Entrepreneurs and business owners are constantly being told to "do internet marketing" as if it is the most obvious - and easiest - thing in the world to do. The truth is internet marketing means putting in the hard yards to build your brand across platforms using a wide range of tried-and-tested strategies to put your business top of mind when customers come to making purchase decisions.
Online marketing, also known as internet marketing, refers to the whole spectrum of methods, strategies and techniques successful businesses use to drive traffic to their websites, generate business leads and make sales in the online environment. These include emailers, paid advertising, SEO, SEM, social media, influencers, blogs, articles and a whole lot more.
Key to all of this is the concept of content creation. As search engines become ever more intelligent, the ability to dupe them into giving you first page rankings for very little input is almost impossible. Search engines employ sophisticated algorithms known as crawlers to scan every page on every website on the megalith of information that is the internet. What these algorithms want is content.
The difficulty is that content can mean a lot of things and creating it is a complex task. To break it down, content in the online marketing sense is valuable, relevant and consistent material that is produced and distributed to attract a clearly defined audience, engage them, keep them coming back and ultimately, build the trust that makes them buy.
Content is often in the form of the written word, but it doesn't always have to be. A good mix of written content, video content, images and sound bites broadens the appeal of a brand, making it feel real to the intended audience, increase their engagement and build a relationship with them. It should inspire, educate, solve problems and essentially earn the trust of the target market.
The trends in online marketing suggest that content needs to be front and centre in an online marketing strategy and key to that is creating the right kind of material. Content creation is often likened to storytelling. Telling stories about your brand and creating conversations around it are what generates interest, develops trust, builds your brand and drives sales.
Content creation is not an afterthought. It begins with the conceptualisation of the website and continues long after the site has been completed. Including relevant and credible written information, infographics, video clips and images on your website is a good start, but what about that blog you started and then lost steam because no one seemed interested?
Like most things in life, consistency is key. Content is consistent when it's created and distributed on a regular basis and when it's always in line with your brand's values, image and reputation. If it follows the guidelines above, it will generate interest that compounds over time. Whether you have one follower or one hundred followers on your feed, keeping that blog going is equally important.
The same applies for your social media presence. Despite the knocks it's taken from data scandals and the like, social media is still your brand's best friend and the content creator's greatest source of information and inspiration, even without paying for data. Social media not only allows you to find out what makes your target market tick, it also allows you to deliver your message with precision.
Many new businesses fail online by throwing the net too wide, thinking that if they appeal to everyone, surely someone will take the bait. Unfortunately, this dilutes the message and the effect and results in a campaign with tepid results. By creating hyper-targeted campaigns that include split-testing, brands can avoid this trap, finding out exactly who their customers are and what they want.
Ultimately, what will make your brand stick and drive sales is content that scratches your customers where they itch. Spending time finding out what that is and testing it repeatedly will yield results over time and your business will reap the rewards.
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