Back in 1994 after you created a website for your business, marketing was fairly simple. Generally you would make changes to your HTML code for search engine optimization and for the most part promoted your website through offline methods. These may have included business cards, letterhead, print advertising and other such methods. Whether or not your site was listed on the only search engine, Yahoo, at the time was purely based on how well you optimized our web pages. If you did a good job then multiple pages of your site would be listed consecutively for a search.
Twelve years later in 2006 the entire perspective of marketing your site on the web has become a science requiring a degree. Although, we are all eager to market our website on the web we are somewhat unclear how to accomplish this task through a maze of policies set by the Big 3 search engines - Google, MSN and Yahoo. Most businesses would first seek out professional advice. In the process of seeking professional Internet Marketing advice, your story may look something like this.
"By now I had heard about pay-per-click, something called Ad Sense, link exchanges, banner advertising and it all sounds quite confusing. After all as a business owner, my forte is to run my company, not try and figure out how to market a website on the Internet. As I seek out professional advice I get quite a variety of different stories. One person calls themselves Internet marketer and the only thing they provide is Pay-Per-Click advertising campaigns. The next person I speak to also consider their business to be in Internet Marketing, yet the only service provided is Search Engine Optimization. Even that term was somewhat vaguely defined to me. I continue to hear about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but it seems to vary from changes to our website to advertising on the web. I am most definitely puzzled at this point. Can anyone describe what Internet Marketing is actually about?"
Advertising and Marketing has always been handled by professional firms that have college educated individuals and understand the difference between Advertising and Marketing. In case you are wondering, here are the definitions of Advertising and Marketing.
- Marketing is the process or technique of promotion, selling and distributing a product or service.
- Advertising is to make your product or service publicly known; an announcement to call public attention by emphasizing qualities to arouse a desire to purchase.
One of the primary issues of advertising and marketing on the Internet is that you may not necessarily reach someone educated in the field of advertising and marketing. Instead it is someone that has educated themselves about a particular area of Internet Marketing. For instance they may have specialized in Affiliate Marketing or Pay-Per-Click campaigns while another individual may know more about making changes to your website for search engine optimization. Currently these types of services are fragmented and they do require someone with the appropriate skills to manage an entire Internet marketing campaign.
If we take a look at all the different areas of Internet marketing you will find the following in your list:
Research, Analysis, Planning and Strategy
We need to research key phrases and look at the data to determine our title and description.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
I believe it is safe to say that SEO is not advertising on the web. SEO is strictly modifications to your HTML code and website. Making sure your website is HTML validated, density checks, the keywords, phrases, content, alt descriptions, anchor titles and so on are in place for the entire website.
This is the actual process of promotion as the definition of marketing was described earlier. Some would call this Natural Propagation Marketing, others will call it Organic marketing. With this form of marketing you can rest assured the shelf life of the efforts put forth can be measured in years.
Although, the shelf life of Internet advertising can be measured in seconds and can hemorrhage a business financially, there are three areas of Internet advertising. The first would be to utilize an Internet Advertising Network (IAN) to submit a variety of banners through out a variety of websites in order to narrow your advertising to an area with the most response. Another area is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns such as Google Ad Sense or Yahoo Search Marketing. Lastly, you may consider direct advertising on websites that you have found to be of value to your business with high page ranking.
Management & Reporting
It is necessary to monitor all the various activities you are pursuing on the web. Internet marketing gives us the ability to measure almost all aspects of our advertising and marketing campaigns with the push of a button. You will want to keep an eye on your website statistics, check your Google page rank, your Alexa traffic ranking, and your link popularity overall to name a few.
If we consider all the various parts that are required for proper business Internet marketing, you will find the industry moving towards consolidation in the future. Equally, we will find that advertising and marketing on the web will eventually fall back to educated professionals who not only understand advertising and marketing, but will now include their education in Internet marketing as well.