Congrats! Making the move to internet marketing is a smart decision as I’m sure you’ve been told a million times. A lot of advertising money is moving to the internet because that is where all the consumers are these days. But internet marketing is a large umbrella, and there are many types of internet marketing that are available to you. Before you go throwing all your money blindly into “internet marketing” you should probably figure out which types are right for you and your business.
- Web Design – Everyone, no matter what kind of business they are, should invest in Web Design. This should be the very first step. If you spend all the money in the world on SEO, PPC, and Social Media but you have a poorly designed website you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. You may be able to drive a lot of traffic to your site, but if its ugly or hard to navigate those potential customers are not going to stay around long.
- Search Engine Optimization – This is the process of making changes on your website and building links around the web to make your website appear on top of the search results. Its a good idea for almost every business because most people looking for a business or a product will do a quick search in Google to find what they need. However, if your business is part of a very small niche maybe you don’t need to spend as much money here as there won’t be very much competition.
- Local Search Engine Optimization – This is becoming increasingly important because Google now includes local search results at the top for most searches. The catch is, you have to be a business with a physical location. If you are running a web design business out of your basement then you’re not going to be able to list your business in Google Maps and it probably wouldn’t do you any good if you did. For example, no one is going to get on Google Maps looking for Amazon.com because the location of their headquarters doesn’t matter. They are an online business.
- Social Media – Social Media is a powerful tool. Its a way to interact with your current customer base and if you are smart about it, its a way to get your current customer base to recommend you to their friends. But as popular as social media has become, its not the end all solution for every business. It works much better for businesses that connect with the younger generation. Although that is starting to change as more people from older generations are logging on to Facebook and Twitter.
- Reputation Management – Maybe you are an already well established and popular business. Most people find your website by searching for your name rather than generic search terms. If this is the case you will want to invest in reputation management. You want to make sure that when people search for your name they find pages that you have control over. For instance, you don’t want your official page “example.com” appearing right next to a website called “why example.com sucks.”
- Pay Per Click Advertising – If you’re willing to invest the money this is generally a good idea for everyone. If you are a local business you can target your ads to only show to local users. However if it might not be a good idea for you to continue your PPC if you’re paying $10 a click, and you’re only earning $5 from every click. Try it out and see if it will work for you.
So there are a lot of options out there. Think about how someone is going to search for your type of business. Do your customers frequently use social media? Are you a local business with a physical address? Do people find you exclusively through Google searches? Odds are you will want some combination of all of these services, but some smart planning can let you know where to focus your efforts on the right types of internet marketing as you figure out what internet marketing solutions are right for you.