffic from all these sources,
periodically adjusting resource allocation to the ones that are most successful
Optimization – SEO
Enhancing your website to improve your ranking in the
organic search engine results is called search engine optimization (SEO). The search engines -- Google, Yahoo!, Bing,
Ask, etc. -- continuously scour the Internet to evaluate websites and their
pages. Each page is analyzed to
distill its contents down to a set of ‘keyword phrases’ (generally one to four
words long) and assign a numerical ranking for each of these keyword
Whenever someone enters a keyword phrase into a search
engine, it looks up the pages corresponding to that keyword phrase and delivers
them to the user in the form of search engine results pages (SERPs for short). The highest ranking web page appears
first in the list, and generally the top ten ranked pages appear on Page One of
the search results.
Search engines are pretty good at this, and most users find
what they’re looking for on Page One of the search results. So it’s very important for your website
pages to be listed on Page One of the SERPs for keyword phrases corresponding
to your business. An important
aspect of SEO is the process of selecting the most effective keyword phrase for
each of your pages, and optimizing each page for that keyword phrase.
Marketing – SEM
The most popular form of online advertising is search engine
marketing (SEM), and the major search engine advertising platforms are Google
AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter (Bing). SEM ads appear in the SERPs above and to
the right of the organic search results.
There are two methods of paying for SEM ads. You can elect to pay per click (PPC),
or pay per impression (the number of times the ad is displayed). Depending on which method you choose,
the search engine will charge you a Cost Per Click (CPC) every time someone
clicks on your ad, or a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) for every thousand
times your ad is presented.
either case you can set a maximum daily or monthly budget to manage your
advertising expenses. Most
advertisers begin with PPC and monitor the number of clicks per impression to
see if CPM would be more cost-effective.
Search engine marketing has a more immediate effect than
SEO, and does not require a significant modification of your website. On the other hand, SEO has a more
persistent effect than search engine marketing – when the SEM ads stop, so does
the website traffic.
Online advertisements appear in many forms; and the ones
containing graphics, videos or images are called display ads. Online ads without these features are
usually referred to as text ads or classified ads.
Display ads can be placed by contacting the website owner
and negotiating an online marketing agreement, or (more commonly) by dealing
with an online advertising broker that manages ad placement across a multitude
of websites. The major search
engine companies act as ad brokers in this capacity through the Google AdSense
program, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter.
The search engines and ad brokers have online applications
for creating ads, allowing you to select the ad’s size, position on the page,
color scheme -- and add copy, images and/or videos, and a link to your
website. As with search
advertising, display ads can be purchased on either a CPC or CPM basis.
One of the latest developments in online marketing is
business use of social media sites. Businesses can use social marketing to
create an online community of customers, prospects and business partners to
discuss topics of interest.
The most popular social marketing sites for business are Facebook,
YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Blogger (and there are many other
industry-specific social marketing sites); and most of these are now targeted
by businesses for advertising and other online marketing applications.
Another form of social marketing is the ratings/reviews
website. This began with
Epinions.com (and reviews on Amazon.com), and has now expanded to Angieslist,
BBB.org, Glassdoor, Yelp and others.
Social marketing reviews are especially important in the restaurant
business, with numerous city-specific sites and national coverage by ChowHound,
DineSite, UrbanSpoon, Yelp and Zagat.
In addition to the inherent benefits of social marketing,
using social media also enhances SEO and SEM by creating links to your
website. These links provide
a path for visitors to your site; and the number and quality of these links is
a major factor in calculating your search engine rankings.
Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of online
marketing, but it is still popular and effective today. Although the average open rate for
online marketing emails is very small – typically below 2% -- the low cost of
emailing makes this a high ROI form of online marketing.
Many businesses elect to do email marketing through an email
service like Constant Contact, Exact Target, MailChimp and Vertical
Response. For a small fee, these
companies provide tools for creating professional emails with embedded graphics
and links; emailing to your distributions lists, and tracking the number of
bounces, opens, forwards and unsubscribes. Email marketing can also be done in-house through customer
relationship management (CRM) or special purpose emailing applications
including Act!, Eloqua, Manticore, NetSuite or Salesforce.com.
Professional email marketing companies generally require
that you provide mailing lists for which each recipient has opted-in (given you
permission to sent them email). As
a result, these companies are trusted by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs),
so even a large emailing will get through the ISPs spam filters.
Online marketing services can help your business secure new
customers and increase sales. Web
marketing programs can reach thousands of prospects, and are a cost-effective
way to develop your brand, generate qualified sales leads -- and sell your
products and services online.
Semantic Advantage specializes in online marketing services
including website development and optimization, search engine optimization
(SEO), social marketing, search engine marketing (SEM) and email
marketing. By combining these in
an integrated online marketing program, we can allocate your marketing budget
across all these disciplines to obtain the best results and maximize your ROI.
For more information about our Austin online marketing
services, email us at info@Semantic-Ad.com
or visit the Semantic Advantage website.