Online marketing can be paradoxical in that it’s both accessible and very complex. Anyone can start an online marketing campaign in a few minutes, but very few really know how to run a successful one.
Then there’s the number of different methods that you can use. You’ve probably heard about the main options out there like SEO, PPC, and email marketing. You may be intrigued by these options and what they can do. All of these methods have different strengths, and some of these might be more useful to one type of business over the other. There are also cases when certain methods would be largely unproductive and costly. Let’s take a look at this online marketing big 3 and what kind of businesses would benefit the most from them.
SEO is probably the method that is the most complex out of the three. It’s also the one that could offer the best long-term benefits. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s more than marketing; it’s an investment in your business and should be a prerequisite to doing business online, period.
When first introduced to SEO, a lot of people have the false idea that it’s about tricking search engines into giving them visibility. In reality, SEO is really about abiding by best practices, and strategically offering value – that’s it. If you manage to create a quality site that is properly coded and provides a great user experience, and release related content that is valuable to your core audience and creates reactions, you’ll get SEO benefits regardless.
With this in mind, it’s important to know that SEO is not an exact science. Parameters change all the time, sometimes overnight. Some sites get penalized, some get rewarded, and some stay the same. Those who focus on the main points we just mentioned, however, are usually the ones that can maintain.
SEO is first and foremost for people who want to build a strong presence online, brand awareness over time, and authority. You might see results after days, months, weeks, or even years, or one winner could end up elevating your whole site’s value by sending a steady stream of highly qualified traffic and links your way.
SEO is not a method to get fast traffic to a website, and as such, should not be viewed as an instant marketing method. However, it is something all businesses should focus on. At the very least, you have to make sure that your site is up to par and performant.
Email marketing is one of the oldest online marketing methods and one of the most efficient, especially when it comes to cost. Getting an autoresponder account is fairly cheap and there are affordable plans that will allow you to reach thousands of subscribers.
No other marketing method could allow you to reach millions of motivated buyers at the click of a button. Email marketing can be used to build an audience, prepare for a product launch, announce flash sales, or give offers aimed at subscribers only among other things.
In reality, we can’t think of a scenario where a business couldn’t benefit from email marketing. If you don’t have a way to capture your audience’s information when they come to your site, you’re missing out on lots of valuable traffic. A good offer on the way out could be all that you need to retain one more potential customer and get VIP access to their email box.
One issue with email marketing, however, is that it can get very complicated. As you start scaling, you might have to invest in CRM software and learn how to automate contact gathering and segmentation. You also need to learn which service providers are the best out there, especially when it comes to deliverability. That’s because the reputation of the email’s sender with email providers is one of the main reasons why an email might be identified as spam or go through.
Last, but not least, comes PPC. PPC stands for pay-per-click and is a method that allows you to bid on certain keywords. Your ads will then be displayed whenever someone conducts a search for this word or navigates a site that displays Google ads and revolves around the theme.
One of the greatest strengths of PPC is how fast you can get results. As a matter of fact, someone who launches a PPC campaign could start getting traffic within hours, even minutes. Another great thing about PPC is that it’s easily measurable. You can see how much traffic you generated, and how much of this traffic ended up converting. It’s a method that is fairly accessible and allows for plenty of testing. You can start on a small budget and rotate ads and see what’s best. PPC can also be used for people wanting to run a quick test on their website.
The problem with PPC, however, lies in its very structure. Since there are but a few spots available, you are left to fight with competitors for the top keywords and positions. Some of these competitors have a much bigger war chest than yours and could outbid you 10 times over. Some won’t even have an issue with losing money as they not only get to take a competitor out but build brand recognition at the same time.
PPC is also not the best method for people who are trying to build an audience. The goal should be to convert or get people to perform an action that would allow you to convert them later. This is why PPC is the method of choice for eCommerce websites. However, it has to be in a niche where you can actually compete.
As you can see, all of these online marketing techniques have their specificities and each might be better for you depending on the scenario. The real power lies in using them together when possible to unleash their full potential.