The basics of internet marketing

Business internet marketing guide

You may have come across the term ‘internet marketing’ in the business world, but do you know what it means? Is it another word for SEO or does it mean your business is on Facebook? Let’s have a brief look at what internet marketing really means for your business…

If you run a business that wants to invest in the long term you need to get your brand out there on the internet. The first steps to this are getting a website built to promote your company. Depending on your business, it might only require a single page website or you may need a fully fledged e-commerce site with all the bells and whistles. The main thing is, you need a website these days. Nobody uses the yellow pages anymore. If a potential customer needs something they just ‘Google it’. What most people don’t realise is, it’s not enough just to have a company website. The consequences of every business having a website is there is more and more competition online now. Internet marketing is how you make your online presence stand out.

You can have the best looking website out there but if nobody can find you then it’s a waste of time. I find a lot of my clients don’t have the time or enthusiasm to keep their website updated or do any online marketing which is why I offer this as a service. Unfortunately in most cases, if you have a website built and you leave it untouched, you won’t rank very well in the search engine results and your name won’t get out there like it could.

Internet marketing is all about promoting your nice shiny website across as many places as possible. This can be local citations, social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or blogs and forums. If the search engines pick up your signals from other related websites, that counts as a plus. As long as it’s useful to others and not a spammy link building exercise, these signals will help you appear higher in the search engines which consequently brings more traffic to your website.

 What techniques do you use?

The best approach is a holistic one. So first of all your website needs to be optimised to its full potential. This means making sure it has a good site structure, page titles, Meta description, internal linking and all other elements that search engines need to fully understand what your website is all about.

Then we can use a variety of internet marketing techniques to build your online branding. These range from free services such as adding a blog, social media, newsletters and some local citations, to paid for advertising such as Google Adwords, banner advertising and sponsorship. The costs involved can vary from business to business and depend upon what channels we think would work best with you. I usually suggest a starter package of £200 to give new websites a boost but if you have a bigger budget then you’ll get a better online presence and more clients. Some companies should realistically be looking at a monthly plan to keep the hungry search engines satisfied.

Do I need social media for my business?

Some companies need it, others don’t. Some need to work on it daily, some can get by with just a few social updates a week. The truth is social media works wonders for some types of business, and that can get broken down further into the various social media platforms. If we look at Facebook, this is more a friends platform that is aimed at people just looking to see what their mates have been up to. It’s not something a forklift manufacturer would find useful for instance. On the other hand, an artist may find it a great way to promote their work. Twitter is much the same. LinkedIn is more business to business focussed and thus more appropriate for most companies. It’s a great way to connect with other businesses and make connections that could turn into business. Pinterest is a great option for photographers and businesses that have great imagery that would be shareable. So in a nutshell, I will advise you on what to use for your social media strategy.

I can setup and brand your social media profiles if required, and can provide an ongoing marketing plan for them if you have the budget.

What are local citations?

Local citations are mentions of your company on local websites such as local directories and other business websites. It’s important to get your NAP (Name, Address and Phone number) on these local citations as this will boost your chances of appearing in the 7 pack. This is the term for when you search for something like ‘florist in worcester’ ie. keyword and location, and the Google local listings show up with 7 results. Build citations locally and you have a better chance of appearing here. I have a very good curated list of local citation sites for the UK which can be used. Let me know if you would like a citation package for your website.

Do you offer SEO packages?

You may or may not have heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). The term has been around for years but it is getting a bit of a bad name lately. This is because the game has changed. You can no longer build a ton of cheap low value links to your site and expect to get ranked on page one of Google. It used to work but it just doesn’t anymore. The Google algorithm has got very smart and can detect when you are trying to game the system. Many sites have got penalised by Google for using dodgy link building techniques that worked a few years ago. SEO today is all about internet marketing the right way. Produce content people will want to talk about naturally. They call it ‘whitehat’ SEO. It means don’t try to trick the search engines. Make people want to follow you or promote your content. So no, I don’t offer SEO packages as such, but my internet marketing service will have much the same effect.

Whether you have an existing website or have one I built for you at Viper Design, talk to me about internet marketing if you want to get your business known on the internet. There is massive competition out there these days – in 2012 there were an estimated 50 million new websites added. That number will just get bigger and bigger each year so you need to be active and seen online. Internet marketing is the best method to stay ahead of the crowd.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Stacey H says:

    Great article, this is the kind of thing we’re looking for right now. Will be in touch shortly.

  • Martin says:

    Over the years I’m seeing internet marketing as becoming more and more important. I run an e-commerce store and getting traffic to the shop is vitally important, and IM is a solid way to ensure I stay afloat!

    • Jason Wickens says:

      I agree Martin – there’s no point having an online business if you don’t get enough people visiting the store!

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