Internet marketing is a much-used term and you don’t need to be a Nostradamus to understand that this trend will continue in the coming years. There is an unwritten rule that says the more a term or expression is used, the less understood is. In this light, Internet marketing seems to be a term that is fully understood by only a small number of the total speakers.
To be honest, I think that Internet marketing is the subject of a paradox. If you are a medium to heavy Internet user, you have your hands dirty with Internet marketing. It’s possible to believe that although you have no knowledge about it, you applied in practice many Internet marketing tips. Obviously, you can’t name yourself an Internet marketer just because you earned some bucks with an affiliate link. On the other hand, Internet marketing is such a huge and dynamic domain that it is impossible for someone to pretend that he/she is an Internet marketing expert. Yeah, I know, you have at least two business cards of people calling themselves an “experienced Internet marketer.” In this post, I will prove to you that it’s impossible for even an Albert Einstein clone to know all the ins and outs of Internet marketing.
The purpose of this blog post isn’t to make you feel bad because you can’t call yourself an Internet marker. Instead, I want to provide you with a clear perspective of Internet marketing and what it really means. I am the kind of guy that wants to know a theory by heart in order to apply it in practice without any difficulty. While it’s true that Internet marketing is an area where the practical aspect is primal, I believe that you can’t be good in practice unless you’re good in theory.
Internet marketing is a new activity, but in order to have a solid grasp on it, I recommend applying an ancient strategy called “divide et impera.” Don’t worry, it’s not about wearing ancient Roman clothes!
“Divide et impera” is a strategy to apply when you are dealing with enemies bigger and better than you. The Romans considered that instead of fighting against of a huge alliance of countries, it’s better to fight against each country individually. In other words, it’s better to avoid clashes with big opponents and fight only against weak enemies. The same mindset can be applied to Internet marketing. Divide Internet marketing into small components that are more digestible and easily to learn.
I conducted extensive research to learn the different types of Internet marketing and the results are biased. Each of the top 50 content marketers has different opinions about Internet marketing. It’s true that the differences aren’t always notable, but there is no widely accepted classification. For instance, Neil Patel claims that Internet marketing falls into seven categories while Marketo comes with another seven categories plan. Pop Content experts consider that Internet marketing can be divided and ruled into nine types.
I don’t think that one classification is better than other as long as the essence remains the same. What really matters is covering all the aspects of Internet marketing. Without any further ado, here is my concept of the Internet marketing categories.
1. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the most famous Internet marketing category. In simple words, SEO is the methods and techniques applied to a website to improve its visibility in organic search engine results. SEO is different from paid advertising; it refers strictly to the modalities of getting the first positions in user searches without investing money in paid positions.
It’s widely believed that SEO falls into two main categories: on-page and off-page optimization. If you want to have a truly optimized website, don’t ignore either of these two categories. The breakdown is made only to have a better control over the methods applied.
On-page optimization refers to methods that suppose a direct action over a website. In one of his Whiteboard Friday editions, Rand Fishkin presents the principles behind on-page optimization in 2016. It’s an awesome piece of content full of useful and actionable information.
Off-page optimization refers to the actions done away from your website. Paradoxically, off-page optimization can be done by people who really don’t care about your website! If you have an outstanding blog post, for example, there is a high chance that someone will link to your post from their website.
Without a doubt, off-page optimization requires a lot of time and resources. Sharp Rocket’s blog post is a must-read for anyone interested in getting their hands dirty with off-page optimization.
2. Content Marketing
Similar to SEO, content marketing is an undeniable part of Internet marketing. No matter what classification you find, content marketing is always present. It is the method of creating good and valuable content that delights the readers and encourages them to purchase your product/service. If you want more details on content marketing, I recommend this Quick Sprout infographic.
Creating valuable content it’s easier said than done but in the actual context is a necessity; practically, you don’t have any choice!
The same as SEO, content marketing won’t bring instant sales – it’s about a large volume of work that has the first outcomes after a few months. Unfortunately, when it’s done improperly, it won’t bring the results you expected.
The success of content marketing is dependent on a working strategy; before writing any line of content, you should have a solid plan ahead. The content creation is another important part – providing quality information isn’t simple at all. Take into account that the Internet is full of various opportunities and it becomes clear that the life of a content creator isn’t simple at all!
If you thought that it’s enough writing quality content, you are wrong! Totally wrong!!! It’s almost impossible to compare in terms of importance, but content promotion plays a big role for the overall success of content marketing. I dare to name the content promotion the part that won’t let the content creators to become frustrated. Imagine that you wrote a great piece of content and none is reading it…wouldn’t you became frustrated?
In conclusion, it’s a waste of time to craft awesome content that is not promoted.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is a term that is self-describing. It designates the method of using social media platforms to present services or/and products. Even though Facebook is a network that is worldwide used and has 1.74 billion monthly active users, you shouldn’t focus only on it. On the other hand, ignoring Facebook is a disastrous idea. The best approach is to use the platform where your customer persona is most present. For instance, don’t convince your prospects to follow you on Twitter if they are spending their time on YouTube. If your customer persona is a heavy user of video, provide him/her with the best video content.
One of my personal mistakes was that I considered Facebook and Twitter as the only social networks that really matter. Shame on me, I was ignorant. Don’t make the same mistake. Pay attention to any social media that has the potential to reach a global audience. It goes without saying that exploring a “virgin social network” brings a higher ROI.
Another common mistake is the use of the wrong metrics to measure the success of the campaigns. The number of followers of fans gained during a campaign is an important metric, but by far isn’t the most relevant. The number of fans and followers alone don’t make the sale. Rate of engagement is a metric that should be taken into account. Strong engagement with people is an obvious sign that your social media campaign is working and you targeted the right audience.
4. Email Marketing
Copyblogger says, “email marketing strikes many as old-fashioned” and I think that this is the essence of why email marketing is sometimes disdained. I dare to name a second factor – the fear of spam.
In simple words, email marketing is the method of presenting a product/service by sending emails to a bulk list of email addresses. It’s a marketing method that started with the first email asking the recipient(s) to look closely at a product/service and eventually to make a purchase. It’s not an exaggeration to consider email as the first tool for online marketing.
An email campaign may be misunderstood as a spam promotion. These use the same communication channel (email) and you definitely don’t want to be considered a spammy promoter. These two reasons make marketers retreat from email marketing.
You shouldn’t afraid to use the emails. There are many huge advantages. Someone once said, “the money is in the lists” and I think this idea encapsulates the potential of email marketing.
The success of an email campaign is significantly influenced by the content engagement. If you wrote an eye-catching subject line and your content is engaging, the chances of making good sales are high. You should check out this infographic from Marketing Profs in order to send the best emails.
It’s said that wise people learn from other people’s mistakes. It’s true, but I dare to consider that wise people learn from other people’s successes, too. Do you agree with me? To prove my statement, check out this interesting post from Fit Small Business. Here are showcased tips from marketers that conducted successful email campaigns and made serious money.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is amazing! Well, I am aware that “amazing” is a word that is deprecated due to the extensive use, but affiliate marketing is truly amazing! When done professionally, affiliate marketing brings lots of money to the merchant and publisher.
Let’s suppose a company or a startup – we will call it the merchant – offers quality products and services but for various reasons doesn’t invest in promoting them. At the same time, other people – the publishers – like these and are interested in creating some buzz around them. Here is where affiliate marketing comes onto the scene.
Affiliate marketing supposes that the publisher earns a commission anytime the merchants makes a sale from a client driven by the publisher. A great product can make serious money with zero marketing effort, while a talented publisher can earn serious commissions without investing in the crafting of a good product.
It sounds like you can make good money with ease, but it’s not the case. Both the merchant and the publisher work hard to convince the prospects to invest money. Affiliate marketing is overcrowded, therefore it’s not simple to convince someone to buy the products and services you promote.
If you are genuinely interested in this method, I highly recommend AWeber’s article – basic dos and don’ts of affiliate marketing – and Pat Flynn’ e-book, Affiliate Marketing – The Smart Way.
6. Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a form of internet marketing and, to be honest, I really hate it! I consider it a legal form of cheating that sometimes generate profits.
Unlike SEO where you try to get the first position organically, PPC involves paying a fee in order to get the first position for the results of a specific keyword. Depending of the keyword used, the fee varies from a few cents in less competitive fields to tens of dollars for keywords in the field of insurance or banks. As you already guessed, the key role in the PPC world is played by the keywords chosen. If you want a more complete presentation of PPC advertising, I recommend Wordstream’s blog. There are many articles such as this one that shed light on the field.
There are many examples of creative and efficient PPC campaigns but you shouldn’t ignore the fact that PPC done miserably means wasting a lot of money.
In a nutshell, PPC is a great method of attracting customers in a short period of time, but it’s a double-edged sword. It might just as well waste time without generating any sales.
7. Influencer Marketing
If you have never heard about influencer marketing, you should read this section carefully. Tomoson’s study reveals that influencer marketing can bring serious money and it seems that in the near future there will be a harsh battle to find the best influencers.
Influencer marketing is the method of using key individuals (also called leaders or influencers) to present products/services or the message of a brand. Instead of targeting a large mass of people, specific influencers (VIPs, athletes, bloggers, actors) are targets that are able to influence other people. Apparently a simple task where you don’t need to optimize a website or write 10x content as in other internet marketing forms, the harsh reality is totally different. Finding the proper influencer, crafting a working strategy, and satisfying the customers’ requirement is colossal work!
Compared to other internet marketing categories, influencer marketing calls for more resources and time because there are fewer automatization tools. The majority of marketers believe that influencer marketing is the next big thing and brands are ready to invest a lot of money to promote them. Consequently, you should pay closer attention to this marketing method.
This is how I believe internet marketing falls into categories. Of course, it is based on other classifications and I took into account the opinions of other marketers. I hope that this post is useful for those interested in internet marketing. I also believe that a small recap is needed from time to time even for the experts. Share your opinions about this post via the comment form below. The more ideas, the better!