Online Marketing 101: The First Steps to Becoming an Expert

If you want your business to be competitive in today’s digital marketplace, it’s critical that you work to build a presence for your brand online. The modern consumer uses the Internet to find information on the products and services they need. If you want to reach your target consumers, you need to be where they are – online.

However, this goes far beyond just having a website with your business location information on it. Though throwing together a simple website may have been enough to bring in customers 10 years ago, it’s a bit more complicated than that today. If you want to earn the business of your ideal buyers, you need to reach and engage them through digital marketing tactics.

But how do you get started? If you’re new to digital marketing, it may be challenging to navigate all the different tactics that are available to your business.

That’s why we have put together this Online Marketing 101 Guide. It will give you everything you need to know about the basics of online marketing so that you can take your first steps to become an expert. After reading this guide, you’ll understand what digital marketing is, why it’s important, and how you can use it to reach, engage, and convert your ideal customers.

What is Online Marketing?

Online marketing is a collection of tactics for marketing your products or services to your target audience online. The goal of online marketing is to help your brand reach new leads and drive them toward conversion – whether that be buying a product or just taking the next step in the buyer’s journey.

Online marketing involves different tactics that allow you to engage your leads during each step of their buyer’s journey:

  • Awareness – With online marketing, you can reach your ideal buyers when they are first aware that they have a problem or issue. This is when they will start to look online for answers to their questions and more information that helps define their challenges.
  • Consideration – This is the stage in the buyer’s journey where consumers are doing research to find out which solutions are the best fit for their particular challenges. They may use the search engines or reach out to friends on social media or through email to compare different brands and consider which business provides the best products or services for their needs.
  • Decision – During this stage, consumers already know what they need, and they are ready to make a final decision regarding the purchase. Through different online marketing tactics, you can help increase visibility on the search engines and other online platforms to make sure that your brand is visible to those who are ready to buy.

Online marketing is crucial in today’s marketplace because it helps you connect with, engage, and convert your ideal customers online. Most consumers today start their product or service research online through a search engine or even on social media. If you want to grab their attention, you need to make sure that your business is visible on the Internet.

Why Digital Marketing Works

Before we get into the specific digital marketing tactics that your brand can use to reach more consumers online, let’s discuss why online marketing is so important for your business.

The way that consumers look for and purchase products has changed. Gone are the days of visiting the physical store location to compare features or prices. Today, consumers can compare a number of different products from the comfort of their own home. In a matter of moments, they can go online to find many different brands, compare prices and features, and even get recommendations on the best products or services available to them.

This global digital snapshot shows you just how many people around the world are using the Internet, including those are active on social media or using a mobile device.

As you can see from the graphic above, about 50% of the world’s population uses the Internet. With 37% active on social media channels and 66% using mobile devices. If you want to reach these global consumers, you need to increase your visibility online.

Digital marketing is the best way to ensure that your business is visible to these consumers in their time of need. Through a variety of different specialized tactics, you can reach these buyers through search engines, social media, and across other digital channels.

If you want to make digital marketing work for you, you’ll need to brush up on your online marketing 101 knowledge. Getting to know the basics of digital marketing will help you make smarter decisions about your overall marketing strategy. That brings us to our next section…

Online Marketing 101: What You Need to Know

Now that you know what online marketing is and why it’s important for your brand, it’s time to talk online marketing 101. The guide we have put together below will give you an informative introduction to each of the most important marketing tactics your brand will use online:

Social Media

Social media has become one of the most popular digital channels for the modern consumer. In fact, according to eMarketer, social media users are expected to reach 2.95 million worldwide by 2020. That number of users is equal to 70.7% of total Internet users across the globe.

This graph shows the number of social media users worldwide alongside the percentage of total Internet users and percentage change from year to year.

Social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest present a powerful opportunity for brands to reach and engage their target audience. By posting quality content, engaging leads and customers, and reaching out through social media ads, businesses can be on their way to driving more leads back to their website.

Social media management involves creating and curating relevant content for your social media fans and followers. Social media content can include unique posts sharing content from your website, images of your products, brand videos, and more. It can also involve curating relevant content from other sources, which you share with your audience to provide value and build a stronger relationship.

Social media engagement is another integral piece of online marketing 101. You need to go beyond just posting great content and work to start a conversation with your target buyers. Answering their questions and replying to their comments can help you build relationships that encourage conversions and repeat sales.

Social media advertising is a tactic that involves reaching out to your target buyers through ads strategically placed on social media channels. This tactic requires additional ad spend. However, with sophisticated targeting capabilities, social media ads help you reach more of your audience that social media posts alone.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a vital part of your online marketing strategy and internet marketing 101. SEO is the process of optimizing your website and content for search engines like Google. Looking at the graphic below, you will see that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. This means that if you want to reach new customers online, you’ve got to improve visibility on the search engines and know the basics of internet marketing 101.

Search engine optimization has become an important digital marketing strategy for businesses that want to reach more consumers online.

Search engine optimization involves optimizing your content for certain keywords that are relevant to your business and products or services. Keyword research is an ongoing process that requires you to find which keywords and phrases consumers are using to find brands like your online. Then, you strategically create content to help rank for these keywords, thus improving visibility for searches related to your brand.

On-page SEO is the work that you do on your website to ensure that it’s easy for search engines to read and understand. Part of this process is making sure your site loads quickly and is easy to navigate. Another part of the process is ensuring that your site ranks locally and/or globally for the types of keywords that are relevant to your business.

Many businesses that are just learning online marketing 101 and SEO will start with a site audit. An SEO site audit helps your business understand what areas of your website need work when it comes to search engine optimization.

It’s important to understand that SEO is not something you can set and forget. You need to continuously check your site for areas of improvement and work to optimize over time. Some businesses choose to partner with an SEO agency for ongoing SEO services. This is the best way to make sure that your site is always optimized and ranking well for your desired search terms. An agency has knowledge far beyond what you’ll learn in online marketing 101 that they can leverage to improve your site and outrank your competition.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC ads, help you reach even more consumers on the search engines. PPC ads appear at the top of the search engine results page. You bid on certain keywords that are relevant to your brand, products, or services. When search engine users look for these keywords on Google, they will find your PPC ads at the top of the page.

PPC ads help you draw more attention to your brand by appearing at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). Not only does this help you increase visibility, but it also drives more traffic back to your website while encouraging more conversions.

Pay-per-click advertising is a great tactic to complement your organic SEO efforts. While search engine optimization takes time to work, PPC ad results are immediate. Though you should be spending time on driving organic traffic to your site through SEO efforts, PPC ad campaigns can help drive even more traffic to specific pages on your website.

Since every click on your ad costs your business money, it’s important that you are strategic about your ad strategy and content. If you are new to Google AdWords and do not have PPC ad experience, you may benefit from working with an AdWords agency. A PPC ad agency has the experience and knowledge to help you get the most out of your advertising budget.

Email Marketing

Email marketing may seem old school, but it’s still very much a part of our online marketing 101 guide. Email marketing is a tactic that involves engaging your target audience through email. Email remains one of the best ways to reach and engage your ideal buyers. Most consumers have an email address and actively check their email daily, often multiple times a day. More importantly, many consumers prefer getting marketing communications through email.

Email marketing involves more than just sending out regular updates or promotions. You can also use emails to engage your subscriber list with relevant content. Email newsletters are a great way to keep your subscribers and customers up-to-date on the latest news and promotions from your brand while also delivering targeted content that they may find valuable.

List segmentation is an important part of email marketing. When you segment your email marketing list, you are putting your subscribers into different groups based on certain traits or characteristics. Segmenting your email marketing list helps you provide more relevant content and offers to your customers.

For example, you might put all of your email subscribers in a certain geographic area into one email marketing list. Then, you send this list of subscribers specific promotions or content that pertain to their region. That way, they are more likely to act on the information you present because it’s relevant to them.

You can also use email marketing automation to ensure that your subscribers are getting the right email messages at the right time. With an email marketing automation software, you can automatically send emails based on certain trigger actions. This could be a welcome email when a subscriber first signs up for your email list or even an abandoned cart email that reminds the user they have left their cart without making a final purchase.

Using this tip from our online marketing 101 guide will save you loads of time, stress, and money as well as convert some more customers.

Content Marketing

Content marketing plays an important role in many of the digital marketing tactics that you will use to reach, engage, and convert your audience. Content marketing involves creating engaging and strategic content that will attract new leads and help you build relationships with your audience. This content can include anything from blog posts and social media content to infographics and eBooks.

Content marketing helps you attract, connect, and build relationships with your target audience.

One of the most popular and effective forms of content marketing is blogging. A blog is a section on your website where you can post articles on topics that are relevant to your audience. By creating engaging and informative content, you can work to build credibility and authority with your site visitors.

Blogs also help improve your SEO by giving you the opportunity to continuously publish new content on topics and keywords that are relevant to your audience. The more relevant, high-quality content that you publish on your website, the more chances you have to rank for new keywords on the search engine results page.

The key to maintaining a successful blog for your business is creating high-quality content on a consistent basis that adds value for your readers. However, many small businesses may not have the time or resources to blog consistently. That’s where digital marketing services like blogging come in handy. By outsourcing your blogs to an experienced online marketing agency, you can save time and money while creating quality content that drives new leads.

Web Design

Your website is at the center of all your digital marketing efforts. That’s why it’s vital that you pay attention to the design and content on your website. Your website is your chance to make the best first impression and show that you know the basics of online marketing 101 and then some. In fact, 94% of consumers base their impression of your brand on your site and 75% of consumers judge your business credibility based on your site design and content.

Custom web design that’s attractive and professional is vital to attracting more customers to your brand.

When it comes to online marketing 101, your website needs to be attractive, informative, and easy to navigate. Most businesses that do not have the staff in-house to create an effective website will hire an agency for WordPress web design. The experienced agency team makes sure that the site has a clean and attractive design and makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

When designing your website, you’ll need to go beyond just what it looks like or how it works. You also need to consider how everything else you’ve learned in online marketing 101 interacts with your website. Consider what types of content you will be putting on your site. Most business pages have at least a home page, service or product pages, an about page, and a contact page. However, you may need additional pages based on your company’s unique needs.

Your website plays an important role in your overall search engine optimization. Be sure to consult with an SEO expert on the design of your site to ensure that it’s optimized for search engines like Google. Similarly, you need to make sure that your site’s content is optimized for the keywords that you want to rank for on the SERP.

Other Types of Online Marketing

It’s important to note that there are other types of digital marketing that we did not cover in our online marketing 101 section above. Here are just a few of the other types of online marketing that you might encounter:

  • Video Marketing – Video marketing involves developing creative and engaging branded videos that help educate, inform, and entertain your target audience.
  • Influencer Marketing – Influencer marketing involves working with individuals within your industry who have gained a following and are seen as experts to get them to share your content and recommend your products or services.
  • Live Event Marketing – Live event marketing can include a number of different tactics that are used to engage visitors at live events, including video and social media.
  • Affiliate Marketing – With affiliate marketing, your business works with other people who market and sell your product or service online for a commission.

All of these types of online marketing are worthwhile. However, we believe that it’s best to start building a foundation with social media, SEO, PPC, email, content, and web design. Once you have mastered these tactics, you can move on to more advanced techniques and test out different strategies to see what works best for you.