Internet usage is growing at an exponential rate: it jumped from 4 billion daily users in 2018 to 4.39 billion in 2019, and it keeps increasing. Many of those billions of users are also shopping online, which means internet marketing has become one of the most lucrative industries in the world.
As a marketer, you have numerous ways to reach your target audience: from product research to social media posts and pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements to blog articles and everything in between. By incorporating the right internet marketing tools into your digital marketing toolbox, you can increase your brand awareness, attract new leads, generate more website traffic and dramatically boost your revenue.
In this all-inclusive guide to internet marketing, you will learn everything there is to know about expanding your business into the digital realm.
What Is Internet Marketing?
Marketing is the act of reaching out to a target audience in an attempt to sell products or services.
Internet marketing reaches out to your target audience by using digital channels to promote products and services.
The term “internet marketing” is a broad one. It can include all forms of digital marketing such as email campaigns, social media, PPC ads, mobile and anything else that happens online.
Even though it comes in many forms, the best practices of internet marketing remain the same across the board. We’ll get into them here.
Internet Marketing Best Practices
#1 – Keywords
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the first aspect of internet marketing that you need to master. To do that, you need a solid grasp on how to use keywords.
Keywords are specific terms that help internet users find what they are looking for. The word “specific” is significant in this case; generalized or overused keywords will not help your business. If your keywords are not relevant or specific enough, they could actually hurt your business.
Using the right selection of keywords will help you reach your target audience and boost your online presence. Let’s use the example of a new cosmetics line. If your beauty company sells lipsticks, your first inclination might be to use keywords such as “lipstick,” “cosmetics” and “beauty.”
That inclination is incorrect. Generalized keywords like that will not help your target audience find your products. They are too vague, and other well-established cosmetic giants already have a monopoly on them. Instead, focus on what sets your company apart from the rest. If the lipstick line is vegan, organic or uses a special oil as the main ingredient, use keywords that reflect those specialties.
Also, don’t be afraid to use long-tail keywords. These are phrases that your target audience would likely search for on Google. Keeping with the lipstick example, a long-tail keyword phrase might be something along the lines of “cruelty-free organic vegan lipstick.” Long-tail keyword phrases like this are easy to dominate and can narrow down search results.
#2 – Mobile-Friendliness
Ensure that all of your efforts are mobile-friendly. Your website, your social media and even your email marketing campaigns need to be readable on a phone.
In 2019, there were approximately 5.11 billion unique mobile users around the world. If you’ve been looking for a way to expand your audience, there has never been a better time than now. By enhancing the mobile-friendliness of your website and email messages, you will encourage more engagement and sales.
The first thing you can do with your website and emails to make them more mobile-friendly is to compress any images or graphics. It’s easy to do, and it will drastically improve your page load speed. Studies have shown that web pages and messages that take longer to load have a higher abandonment rate. People don’t want to wait. If your website is taking too long to load, they will most likely exit the page before ever seeing your content or engaging with you.
Another thing you can do to improve your site for mobile functions is to enhance the checkout process. You can integrate third-party applications to quickly and securely process payments online. Fewer data fields for shoppers to fill out will result in a higher conversion rate. No one likes wasting time filling out row after row of information that could be easily integrated with a third-party application such as PayPal.
#3 – Blog Posts
One great thing about internet marketing is that you can practice inbound marketing. Unlike conventional outbound marketing, inbound marketing allows the consumer to seek your business out as opposed to you seeking them out. Blogging is one of many inbound marketing best practices that can help you build an online community and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry or niche.
If you haven’t created a blog for your website yet, go ahead and do that. Many website building platforms will let you get a beautiful, professional blog up and running in a matter of minutes. Take advantage of pre-designed templates to get your content uploaded. You can customize these templates to fit in with your brand aesthetic, including your brand theme, color palette and logo.
No matter how your audience interacts with your company, there should always be a cohesive theme that lets them know it’s your brand. This is called brand identity, and it can make or break your online business.
The content that you choose to publish on your blog should always be valuable and insightful to your target audience. If you consistently post articles that your audience wants to read, you will see your online community of followers and subscribers grow.
Keep in mind that you can easily market your blog posts by sharing them on your social media business accounts and sending notification emails to your subscriber list every time you publish new content.
#4 – Email Marketing
Contrary to popular belief, email is not dead. According to a recent study, there were approximately 3.9 million email users in 2019. That number is projected to grow to 4.48 billion users by 2024. Combine these numbers with the number of mobile users and you have a very good reason to make mobile-friendly email marketing campaigns.
The best practice for email marketing is to automate your campaigns. Using email marketing automation takes care of a lot of repetitive tasks, and it makes your marketing team’s job much easier. Automated email marketing uses triggers that are set off by customer actions to send out the right emails at exactly the right time.
For example, when a new website visitor subscribes to your email list, an automated welcome email will be triggered to send out. Reinforcing the connection that has just been made, this type of email is meant to bring the new lead into your sales funnel.
Automated email marketing is also great for following up with leads and customers, which can be a tedious task for your marketing team. Would you rather your creative team members spend hours every day following up with redundant emails, or would you rather they focus their talents on creating your next dynamic internet marketing campaign? By allowing the automated marketing program to handle the majority of emailing tasks, you will save money and time.
#5 – Social Media Engagement
If you haven’t already created social media business accounts for your brand, you need to jump on that. Ensuring that your business is represented on the top social media platforms is another internet marketing best practice that can pay off greatly.
You don’t have to create a business account on every social media platform out there, but you do need to figure out which platforms your target audience is on and hit those. B2B companies may have better luck with professional social media sites such as LinkedIn, while B2C companies might find their target audience on Facebook or Instagram.
Keep your activity levels on these platforms high by posting relevant, dynamic content regularly. Remember to engage with your audience. If this sounds daunting, you can always enlist the help of a marketing automation service to handle social media tasks such as scheduling, publishing and even answering frequently asked questions on Messenger. Automated social media marketing can free up a lot of time for other tasks, like creating the next campaign or even answering specific questions that followers leave in the comments on your posts.
Another way to engage with users on social media is to join groups that are part of or represent your industry and answer questions frequently. For example, if you own a restaurant, you may want to join cooking or food forums to talk about food. Doing this will allow you to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry or niche. You can insert a link to your blog when appropriate and watch as your website traffic increases.
#6 – Social Media Ads
If you are having trouble gaining traction on social media sites, you might find that sponsoring an ad can be helpful. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media platforms allow you to pay for advertising on their sites. You can create a social media marketing campaign, customize your target demographic and choose your budget. Your ad will run until your budget is finished and you will see results quickly.
Paid social media ads are ideal for getting your products and services in front of a larger audience and gaining new followers.
#7 – Press Releases
As an official statement issued by the company, press releases provide specific information about a particular subject, whether that’s a new hire, a new product or a special announcement. It’s a great way to let the general public know what’s going on with your company. It also encourages other media outlets to write about your company.
Best Internet Marketing Tools
#1 – Google Keyword Planner
If you are at a loss about which keywords you should use to improve your SEO practices, Google Keyword Planner can help. Even if you only have a few general ideas about where you want to go with your keywords, this internet marketing tool can help you generate a group of keywords (exact and broad variations) to optimize your next campaign.
It is free to use, and it allows you to research keywords and look at projections. All you need to get started is a Google Ads account, which we will cover in a moment. You can search for new keywords using filters to find exactly what you need.
The following are the most commonly used keyword filters:
- Containing: Used to find exact phrase keywords
- Word-matching: Used to find specific keywords, but not necessarily in the same order
- Exact-matching: Used to find one keyword within an exact phrase
- Begins-with: Used to find keywords that start with a certain phrase
- Ends-with: Used to find keywords that finish with a certain phrase
Keep in mind that you can also filter negative keywords, or words or phrases you want to exclude altogether.
#2 – Google Ads
If you are ready to run a PPC campaign, the best place to start is with Google Ads. Once known as Google Adwords, Google Ads is an internet marketing tool that can help you reach your target audience and drive traffic to your site.
It allows you to set your advertisement goals, such as how many click-throughs you hope to get. Your ads will show up when a user searches for your keywords. The best part? You aren’t marketing to the general population; your ads will only be shown to people who are actively searching for your products or services. What that means is that you will get more value out of your PPC, and your leads will be more likely to convert.
#3 – Facebook Insights
If you have a decent following on Facebook, it’s in your best interest to use Facebook Insights. It’s one of the best internet marketing tools for social media, and will help you learn more about your audience, which can help you further develop your buyer personas. It can also help you adjust your social media content to cater specifically to your followers.
#4 – Canva
Small businesses are already strapped for cash, and hiring a full marketing team to create all sorts of material can seem like an expense they can’t afford. A good internet marketing tool to help you with designing content is Canva.
Canva is a design platform that lets you create amazing content for all of your internet marketing needs. From Instagram posts to YouTube thumbnails and everything in between, Canva allows you to create, save and publish customized content for your online audience. It’s also free!
Best Internet Marketing Strategies
Now that you’re armed with an arsenal of free internet marketing tools to take the internet by storm, it’s time to focus on some internet marketing strategies you can deploy to get the ball rolling.
#1 – Optimize Your Website
First and foremost, ensure that your website is user-friendly. That means visitors can navigate your site and find what they are looking for without any issues.
To optimize your website, focus on maintaining a cohesive brand identity that is evident on all of your pages. You should also build dynamic landing pages with engaging web forms, include stellar CTAs and have an easy check-out process.
#2 – Optimize Your Keywords
Keywords aren’t just used in PPC ad campaigns. They are also crucial for your website to rank well in Google search results. Weave your main keywords throughout your website so Google’s algorithm can crawl to your site any time someone searches for products or services that you offer.
#3 – Kickstart an Email Campaign
Now that your website is in pristine condition and optimized for search engines, it’s time to get into the inboxes of your leads and customers. Create a dynamic email marketing campaign that helps retain your customers. A great one that generally has high engagement is the birthday email. When you get a customer’s birthday, you can set up an email message that contains birthday wishes as well as a discount code or free shipping.
#4 – Host a Contest
Another great strategy for internet marketing is to host a social media contest. Instagram is the most commonly used social media platform for contests, but others can work well, too. Choose what prize the winner will receive and set up the rules and the deadline for the contest.
You can ask your followers to create content using your products or to like and share your post. There are countless ways to go about running social media contests, and all of them will gain you new followers and boost your brand awareness.
Develop an Internet Marketing Plan
Now that you understand the basics of internet marketing and some of the best free internet marketing tools, you are well on your way to developing your own digital marketing plan.
To learn about how marketing automation can help with every level of internet marketing, get in touch with the experts here at SharpSpring today or request a demo.