Internet Marketing in 2018: A Quick Guide

It would not be too far from the truth for us to assume that most people live their lives on the internet nowadays. Whether we need a new stereo, or a car repair mechanic, or even relationship advice, Google is often the first destination for most people.

In such a connected world, leveraging your internet marketing strategy can propel your business way ahead. Simply put, it’s a way of marketing your business through the internet. It is an overarching term that covers every aspect of your online presence. A well-crafted internet marketing strategy will allow you to use various aspects of your online presence, from your online presence to the way you convert leads from your website.

Why do I need this?

One reason: people make their decisions based on the internet.

90% of consumers read online reviews first, before visiting a business or purchasing a product. Consumers are also gathering this information from a wider range of places- with Yelp, Facebook, Google, BBB.org, being the most popular choices. What exactly does this mean for your business?

It means that people believe what they see about you- especially what is being said about you on the internet. Whether you’re a multinational company or a local business, to be able to attract traffic and continuously drive conversions, your internet presence needs to be strong and positive. And that’s where internet marketing comes into the picture.

What’s involved in digital marketing?

Now that you know the need for building a digital marketing strategy for your business, it’s time to work out the details. Your digital marketing strategy will cover multiple venues, so that you can reach out to customers no matter where they are in their digital consumer journey.

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The digital consumer journey map will allow you to figure out what kind of internet marketing tactics you need to follow, and with what kind of customers. This is crucial, for it will help you set realistic marketing goals for each step of conversion, and achieving the same.

So, without much ado, let’s dive in to the details. What are the different tactics you can use to build your internet marketing campaign? How will they benefit you?

Website marketing

There might be an uptick in the number of businesses that have an online presence purely on social media, but the value of a website can never be underestimated. Having a website is a great way of showcasing your unique values, styles, and offerings. It can enhance customer trust in a brand, and has a low cost per impression.

This is why you need a website, and you need one that lives up to customer’s expectations. In 2018, this means building a website that inspires trust. Another important factor for website marketing in 2018? Design! Your site needs to be simple, mobile-responsive, and well-designed. If you’re a little lost on how exactly you can do that, just follow our top trends for web designs in 2018!

Content Marketing

The kind of content you create and share on all your platforms will definitely inform your sales, your reputation, and the kind of audiences you’re attracting. After all, it’s through content that you can communicate what’s valuable about your business, and why people should work with you. That might be the reason by 53% of B2B marketers felt that giving higher priority to content marketing was the reason behind their increased digital marketing success in 2017.

  • The first thing you need to know about content marketing is that it is not the same as advertising. Good content should inspire interest in your offering, and subtly guide people towards the decision you want them to make- not overtly advertise your product or service.
  • Secondly, your content marketing strategy needs to be diverse. Different users respond to different forms of content, so you’ll have to diversify the kind of content that you’re developing, and the platforms on which it is shared.

Want some ideas? Here’s what content marketers are focusing on in 2018. From social media content, to blogs, videos, and even webinars, there’s quite a diverse spread.

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  • There’s a lot of value in creating content that is aimed at link creation. What does this mean? As Joshua Hardwick, from Ahrefs.com opines, it is content that is so cool, unique and valuable that people would be hard-pressed not to link back to your site. This is a smart way of increasing your referral traffic and improving your organic site ranking as well.

Another interesting way of doing this would be through guest posting, where you write and publish content for other sites, with some subtle backlinks to your own. This method has the added benefit of increasing your brand exposure, and can help you build better relationships in your industry.

Here’s a more definitive guide on B2B lead generation.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO has been the backbone of digital marketing strategies for a long time now. It’s the digital equivalent of putting direction signs and billboards signalling the location of your office, after all. A good SEO strategy will allow you to rank high on search engine ranking pages (SERPs). Why should you care about that? Because the site that’s ranked first on Google (other than the paid results) gets 33% of the total traffic share (second and third positions gets 15% and 9% respectively). If you’re not ranking on page 1 of Google Results for your specific business keywords, you might as well be invisible (remember that really old joke about how the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google’s search results? Yeah, that still holds true).

If you haven’t engaged in any SEO yet, you can start off with some basic maneuvers that will definitely put you on the map:

  • Determine the best keyword phrases for your site, especially those relating to your products and services, and develop content that suits these keywords
  • Optimize all the pages on your site with page titles, headlines, meta tags, etc.
  • Develop and follow an internal linking strategy
  • Acquire backlinks from authoritative sites in your field

Have already done all of this and more? Well, it’s time for you to step up the game and see if you’ve ticked all the boxes when it comes to the most cutting-edge concepts in SEO.

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Conversion Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization is a way of moving customers along their journey map- it allows you to recognize who are the customers coming to your site, and allows you to take effective measures to move them from one step to the next.

When developing your conversion optimization strategy, it’s necessary for you to be aware about your conversion funnel. This will help you plan your marketing strategy, by understanding how many people you’d have to reach out to, in order to convert a fraction of the same into sales/customers. At each step down the funnel, you’re going to have to change your marketing strategy, so as to incentivize the customer into taking the big plunge.

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(Expert tip: Remember,  it will always be impossible for you to have a 100% conversion rate (the average ecommerce conversion rate in 2018 is just 3.3%).

Social Media Marketing

If there’s one business tool that has become more valuable than a website, it is a social media presence. In 2018, it is time to break the illusion that a business presence on social media is purely to increase visibility. It can also be a great place for lead generation, customer engagement, building social trust, and driving sales. How can you do this?

  • The first step is to choose the right social media platform (the right platform would depend on the target audience and what step you wish them to take: after all, if you’re aiming at mid-career business men, Snapchat might not be the best venue for you to focus on).
  • Your social media marketing strategy should be diverse in terms of content. With the amount of content noise and velocity on social media, you’re going to have to stay ahead of the game by constantly innovating the way in which you’re sharing content.

Email Marketing

Emails have been constant in their popularity. According to a study by the Radicati Group, there were over 3.8 billion email users in 2018 (both business and consumer). These 2.8 billion users were sending 289 billion emails a day, as of 2017. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of active engagement.

Email marketing provides a different way of communicating with customers: unlike social media, it is more acceptable to be aggressive in email marketing strategies, as customers are already expecting active offers and calls to actions. It’s also Want to develop a strong email marketing strategy that increases your conversion rates? Here are some tips!

  • Make the content personalized. You don’t have to write out every email, but adding a personal touch (like mentioning their name, or linking back to their buyer history) can go a long way.
  • Optimize your emails for mobile. As of 2018, 54% of all marketing emails are opened on the mobile, so there’s a lot of value in making your email templates mobile friendly.
  • Test how trigger based email campaigns work, so you can encourage your customers to take the next step (this would include sending ‘welcome’ emails, reminder emails, ‘thank you for the purchase’ emails, etc.).

Measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns

At the end of the day, your business is unique.

What you bring to the table is unique, and so are your goals and targets.

These are the most popular internet marketing tactics used by digital marketers. Which one of these work for you, and to what extent, will definitely depend on your strategy, targets, and vision. But there’s no way of knowing what exactly works for you, unless you’re implementing a solid measurement and evaluation plan with your digital marketing strategy.

How can you track the effectiveness of your campaigns? Don’t worry, there are plenty of tools that will do the job for you, no matter what platform you’re using.

  1. Google Analytics: This is holy grail for those who believe in data driven campaigns. Google Analytics is an extremely intuitive tool that will track your traffic, conversion, interactions, micro-interactions, bounce rates, and more.
  2. Native Platform Analytics: If you’re engaging in social media marketing, almost each platform has it’s own native analytics tool. Facebook and Instagram have Insights, and you can track your Twitter impact through Analytics.

Quick tips for building your internet marketing campaign

We know. Internet marketing can be a little overwhelming: after all, there are too many things to do, too little time.

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But here’s the thing: no matter what tactic you choose to implement your campaign, there are some tips that will help you achieve better success. Here are some tips that will help you navigate the multi-platform nature of digital marketing, and help you set goals that are achievable!

  • Focus on personalization: Large scale, mass-marketing is last century. Instead, focus on reaching out to smaller sections of your population, and making your campaign feel more organic: that’s what will win you loyalty!
  • Don’t rely on set formulas alone: Don’t rely on over-done formulaic strategies. Instead, root your digital marketing on your business values, personal style, and unique message. This will make you stand out way more.
  • Define how you want to participate: Don’t blindly adapt every possible digital marketing strategy, unless you see the value in it for yourself. You already have more than enough on your plate, and you definitely don’t need to overload it.

Conclusion

Internet marketing has definitely made it easier for businesses to succeed- whether you’re a multinational company, or a local business. It gives each business a platform to reach out to a wider audience, if used correctly. There are countless arenas through which you can implement your internet marketing strategy, so all you have to do is pick the arenas and goals that are relevant to you and your business.

Just get started- you’ll work the kinks out!

Mayank Gulati

Unhappy with the concept of 5 working days a week, Mayank Gulati started his own Marketing Communications firm. He now works 7 days a week, where he wears many, many hats (and a neck brace). An unfortunate engineer, he founded a med-tech startup that was inducted into Nasscom 10k. He’s now decided to stop asking people to invest in his company, and get them to invest in their own.

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