Internet marketing: What you need to know now

7 min read
Tanya Jamal

Internet marketing, also known as eMarketing or digital marketing, is a very straightforward set of processes for advertising your products or services on the internet. So take a deep breath, let your shoulders relax and get ready for Internet Marketing 101!

Internet marketing is just regular marketing done through your computer and posted on the web.

Here, you will find a clear guide to the basics of how you can advertise your business online. There are also links to easy-to-understand guides for more reading. You will soon realize that internet marketing is not a big, bad, mysterious monster that only programmers and people under 20 can understand. It’s simply a collection of strategies that work to bring customers to you.

Internet marketing in 4 steps

Here are the four most important steps for an eMarketing beginner.

  1. Start by learning the lingo.

  2. Next, establish your brand.

  3. Create interesting content.

  4. Harness the power of social media.

Follow these steps to market your business online. Within a year, you should start seeing results.

1. Start by learning the lingo

Simply put, each aspect of internet marketing is done to increase your exposure to the people who are browsing or searching on the web at any given moment. The only thing separating you from those who are already marketing their businesses on the web is that they know a few things that you don’t.

Internet Marketing Mobile Screen
eMarketing is rife with acronyms. It’s helpful to keep a source of definitions near at hand.
Photo: Edho Pratama on Unsplash

For example, you might have been stymied by one of these elements of eMarketing:

  • Strategies that sound like a foreign language — for example, business-to-consumer (B2C) advertising.
  • Abbreviations such as PPC (pay-per-click) that represent actions.
  • Unfamiliar techno-speak — cascading style sheets (CSS), as one example.

Familiarizing yourself with internet marketing gobbledygook is a great way to start talking the talk before you begin to walk the walk. Lindsay Kolowich’s 75 Marketing & Business Acronyms & Abbreviations provides an A to Z listing of the most widely used terms.

2. Next, establish your brand

Creating a distinct, meaningful business identity or brand is probably the most important step in any successful digital marketing plan.

Even if you already have a website, you are going to have to do some further thinking about:

  • What your company stands for.
  • What it’s basic values and goals are.
  • How you want consumers to view your products and services.

Communicating your company’s personality through electronic media channels — social media, banner advertising etc. — is what internet marketing is all about.

The importance of knowing your customers

Internet Marketing Mall
By knowing buyers’ age, income level and other details, you can more effectively woo them.
Photo: Dieter de Vroomen on Unsplash

By analysing the demographics of your current and desired customer base — age, education, household income, etc. — you can create an image that appeals specifically to them. Check out Tommy Walker's How to Find Your Target Market So Content Sticks for more on this, including links to free tools.

Creating product or service descriptions that resonate with the lifestyles of your customer base, devising a logo, slogans and coordinating packaging and the colours that represent your business, are all a part of the branding process.

3. Create interesting content

You might have come across the term content marketing. Content marketing simply refers to the information you publish or “post” online.

Content marketing draws new customers to you.

By using the actual words people type into Google, Bing or Yahoo when looking for businesses like yours IN your content, you increase the chances your blog post or research report will be found by prospective customers. This is called search engine optimization and, believe it or not, it can be used with video.

Content might include:

  • A blog post on a topic of interest to your customers.
  • Descriptions of your products or services.
  • Transcripts of interviews you’ve done related to your industry.
  • Videos showing how to use your products.
  • Infographics that customers are likely to share with others.
  • Research reports on topics of interest to customers.

Posts range in length from 50 words to 1000 words depending on the topic and where it will be shared (shorter for social media, longer for blogs). Once your content is published, search engines will then make note of (or “index”) your keywords (those are the words people are typing in when searching for you). The next time someone searches for your keywords, your business will have a greater chance of showing up in their search results.

Learn how to find your keywords here and why it’s well worth your time here.

Editor’s note: GoDaddy Managed WordPress is the stress-free way to start a WordPress blog.

The future is video

Creating and sharing videos on the web is a phenomenon that has literally swept up every millennial and member of generation Z (and a great number of generation Xers and boomers — I’m looking at you cat video lovers!).

Figuring out how video can help your business can put you ahead of the digital marketing game.

Incorporating original video clips, web tutorials or even full-fledged webinars into your website or blog is a great way to draw leads to your business.

Video encourages people to hang around your website, learn more — and even share your videos on their social media. For example, many online clothing retailers post three- to five-second videos to sell their clothing. This is a brilliant way to show off products, which in turn brings a new level of information to their customers while increasing online sales.

Related: 3 easy small business videos you can make today

4. Harness the power of social media

Internet Marketing Social Media
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great places to do “soft” business promotion.
Photo: Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

To effectively market your business through social media, you will need to do some research about your current customer base and learn where they tend to hang out when they are online. As a rule of thumb:

  • Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook would be the places to connect with an older crowd.
  • YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram are where younger generations hang out.

It’s in your interest to have your brand’s name, images and content mentioned, liked, reposted or shared with other users as often as possible. It’s also a plus for you to share, repost, comment, like or refer to others’ posts.

Social media marketing is often where small businesses choose to hire a service that can do this for them, as the time commitment to keeping up with the 24/7 nature of social media is a difficult balance for many business owners.

Related: A beginner’s guide to social media for small business

Anyone can master internet marketing

By taking some time to learn and understand the basics of online marketing, you too can use the internet to grow your business. Establishing an effective electronic presence means more than just having a website. Attracting consumers and making sales is where internet marketing comes into play.

If you think of your business website as a car parked on the internet, then eMarketing is the gas that allows your car to move forward.

Now that you have the basics in hand, it’s time to get moving!