What is Internet Marketing?

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Here at I’ve Tried That we talk a lot about internet marketing and making money online. We describe many different tactics and ideas to generate money. We help you by explaining what to look for when checking for scams. We review countless products to help you make an informed decision.

For most people that is all well and good, but if you’re just starting out and have no idea what this whole internet marketing thing is, then read on.

A Definition

At its essence internet marketing is simply about promoting products (or services) via the medium of the internet.

Or as Wikipedia puts it:

[Internet marketing is a] term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.

This is obviously a fairly broad synopsis, but it does cover the general idea behind internet marketing.

Many Names, One Idea

A lot of confusion can be had when you first set out to learn more about internet marketing, because there is no set term for it. You can see people using:

  • Internet marketing
  • Digital marketing
  • Online marketing
  • Marketing (yup, just plain old marketing)

These terms are used interchangeably but really just mean the same thing. For clarity, I’ll just be using internet marketing here.

More Branches than a Tree

Not only does internet marketing have a few pseudonyms, but there are also lots of different sub-sections to it that can also be thrown in to mic things up.

While internet marketing is a broad umbrella term, it’s sub-sections are unique ways to help you make money.

Often these will overlap, and blur into one another, which is why it’s easy to get muddled up with them. Also it’s very common for a marketer to make use of several of these at the same time, but they can and are used alone as well.

Affiliate Marketing

This is perhaps the most common form of internet marketing, especially for beginners. It is also the one that a lot of people mean when they say internet marketing.

Affiliate marketing is basically the process of getting traffic to a website, soft-selling a product or service, and linking the visitor to the product owner’s site via a special link called an affiliate link.

If the person clicks that link they are sent to the product sellers site, and if they then buy the product, the affiliate marketer (that would be you) gets a commission!

Obviously there’s a lot more to it than that but that’s the basic idea.

Affiliate marketing can use all of the different techniques below, and should at least use one; otherwise you will just have a blog not a business!

Affiliate marketing is easy to get into, and barring basic website costs it’s pretty much free to get started. Of course to be successful at it requires time, patience and most likely at some point investment.

What is affiliate marketing?

Search Engine Optimization

When you put a search term into Google you get a list of 10 web sites that you can visit.

For each different term you enter, different results will come up. These searched words and phrases (collectively called Keywords) are what search engines use to find relevant sites.

Search engines crawl (visit and log the pages and content) as many sites as possible and work out what a websites content is about and what keywords it might use. It’s pretty complicated and, but the upshot is that when you search for something the relevant sites appear.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO for short, and sometimes referred to as Organic SEO) is the method of tailoring your site to appeal to search engines and be found at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords.

The idea is that you find keywords relevant to your topic and modify existing content or create new content that matches those terms. Because your content is relevant to the keyword, you’re more likely to be found when someone searches for the keyword.

The main benefit of SEO is that it’s free and you can be potentially found in Google even without doing anything. The main con is that you will be reliant upon the search engines that are forever shifting the goal posts.

Search Engine Marketing

Closely related to SEO is Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

SEO allows you to rank for keywords for free with some time and effort, but SEM goes a different route.

If you’ve ever seen advertisement in Google or Bing search results, you’re seeing SEM in action.

In short you buy advertisements based on keywords, so that when someone searches for them, they see your advert alongside the organic search results.

SEM can be a great way to advertise your site and gain visitors, and the costs can range from affordable to extortionate.

This cost is based on the competitiveness of the keyword. This means that if a lot of people want to buy adverts for a keyword it will cost a lot more than if only you and some guy in the Philippines want to buy it.

As such for competitive niches like health related niches, you will pay more for SEM adverts than if your niche is relatively obscure.

Content Marketing

A while back, internet marketers could put any old content on their websites and drive traffic to it. It didn’t seem to matter if the content was garbage or not, it was purely there to “game” search engines.

However, that hasn’t lasted and both humans and search engines alike are demanding quality content.

Content Marketing is the answer. The idea is to create content that has value: it’s informative, entertaining, interesting and useful (not necessarily all at once, but that would be the ideal).

If the content is done well, more people will want to share it, more people will want to read or view it, and by extension more people will see you products/adverts/affiliate links.

Some people think that content marketing is merely a form of blogging, and in some ways that’s true: you write or produce content and try and get people to consume it.

However with content marketing, you take it to the next level:

  • The content is produced based on keywords and trends for a targeted audience
  • It is SEO optimized, but not overly
  • The title is enigmatic without being clickbait
  • The content is detailed, rich and informative
  • It’s not boring

There are various types of content that you can use with this strategy:

  • Articles and blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts (audio only)
  • Videos
  • e-Books

This content is used to promote your site, brand and/or yourself. By offering this valuable content for free, you are making people want to consume more of your content which will lead them to sales pitches, affiliate links, etc.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

With SEM, you were promoting your site by buying adverts that were shown on Search Engine results pages.

PPC is similar in that you buy adverts, but these adverts will be shown on a variety of websites across the world.

As with SEM, the adverts are entered into categories based on keywords, and the cost varies depending on the niche and keywords chosen.

The great benefit of PPC is that you can reach a wide audience while still being quite targeted.

There a lots of advertising networks out there, with perhaps the most well-known being Google’s Adsense.

On the flip side you can make money with these adverts by having them show on your site – if someone clicks the advert you make a small amount of money.

The problem with displaying these adverts to make money is that you really don’t make much per click, so require a large amount of traffic (tens of thousands a month at least) to make any serious money from it.

Email Marketing

Ever since the early days of email people have been using the medium to sell things, and its power has diminished.

Email marketing is used in conjunction with a website as you need a place for people to sign up.

The idea behind email marketing is to offer quality, regular (but not too often) emails that provide the reader with value.

These emails can contain the content or link back to your site with the content on it. By providing regular value, readers are more attentive to sales pitches interspersed into the flow of emails.

Having a mailing list is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, as it doesn’t rely on outside forces like search engines. Once people are on your list you know you have a targeted audience interested in what you have to say (otherwise your list will empty out quite quickly!).

Social Media Marketing

The rise of sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest show clearly that the internet is a place where people want to get together and communicate (or troll…).

These sites and many more like them can be used to engage with people and promote your content.

You can of course try to direct market to people on social media, and one way to do that is with adverts. Only some sites like Facebook have adverts though.

Directly selling on social media is more than likely going to end in tears. It’s better used a lead generation technique: getting people through to your content and then selling/promoting via your site.

However you go about it, social media marketing can reap rewards, simply by the large number of people using each network on a daily basis.

Social Networks by Users

Screenshot from Statista

Video Marketing

Video marketing is really a lead generation system. The idea is to upload valuable content in the form of video to sites like YouTube.

Using the video title, and video description you can add some written content (based on keywords you’re targeting) to aid getting the video found. You can also link back to your site perhaps to follow up content that complements the video.

An added benefit of using YouTube to host your videos is that you can sign up to their advertising network and if your video manages to get a lot of views you could easily make money from the site.

Usually though videos intended to market something don’t do as well with YouTube advertising, when compared to viral videos of cats, breakthrough artists and people who should be nominated for a Darwin Award.

Still, many marketers pull in a lot of traffic via videos they have posted on YouTube.

The Bottom Line

As you can see internet marketing is much more complex than its name suggests. Hopefully you now have a better idea of what it is and what it comprises of.

Of course, this is only the beginning, there’s plenty to learn about how each technique is done and how they interact with one another.

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