Internet marketing has been around for a long time. Actually, internet marketing has probably been around as long as the internet has been around. It has been known by many names. Internet marketing, digital marketing, online marketing and maybe a few other names.
An easy definition for internet marketing is …
Internet Marketing is any marketing than is done over the internet and uses internet-based tools and services.
One of the biggest challenges businesses have when trying to figure out where to get started with internet marketing is that there are lots of things to consider. And I’m not just talking about which internet marketing activity to chose from but which one makes the most sense to start with and which tools you should utilize to implement your internet marketing strategy.
Marketing is a crucial part of any business and internet marketing is no different.
Implementing internet marketing should be a well thought out process that aligns with your current business situation and your long term business plans.
Before you start any internet marketing activity you need to plan things out properly.
Define Your Internet Marketing Strategy
The first thing you need to do is define your overall goals and objectives for your business. What do you want your business to achieve in the next 1 year, 3 years and 5 years?
For example, if you are a realtor, how many real estate transactions do you want to do? Do you want to work with buyers or sellers? Are you interested in dealing with first time home buyers or seasoned home owners? Do you want to deal with high end expensive properties? Do you want to specialize in country homes, vacation homes, etc? Do you want to specialize in a specific part of the city?
If you read this last paragraph and said yes to everything, then you are doomed for failure. There is an expression in marketing …
if you are marketing to everyone, then you are marketing to no one.
Just like any other business, you need to specialize in one specific area of real estate.
You should always define the “avatar” of your ideal customer. For example, if you want to focus on first time home buyers, your ideal customer might be a married couple who are 25 to 30 years old with 1 child who are both working but currently renting and living in an apartment. Together, their annual income is $100K. This description of your ideal customer will help you in your internet marketing efforts.
Once you decide on your area of expertise, you will need to decide on how many transactions you want to achieve. How many homes you want sell, how many buyers you want represent, etc.
The next part of your planning can focus on the type of marketing you want to implement. The answer to this question will also depend on your current business situation. To answer this question, let’s look at the different internet marketing components. The following list of internet marketing activities will follow the diagram in this section.
1. a SITE (full site)
Before you start any type of internet activity, you have to make sure you have a fully functional, well designed website. This will be your online presence. Too many people make the mistake of building their own web sites and do a very poor job at it. I know I am guilty of doing just that. Now I use professional designers and professional internet marketers that I have on my team. I’ll stick to what I do best. You don’t want to start any other internet marketing activity until you have a proper website.
Your website should be a strong reflection of your brand.
This includes everything from the colours on your site, the fonts you use, your logo and the overall messaging. There are so many web sites out there that have been built from the same template and have the same look and feel as a lot of other sites used by their competitors. How does that help build your brand?
Your web site should contain a minimum amount of information including a home page, contact information, some information about who you are and what you do. Your site also needs to have a way for your site visitors to contact you, through your email, phone number, etc. I see a lot of companies who don’t even list their email on their site. This is wrong. Don’t make it hard for people to get in touch with you.
1.b SITE (mini site)
A mini site is a 1 page site specifically designed for 1 purpose and 1 purpose only. Usually, that purpose is to capture emails from people being directed to the mini site using a PAID advertising activity.
You have probably heard a mini site referred to as a “landing page” or a “squeeze page”. It’s called a squeeze page because the only thing the site is meant to do is squeeze the email from your visitor. Either they give you their email or you leave.
You will probably need several landing pages, one for each of your PAID advertising campaign and for your other offline campaigns.
If you are new to internet marketing than you probably aren’t getting any leads or customers. You have to build an awareness first. Having a nice web site will not guarantee people will find you. In fact, I can almost guarantee people won’t find you if you don’t do any other internet marketing.
A PAID advertising activity is all about paying for some ads and having those ads direct people to your SITE, ideally your landing page mini site. There are several ways to pay for advertising on the internet.
The most common PAID advertising approaches are:
1. Google Adwords
For the longest time, this has been the most common PAID advertising activity. It was really the only game in town. These are the ads you see when you are searching in Google. These ads appear at the top and bottom and to the right of your search results page whenever you do a search in Google.
The nice thing about these ads is that you only have to pay Google, whenever someone clicks on the ad so you can eventually build up a bit of an awareness without having to pay for it.
2. Facebook Ads
Another popular type of PAID advertising activity is Facebook Ads. These have started to become more and more popular. These are the Ads you will occasionally see in your Facebook Feed or displayed on the right hand side of your Facebook feed.
The same as Google Adwords, you can chose to only pay when people click on your ads. You may also choose to pay for ad impressions and ad interactivity, such as likes, comments and clicks. The advantage of Facebook Ads is that they can be more targeted.
3. Banner Ads
Banner ads have been around for a long time and are fast becoming less and less popular. People are becoming “ad blind” to these banner ads and don’t click on them as often as they used to.
Banner Ads are the ads you see displayed on other people’s web sites. You pay to have your ad displayed on their site. You usually pay for a period of time that your ad is displayed. For example, you might pay so much a month to have your banner ad displayed. When people click on them, you should direct them to a specific landing page, designed specifically for that banner ad.
Search marketing is about getting your site found when people are interested in what you have to offer. They are looking for information related to the service your business offers. There are many things you can do to increase the likelihood that people will find you, but it takes time. But once you have a good SEARCH strategy in place it stays around forever.
There are different things you can do depending if your company is a local company or a national company. A national company will focus more on keywords and will look at increasing their organic traffic. A local company will look at increasing their overall presence by using local listing sites, such as Google Business, Yelp, etc.
To help people find your business you will need to create some articles for people to read and you will need to post those articles in various places outside of your site. These articles will link back to your site. This is known as off-page optimization.
There must also be a minimal amount of articles written and posted on your site. These articles need to be optimized for the keywords that are particular to the type of customer you are trying to attract. That is why it is so important to focus your business on a particular customer. For example, a keyword string might be “first time home buyers in Crossville Tennessee”. You would then write an article that is keyword optimized for that particular keyword.
There are many other things you can do to properly optimize your website for SEARCH activities and these are very technical in nature. The challenge with a SEARCH activity is that is can take a long time for your to start getting found by the Google search engine. It can take as long as 6 to 9 months before people will actually find your site using the keywords you identify and start optimizing for.
In the meantime, it’s important to implement other Internet Marketing strategies, such as PAID activities or SOCIAL activities, as these activities can generate leads a lot quicker, while you are waiting for your SEARCH strategy to start working. SEARCH is a long term strategy.
PAID is an immediate strategy. SOCIAL is a medium term strategy.
SOCIAL marketing is all about building relationships with your followers by interacting with them on a regular basis. The challenge is which social platform do you chose. Here are some of the more popular ones and the ones I think are more beneficial to small businesses.
Facebook is still the number 1 social media platform out there. It has the most users and more people spend time on Facebook than any other social media platform. Facebook is easy to post.
For example, as a realtor, the easiest thing to do with Facebook is to post pictures of any properties you have listed for sale. You can also post articles about any industry trends related to real estate or mortgages rates, etc.
You can also setup your own Facebook Page that showcases your specialty and focuses on your ideal customer. Maybe a Facebook Page that caters to “First Time Home Buyers in _________”. Once you have a Page make it public and invite all your friends.
Twitter is probably the next most active social platform. The nice thing about twitter is that you can send “tweets” out more often and people won’t mind. These are short quick messages. You can also post links back to your blog posts, videos of your latest listings, open houses, etc.
Linkedin in is the “business” social media platform. Most activity that happens on Linkedin is related to business. You can also start a Linkedin Group and invite your friends. How about a “First Time Home Buyers for Los Angeles” group. You would be the owner of the group and, by default, the recognized expert since you are the owner.
There are a several other social platforms that you may want to investigate depending on your specific strategy. The biggest challenge with a SOCIAL strategy is that it is very time consuming. Also, try not to post things that will contradict your brand or confuse your personal and professional lives.
A CONTENT strategy is all about producing content that really helps identify you as an authority on your topic. You should provide content that really adds value to your subscribers. This includes such value-added content as long form blog posts, eBooks, informative videos, webinars and podcasts, and other forms of content. These types of content are called content pillars and are sometimes the basis of all your other content because you would be referring to the content pillar in the other content pieces.
Your CONTENT strategy will also help build your brand. You can use the various pieces of content to collect emails to be used in your EMAIL strategy. For example, enter your email and we will send you this free eBook for “First Time Home Buyers”.
The goal of your EMAIL strategy is to share your content and information with your subscribers. Every time you create a new piece of good content you want to make sure everyone reads it so you send it out to everyone on your emails list.
The following are the key components of your email strategy:
Your list is the collection of all the emails that you have gathered through your various campaigns. Each time someone gives you their email in exchange for one of your quality content pieces, you get to keep their email and add it to your list. Every time you create a new piece of content, you can share it with your list.
An autoresponder is a piece of software that allows you to automatically control the distribution of information to your list.
For example, every time you create a new blog entry on your blog, you can have the autoresponder send out a link to everyone on your list. You can also set up a series of emails that can be sent out to your list on a pre-defined schedule. For example, every time someone signs up to your list, you can have a set of “welcome” emails get sent to your list on predefined days.
You can use your autoresponder to send out a series of emails as part of a campaign that you would setup to announce a new product launch or a new listing. These emails would be tied together in a campaign with each email telling a specific part of the campaign story and ultimately leading to an email that asks for the sale.
The goal of the BRAND strategy is to identify you as the ultimate leader in your field. You as an influencer. People will want to do business with you because they recognize your name and your are someone they know, like and trust. I can’t tell you the number of times I have run into people who know me and respect me because they had read my books. I have raised millions of dollars as a result of my publishing my books.
The ultimate internet marketing strategy is to create a significant piece of content that would distinguish you from your competition for your specialty. The most common BRAND strategy would be to write and publish a full length book. This is the top tier product we offer at Peller Media. Another type of content would be to host a Weekly Video or Audio Seminar.
Whatever you chose, it has to be a killer piece of content and a real differentiator. It will be your best marketing piece.
The final thing that needs to be said about implementing your internet marketing strategy is that you need to measure everything. You need to know where traffic is coming from; how many times people visit your site; how many times they open an email you send them; what landing pages produce the best results and much much more. The key to measurement is that you will learn something about what you are doing and make the necessary changes to make it even better and to improve the performance of your specific internet marketing activities.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about internet marketing, but were afraid to ask. There’s a lot of other things you can get involved in and a lot of software and tools you can use. What I just covered, are the components that I think will provide you with the most value when trying to implement an overall internet marketing strategy, specifically if you are a real estate agent or any small business owner.
Jim is the owner and founder of Peller Media Digital Marketing. He has been running businesses for over 20 years. He has raised millions of dollars using various online marketing techniques. He is the author of 4 books.
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