Getting started with online marketing

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You’ve started writing your marketing strategy and you’ve profiled your target audience – now you want to know about getting started with online marketing so that you can factor it into your marketing mix.

What is online marketing?

Online marketing is an ever-changing feast as consumer habits adapt with the times and the resources available to us.

The five main channels when it comes to marketing online are:

  • SEO
  • Social
  • Email
  • Paid search / PPC
  • Display advertising

Using these channels independently can get results, but using them altogether, or in a mix that best suits your target audience, and mixed with some offline marketing to back them up, means they can be very powerful.

You’ll first need to understand what each of these channels does and why it’s important.


What is SEO?

SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of getting traffic or potential customers from the results of searches on the likes of Google, Bing and Yahoo. While SEO is not ‘paid for’, you’ll need to invest in content and links used by search engines to rank you. Plus, you’ll need to ensure your website architecture and coding has been done correctly.

With changes to algorithms (the automated process in which the search engines rank sites) being made regularly, many companies find that the most cost-effective approach to their SEO is to use an external agency or expert, who should be constantly up to date on updates, and who will have the tools, techniques and the time to keep your company ranking highly.


What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing involves using social media channels to encourage traffic through to your site and drive awareness of your brand.

Social media refers to the sites that people use to engage and interact with others – whether that’s for business or pleasure, and can include short format messages, longer updates, images and video and events. It can help you to feed news and content into a wide audience, helping to build links that can assist with your SEO.

Commonly used social media includes:

  • Facebook – B2C
  • Twitter – B2B and B2C
  • Google+ – B2C
  • LinkedIn – B2B
  • Youtube – B2C
  • Instagram – B2C


What is email marketing?

Email marketing involves a more targeted approach – direct mail online. In some ways every single email you send to a current or potential customer, as well as to those people who no longer use your services, is email marketing. Email marketing is a relatively cost-effective marketing tool. Overall, email marketing is very easily measured, written and targeted well, can be highly successful.


A relatively cost-effective marketing tool, and with the advantage of being very easily measured, written and targeted well,  can be highly successful.


What is paid search / PPC?

Paid search, also known as PPC (pay per click), is the process of attracting website traffic through paid for advertising on search engines.

Google Adwords is the most popular paid search platform followed by Bing Ads and each platform offers easy to use guides for getting started.

Your paid search marketing will need regular attention. Changes happen regularly as other users change their own spend and targeting, using an agency or expert to do this will allow you to keep your focus on day to day business.


What is display advertising?

Placing your ads on third party websites, display advertising can work to enhance brand awareness and to generate traffic to your site. These can be in the form of banner ads, overlays, videos, interactive ads and more.

Before you buy your display advertising look into the quality of the host website and whether it has synergy with your own values, make sure there is context – is your ad content useful for the customer at that time? Finally, check how many ads they have on their site compared to actual content. If you’re 1 of 10 advertisers you’re getting much less coverage than if you are the only advertiser.


Choosing your online marketing channels

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to which online marketing channels will work best for your new business. In fact, you’ll probably need a mix of all of them. Factors to take into account in your choice include:

  • What are your objectives – for this campaign and for your business?
  • Who is your audience? 
  • How much do you have to spend?
  • What are your messages?
  • How will you measure results?


And finally, as with all marketing don’t forget to test the water, learn from the results, tweak your mix and test again. For further information and guides head to our help centre.

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