Internet marketing is a science, and an art, that has come of age. There are timeless strategies and tactics that will likely always work. There are those, of course, that are just plain silly or that haven’t been proven. The following 13 Internet marketing strategies are strategies that have been used over and over again by countless thousands of marketers online and that still work and will probably always work:
- Search engine optimization – SEO is the most basic of Internet marketing tactics. There is a reason is still works.
- Pay per click marketing – PPC can usually deliver more immediate results than SEO, but I’d rank it as a very close second to SEO in terms of must-use strategies.
- Blogging – It took a while for blogging to catch on en masse, but now that it has you can add this to your Internet marketing arsenal.
- E-mail marketing – Before there was PPC or blogging, there was e-mail marketing. This timeless strategy has proven itself so many times that it’s not even questionable any more.
- Link building – Link building is usually considered an SEO tactic, but there’s more to link building than simply increasing your search engine optimization benefits. That’s only part of the equation. The other part is finding where the traffic is.
- Guest authoring – Be a guest author on someone else’s website or blog.
- Video marketing – This one is late to the party, but it sure has made a big splash. I think video marketing is the new article marketing.
- Article marketing – Article marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be, but it’s still good.
- Build niche-specific microsites – After you’ve tested your keywords on you main website by building single web pages around them, take your best ones and create a new site around those keywords.
- Directory submissions – Believe it or not, people still do go through online directories. There are some good directories and some bad ones. Stick to the prominent ones that are general in nature and those within your niche. Don’t pay for an upgraded listing unless the directory is well trafficked by people in your niche.
- Forums – Forums are well trafficked and a good forum can send you loads of traffic to your website. This is still one of the best ways to market a Web business.
- Social Networking – Social networking has taken off like a rocket. Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are great ways to meet people, make connections and promote your website.
- Social bookmarking – Submit your best links to the most popular social bookmarking sites and watch your traffic soar.
Try these 13 Internet marketing strategies. If I’ve left any out, share them here with our readers. What ways do you use to market your products and services online?
Competitive intelligence, if done correctly (and legally), can give you an edge on your competition that will make it more difficult for them to stay on top. But you’ve got to have actionable intelligence and accurate intelligence. The following three free tools are great resources that you can use to spy on your competition and maintain a competitive edge.
- Google Alerts – This is perhaps the best free competitive intelligence tool on the Internet. Simply add the keywords you want to track (the competition’s brand name, company name, names of executive officers and top keywords) and you’ll get e-mail alerts every time those words are mentioned in online content that has been indexed by Google.
- SEOQuake – SEOQuake is an SEO toolbar that you can download for free and use on your competition. Just visit their website and you’ll know all their important keywords, their PageRank, Alexa ranking, traffic counts and backlink counts. Anything that is important to know about your competition is well within your grasp.
- The Competition’s Blogs – Have you subscribed to your competition’s blogs? Why not? Let them tell you in their own words what is important to know about them. There’s no better way to keep tabs on what the competition is up to that to read their own marketing materials.
These three free competitive intelligence tools should not be overlooked. Add them to your spying arsenal today.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s a developer tool that allows website developers to make websites that interact with other sites in special ways. Many of the top websites online allow website developers to use APIs to give their websites special characteristics and features. Some of the sites that use APIs are:
And that’s a small list. There are thousands of other websites online that offer APIs to developers for use on their websites.
There are two ways that you can use an API for your website design and development. The first way is to take an API from a company with features that you’d like to add to your website and incorporate those features into your site using the API. For instance, you can take the Twitter API and create a feature on your site to allow content to automatically post on Twitter when you create it, or to allow your site visitors to comment on your site and automatically post their comments to Twitter.
Another way to use APIs is to create one for your site so that others who want to add unique features of the site you designed can incorporate those into their sites. This benefits you because other website owners will be sending you traffic from their websites.
When it comes to web design, you are no longer relegated to a simple HTML site with no interactivity. APIs can make your site more Web 2.0 and interactive.
With all the talk about Facebook growing into the biggest website online and developing into a good social media marketing vehicle for businesses (but only if you get a Facebook fan page), you’d think it’s the best thing since green tea. Maybe it is. But will make your marketing campaign go viral?
Let’s just lay one thing out on the table right now. Any social website could make your marketing campaign go viral, but not if you don’t have the right stuff. So what’s the right stuff?
Your content has to have mass appeal. If you serve a very niche market and your content appeals to that niche market well, but not so well to any other market then your content won’t go viral. Even on Facebook. Simply being on the most trafficked website online is not enough to make your content go viral.
Another thing you need is to get your content in front of the right people. Simply sharing your content with ten friends hoping they will push your content to the top of the viral chain isn’t going to cut it. You need to get your content in front of the Facebook movers and shakers. Until you do that, it won’t go viral.
That’s not to say that you should spam the people with the most friends. But you might send them a private message asking if they’ll take a look at your content and share it if they like it.
Viral marketing is about making the right friends in the right places and sharing the right stuff. You can do that on Facebook or anywhere there might be people who will really dig what you have to offer.
As a business, you can’t have a Facebook profile. In fact, many businesses have been banned from Facebook or had their profiles deleted because they tried marketing themselves through Facebook’s profile channels. That’s not good.
What you can do is, and should do, is start a Facebook fan page. But before you do that you should start a Facebook profile.
If that sounds contradictory, forgive me. It’s not intended to. What I mean is you should start a Facebook profile for your personal name. Then you can become a fan of your own Facebook fan page for your business. This is your two-pronged Facebook approach.
Your Facebook fan page for your business can be jazzed up a bit with videos, audio, widgets, photos and other cool features. You can promote it through your personal Facebook profile and through other channels as well – even Twitter and social bookmarking. Instead of risking your profile being deleted as a spam tool, start your own Facebook fan page. It’s the way to go.
Google is starting a new service called Google Editions where it will publish and sell e-books. Consider this:
Anyway, Jessica E. Vascellaro and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg reported afterward that Google will try to establish deals with publishers, and then, “Google says its new service . . . will allow users to buy digital copies of books they discover through its book-search service.” Which should put Google into competition with Amazon and Apple.
If Google is going to compete with Amazon then it will have to do so on equal terms. That means it will have to offer previews and sample chapters for free in order to sell books. Publishers will do everything they can to ensure that their books are found in the search engines and through social media outlets. What ways could they do that?
Well, one obvious way is through SEO content. Imagine a book introduction being written with the search engine algorithms in mind, anticipating its use as the free preview. I think this is something that Google could actually promote and condone in order to court publishers at co-marketers in its digital e-book sales outlet.
What about you? Do you think this scenario is feasible?
Search engine marketing has as many definitions as there are marketers, and most of them are right. But what hardly gets talked about among search engine marketers is that SEM is more than just selling your stuff for a profit. You’ve got to do more than attract audiences with keywords. You are selling benefits.
No one cares about your product. No one cares about your company. No one cares about you. They want to know what you can do for them.
The question is, how can you do that with search engine marketing?
First, the two arms of SEM:
- Pay per click advertising
- Search engine optimization (organic search)
So how do you sell benefits through these two primary channels?
With PPC you’ve got to sell your benefits to get a click. Your goal is to get people to your landing page and then sell the benefits of your product there.
With organic search marketing, you use your landing page optimization to get rank your web page, build links to it, drive traffic to it and sell your benefits to your visitors to close the sale.
Search engine marketing really follows the principles of traditional marketing – sell the benefits. You just do it with modern technology.
No reputation management campaign is complete without Google, particularly Google Profiles.
So what is Google Profiles? In a word, it’s your hub on the Google index. Whenever someone Google’s your name they’ll be presented with your profile at the bottom of the search results for your name – along with the profiles of anyone who shares your name. So why is it such a great tool? It isn’t just because it shows up on the SERP for your personal name.
There’s more to Google Profiles than simply listing your name and showing your latest passport photo. You can also include the links to all the places online where you can be found. You can link to your Facebook profile, YouTube channel, your Twitter feed, all of your websites and any place else online where you are likely to be found. If it’s important and it’s about you then you can link to it. That’s what makes Google Profiles such a great reputation management tool.
If you aren’t using Google Profiles right now for reputation management then I highly recommend that you do.
First, realize that nothing works if you don’t use it. Secondly, if you understand that rising in popularity on the social networks is a game of give and take then you’re off on the right foot. It isn’t so much about the marketing as it is about the social and the media. The idea is to build relationships. When you do that with a focus on what is good for others will also be good for you then others will like you – er, I mean, ‘Like’ you.
The Facebook Like button has the potential to be the most popular reputation management tool to date. You simply place it on your website’s pages and let your visitors do the Liking. If they truly like what they see then they’ll help you promote it.
Here’s how that works in your favor (besides the obvious polishing of the ego): Those Likes will appear in each user’s public settings on their Facebook pages. Their visitors will see you and that could translate into more visitors for your website. As you gain more Likes, you’ll gain more prominence within Facebook. That, in turn, will push you up further into the search engine rankings – that is, your profile or fan page will move up in the rankings. That will also lead to more traffic and, potentially, more Likes. The Like button could actually be a viral reputation management tool, the likes of which has never been seen before.
Of course, as I said, if you don’t use it then it won’t work.
It’s almost common knowledge now that Google will only rank a couple of pages per domain for the same keyword. That means if you want to dominate the search results pages for a keyword then you’ve got to have more than one domain. But how many is enough?
For reputation management purposes, you’ve got to think a little bit deeper than keywords and SERPs. What you want are search results positions. But not necessarily the top 10.
Your reputation is your name. And your company name. So you aren’t concerned about generic keyword rankings when thinking about reputation management. You are thinking about your name and brand. And, remember, you want search results positions. Not websites.
Sure, websites can help you achieve rankings. But you can only have one domain name with yourname.com. After that, it’s a matter of variation and it would just look silly to have a string of domain names that used variations of your name and that basically repurposed all the same old information about you that no one else wants to read. So let’s get creative.
First and foremost, you do want one domain name that includes your name in it. It doesn’t have to be much. A few pages. Maybe a blog that you write to once in a while. Make this your reputation hub. Include a CV, some educational and professional history, maybe even some personal information. It’s a place for people who want to know a little bit about you to come to for information. If it is for your company then make it a company reputation hub.
After your own domain name and website, start utilizing the various social media sites. Stick with the big ones and be active in them. But don’t overestimate how much time you can spend working them. With just one hour a day you can be active in the top 5:
- Your industry’s top social network
If you’re active enough on these sites and you make your real name (or brand) your profile username then you will likely rank pretty high for your reputation management term on each site. That’s 5 good positions right there.
There are plenty of other reputation management strategies to add to this basic structure, but the key is to manage your reputation across the entire web and not just in the search engines or on your own sites. Make everything you do count for something.