Website marketing, or internet marketing more generally, has become a significant part of the marketing industry within the last 20 years. This is understandable once you consider the proportion of transactions which are done online throughout the world, and that this will inevitably increase competition and therefore the need for marketing professionals to give businesses an advantage.

So, at this point you should be wondering what website marketing can actually do to give you an advantage over competitors, or at the very least compete on an even playing field. You need to understand though, that website marketing isn’t just one set of skills or one avenue through which to market your products and services. It is called virtual reality for a reason; it is about as diverse as what you find in the real world.

Web marketing can be broken down into a number of different segments;

  • Search Engine Optimisation and PPC;
  • Ad network advertising;
  • Email Marketing;
  • Social Media Promotion;

all of which should be used to their full advantage, if your budget is permitting.  There are a number of reasons why you would want to use all of these marketing strategies, but they can be distilled best as a way to minimise the risk your company is exposed to, as if one area fails you’ll still have other ways to generate traffic and pick up the slack.

Now that you understand the why, you need to understand the how. Each of these areas require expertise that is beyond an amateur being able to immediately profit from. To use them to generate new business takes time and energy, which is why a lot of businesses leave it to the professionals. That isn’t to say though, that understanding a few points about each platform isn’t valuable, so here goes:

Search Engine Optimisation

This is a very good place to start your website marketing, as you can make an impact in the field of play (search engines), relatively easily. The requirements get more intense and complex as the level of competition increases, but for small, local marketing campaigns, small investments can be effective.

When starting SEO, the first area that should be looked at is customising your written content. This is generally the easiest area to fix problems, as all you need to do is include a few keywords (the ones you want ranking in SERPs, Search Engine Results Pages) into the key areas on your website. These areas, in order of importance, are site title and tagline, H1, H2, H3, etc. When carrying this strategy out, it is important that you don’t just stuff your content with these keywords, as that is frowned upon by search engine moderators, and seen as spam.

Ad Network Advertising

This type of advertising is a pretty costly area to go into, but it can be a very effective brand development tool. There are numerous ad networks that you can buy into to gain exposure, as most content websites (websites which don’t sell products) will use one. A few of the bigger ones which are essentially newspaper companies with an online presence even have their own ad networks, but most smaller websites will be using Amazon or Google ads on their sites.

Thanks to the way that these ad networks work, you usually only have to pay for your website’s inclusion when the ads are actually getting viewed or clicked by visitors to the site where they are being displayed, which ensures that too much money isn’t spent without any payback.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

You find these schemes available on all modern search engines; Bing Yahoo! and Google being the main ones. As a cross between SEO and Ad Network Advertising, PPC has a lot to offer companies. The way that they operate is by bidding on certain keywords that you want the ad to be displayed on. The amount you bid determines the position and regularity with which the ad appears, with quality score being the next most important factor. This quality score is a value attributed to the ad, based upon the relevancy of the ad to the keyword and how high the quality of the page the ad is linking to is.

The biggest advantage of PPC is that you can instantly access the service. Compared to SEO, where you have to spend time, money and energy in order to be able to compete on competitive phrases, with PPC all you need is money. The biggest downside to PPC is that the amount of money can start to outstrip your ability to earn a profit on phrases pretty quickly.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is really the best strategy to develop a continued relationship between yourself and recent customers. By giving them useful information, you can begin to develop the trust they have in your brand, meaning the chances of them being repeat customers is much higher.

Social Media

Social media has grown in influence tremendously over the last decade, and now it has also become a great tool for businesses promotional purposes. It can be used to maintain a dialogue between the business and the target market. It is also important to note that your business may already be being discussed on social media, so having a presence there yourself can give you greater control over what people say about your business.

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