Online marketing

Everybody is selling something.’ – so the saying goes. The whole world is a marketplace, and the world has gone digital. Everyone is now easily connected. Whatever you are doing and whoever you are, you are likely selling something – be it a product, a service, or even yourself – and if you aren’t already doing so, you probably will be soon. And odds are you will be doing so through the internet. This article aims to answer all your questions about online marketing and give you the advantage in whatever you may want to sell.

Online marketing goes beyond surfing the internet for hours trying to see if you can get one or two people to visit your site or purchase some of your products. It certainly surpasses the typical image of a tired-looking man sitting in an uncomfortable chair hunched over his computer screen as though his life depends on website traffic. According to 21-year Chandler Bolt, who makes a good income from the corner of his kitchen, online marketing is more than just a regular job, ‘it is your shot at the life of your dreams’.

For one to achieve true success, there are important steps to take. Below are some basic facts that have been summarised to help you get insight into the basics of online marketing:

The first and most basic skill needed for success in online marketing is the ability to build strong and sustainable personal connections. People are the life-blood of businesses and without them goals and profit will be difficult to achieve.  People are usually loyal regardless of cost and convenience, as a result of the investment made in building up a strong connection with them. Someone may buy a product simply because they can easily get in contact with customer service and get someone to talk to when they encounter any difficulty.

Another basic ingredient for a successful online marketing campaign is starting with the end in mind. This essentially means the need to see the future in the present. Questions such as, ‘what do I want my brand to accomplish in ten years?’ should be focused on early. This will help in planning a vision statement and breaking it down into achievable pieces that can help build the kind of brand you desire. Doing this ensures that you can engage in backward planning (standing in the picture of your future and taking one step back at a time to determine what you need to do at each stage, until you are standing in your present).

In online marketing, it is important to determine a sustainable framework for building traffic and attracting customers. Also, it is also imperative to develop strategies for converting first-time visitors into regular consumers/customers.

Content marketing is a very powerful tool that can make a huge difference between a successful and unsuccessful business. Developing quality content that reflects your business/website in the most attractive and compelling light cannot be overemphasised, as it will aid growth and ROI (Return on Investment).

Finally, develop a solid email marketing strategy. From aggressive marketing via emails to the richly-developed ‘thank you’ message, with this you’ll be able to transform your first-timers into repeat customers.

Here are the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on this topic and the most concise answers for you.

Is an Online Campaign the same as an Online Marketing Campaign?

Not exactly, even though most people use both terms interchangeably. An online campaign could be political, social or marketing in nature, so it is a broad term covering all sorts of campaigns. An online marketing campaign, on the other hand, sets out to sell something (product or service) and is specifically targeted. The end goal is the sale.

What is an Online Marketing Campaign?

It is a series of well-planned events and activities carried out online to achieve a particular goal. Online marketing campaigns are usually geared towards profit making in the area of sales of goods and services. These campaigns are usually time bound, (i.e. have a timeframe) and are well monitored. The data collected is used to decide whether to continue with the plan, change it or totally abandon it. The goal is usually to get people to know more about a company, its products and services, build a brand image, change a brand image, sell a new product, build goodwill and/or maintain customer loyalty.

Why should I do an Online Marketing Campaign?

The most important reason would be that most of your customers are either online or will be online soon.

Compared to other available means of marketing (e.g., television and radio), the internet is the cheapest and the most precise. Everybody, from the largest multinational to the small business finding its feet, all have an equal chance of reaching their audience and meeting their targets without breaking the bank.

It affords you the ability to measure data accurately and gain insights, because it can be easily monitored, give you the opportunity to see what is working for you (and what isn’t) and the category of audience you are reaching. Basically, it gives you precise information on how best to achieve your desired goal.

How do I do start Online Marketing?

Firstly, you identify your goal. What do you want to achieve from online marketing? Why do you want to do it? Is it to make people feel positively about your product or service, to inform them about something or to get them to buy from you? What exactly do you want to achieve?

Next, become an expert. Read, watch videos, ask questions, and research until you know enough to make informed decisions.

Know your competitors. Who is doing well in my industry? Why are they doing well? What don’t they have that I do? What is working for them and how can I use that? These questions will help you.

Create a plan that fits your purpose, plans and budget. Set a period for the campaign. Finally, get started, re-evaluate and make changes as needed.

 What tools do I need for Online Marketing?

You will need a brand image and logo (what you want people to think of when your product or company name is mentioned; what picture, colours, words, images should people remember; what emotions should they feel), market research (important statistics about the industry you are in, it is usually something that can be bought or assessed on the net), SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), social media accounts, videos, banners, posters, etc.

 Are there different types of Online Marketing?

Yes, there are.

 What are the different types of Online Marketing?

Some of the different types of Online Marketing include, but are not limited to:

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Pay Per Click advertising (PPC)
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Email Marketing

 What are the best places to advertise/market online?

  • Google AdWords
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Bing Ads

These are the top seven, but there are others.

 What specific skills are needed for Online Marketing? 

  • Ability to think critically about details that a consumer will consider when purchasing a product or engaging a service
  • Creativity and an ability to think outside the box
  • A keen ability to multitask
  • A deep understanding of target customers and specific methods of attracting them
  • Ability to engage in backward planning with the end in view