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ONLINE MARKETINGTHE McGRAW-HILL 36-Hour Course
By Lorrie Thomas
McGraw-HillCopyright © 2011 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneBUILDING AN ONLINE MARKETING FOUNDATION
Online marketing is like the Wild, Wild West: it has few rules, endless opportunities, and a vast open space. The innumerable possibilities can be exciting, but the geek-speak and limitless choices can sometimes seem overwhelming. Fortunately, online (or web) marketing is also very logical. Online marketing pioneers simply need to take that first step on the wagon train to get started. Journeys go more smoothly with a map and directions. And you have just picked those up.
There is a place for everyone on the web. Online marketing strategy helps define and refine what those roles are. The evolution is fast and ongoing. The rules of web marketing change every day. Smart professionals become continual learners to harness the power of the World Wide Web to brand, build relationships, and boost results. Moving slowly in the wild online marketing world is the equivalent of being at a hard stop.
The good news is that online marketing, compared to other marketing media, is still relatively new. It has little to no barrier to entry, allowing anyone to participate and strike gold at any time. Whether you have some experience with online marketing or none at all, this book will help guide and empower you on all the wild and wonderful ways web marketing can support artistic, technological, and strategic goals.
So, congratulations! You've taken the first, most important step of braving the unknown and forging ahead. Whether you're new to online marketing, need to refine areas of marketing expertise, have been recently assigned the role of online marketer at work, or are in search of a reference to support other goals, this book is your guide.
The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing is going to lay it all out in easy-to-understand terms and actionable steps. The Chinese philosopher Laozi famously wrote, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." You have made the important first step by investing in this book. You will discover the wealth of web marketing possibilities, and learn how to apply them to support specific goals.
HOW THIS BOOK WILL HELP
Making smart strategic online marketing choices happens by understanding the breadth and depth of puzzle pieces you can work with. You make better decisions when you know your options. The art and science of online marketing "clicks" with a strategic (aka a game plan) bridge. The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing will teach you about the various pieces of the online marketing puzzle so you can think critically about how to use online marketing now and in the future. Although every online marketing puzzle will vary, there are three constant online marketing rules that will hold true through continuing evolutions (and revolutions!) of this wild web marketing world.
Online Marketing Rule 1: Online marketing is not something one spends time or money on. It is something that (when done well) becomes an investment.
Online Marketing Rule 2: Online marketing success is not about what you know, it is about what you are open to learning and what you are committed to managing.
Online Marketing Rule 3: Optimal online marketing cannot occur without help. You have conquered all three rules by picking up this book. Don't let it go!
Teaching how to get the biggest web marketing bang for your buck in the shortest amount of time is what The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing is all about. People do not plan to fail, they fail to plan, so the process of learning how to embrace online marketing has been divided into 12 bite-size chapters that can be digested in about three hours each. Add it up and there are 36 action-packed hours that will lead you to web greatness.
Don't think that 36 hours is enough time? Web phenomenon Facebook started with only a few hours of very simple programming (honestly), and now has a valuation in the billions of dollars. Yahoo!, Google, eBay, and IMDb all have similar simple origins. If they can do it, so can you. Approach online marketing with a "start small and snowball" mentality. Compared to Facebook, Yahoo!, Google, eBay, or IMDb, you have an even easier job. They had to invent a business. All you have to do is web-market one. There's no better time than now to get armed and dangerous to tap into the many ways that this is possible.
This chapter, "Building an Online Marketing Foundation," will define what online marketing is and show how the most important computer to use for web success is the three-pound information processor in your skull. After answering the questions in this chapter, you will have a greater edge on how to create and execute an online marketing strategy than someone with a decade of experience or a degree in marketing.
Chapter 2, "Planning the Website," covers how to plan for the most important piece of web marketing an organization can create: their website. Once again, the hard part is the thinking, but this chapter will show you how to break it down.
Chapter 4, "Content Marketing," addresses how to capture eyeballs with content. Often, content does not have to be created from scratch, it can simply be repurposed to create the desired results. A website is today's publishing platform, so you are what you publish. There are sensible content marketing techniques that attract and retain customers without requiring a full encyclopedia of text.
Chapter 5, "Blogging," brings the former world of online journaling into its current purpose and focus. Today, leading authorities (note the word author in the word authority) in every field have blogs. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to start building credibility and increase visibility. This chapter will disclose why blogs work, teach the types of entries that will enhance sales, and share the six steps for blogging success.
Chapter 6, "Social Media Marketing," embraces the social web. Social media may seem overhyped, but it's not a fad. It is effective, and it's here to stay. Learn the valuable impact that social media marketing has, and why it is necessary for business.
Chapter 7, "Web Analytics," dives into how vital web analytics are, and how leveraging the art and science of analytics can boost business. Creating a website without web analytics is like being a stand-up comedian who doesn't know if he's getting any laughs. Learn how to use web analytics data to optimize a site, make informed decisions, and reach goals.
Chapter 8, "Search Engine Optimization," delves into SEO. To many, SEO sounds technical and scary, but there are some very simple strategies that anyone can learn, apply, and integrate to create a big impact on the bottom line. You will also learn how social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) can boost SEO for total web domination.
Chapter 9, "Online Advertising/Search Engine Marketing," teaches quick ways to rocket web marketing into the stratosphere and avoid blasting a crater in your advertising budget. It isn't rocket science, but you need to know the basics to be savvy about online advertising.
Chapter 10, "E-Mail Marketing," covers opt-in e-mail, one of the most effective web marketing tools. Learn best practices and how to create an enticing e-mail that will be opened, read, and generate results. E-mail marketing technologies, how to maintain spam compliance, and ways to streamline e-mail execution for high return on investment are addressed.
Chapter 11, "Online Public Relations," will show how PR can be done in your pajamas. Anyone can engage in online PR to gain media awareness, maximize selling power, and reap search optimization benefits. Online press releases are different from the old paper ones that are now ignored by newspapers. This chapter teaches a dazzling dozen tips for making online PR the secret to success.
Chapter 12, "Managing Multitasking Web Marketing," brings it all together, making all of the pieces of web marketing click with an actionable set of steps and procedures to keep online marketing on track. Online marketing's breadth and depth of options can work together and scale up, boosting a portfolio and multiplying value. Learn how to apply your education and claim your newfound web wisdom (or shall we say "webdom"?).
ONLINE MARKETING DEFINED
Online marketing is simply defined as using the World Wide Web to market products or services. Online marketing is also described as e-marketing, web marketing, and Internet marketing. The term web marketing is technically the most correct description and will be used primarily in this book along with online marketing. The Internet is a system of interconnected computer networks, and online describes a system that is connected (often electronically) to a larger network. The web, an abbreviation for World Wide Web, is a system of interrelated documents contained on the Internet. Online marketing means many things to many people, but at heart, it is about making, keeping, cultivating, and rekindling relationships.
There are five key components to effective marketing:
1. Awareness. Marketing builds awareness. You can have the best service or product in the world, but if nobody knows, what's the point? Awareness can come from many sources including advertising, search optimization, referrals, online marketing, traditional marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, and, in these online days, "word-of-mouse" marketing.
2. Communication/information distribution. Marketing communicates, educates, and informs. Getting a message in front of current and prospective customers is the key to success. Communication can serve as information distribution (pricing, value, competitive value, distinction, product/service information, sharing, directions, videos, testimonials, photos, how to find you, etc.). Communication can also serve as a way to help educate current or prospective customers so they understand the full value that you provide and why they want to do business with you. Communication is a critical component of marketing.
3. Connection. Meaningful marketing makes, builds, and sustains relationships, and all relationships are ignited with a meaningful connection. Successful marketing helps build "know, like, and trust" factors. Buyers of a product or service need to know, like, and trust you, the product(s), service(s), and organization. On the web, connections are shared by positioning expertise, evoking passion, distributing content, using the "show me, don't tell me" power of video, voicing values, and much more. Connections count for most of marketing success.
4. Service. Marketing is about serving before selling. Service is the most commonly overlooked form of online marketing, and can be the most powerful. Customer service helps close new sales and cultivate repeat sales. The best customers are current customers—service support reminds customers why they want to work with your organization. Being a service superstar on the web can yield mega results and leave the competition scratching their heads. Marketing strategy needs to include web use (website, e-mail, social media, and more) for the best customer service.
5. Sales. There is a saying that everyone is in sales. Marketing supports sales whether you're trying to sell yourself for that new job, sell products/services for an organization, or inspire donations or volunteers to support a nonprofit. Think of web marketing as a trusty sidekick that will help build relationships and close sales. To achieve this, all the previous points (awareness, communication, connection, and service) must be part of the marketing puzzle.
The old rules of marketing involved a "one to many" approach. One message was distributed in a scattershot fashion to appeal to as many potential customers as possible. The "sell to the masses and live with the classes" approach still works. However, today online marketing allows for a much more targeted one-to-one relationship. Online marketing is not about the tools themselves (like websites, e-mail technology, blogs, social media, TV, magazine ads, and public relations). It is about how they are used to build relationships. Whether you are in B2B (business-to-business) marketing or B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing, you need to embrace the new rules of P2P (people-to-people) relationship-centric marketing. That is where the money is.
We are living in a time-crunched society that is addicted to immediate gratification. Online marketing serves this "I want it now" mind-set. Everyone under 50, and a lot of people over 50 (who are growing younger while living longer), realizes that the web is the key to immediate information and wish fulfillment. No matter what age your target market is, they are online, so your marketing needs to follow them.
The number of people who use the Internet is staggering!
More than 75 percent of the U.S. population are online, and this number grows every day. (Sites like InternetWorldStats.com have updated statistics.)
Ninety percent of Internet users use search engines to find products, services, or information, according to iProspect.com.
Social media use is on the rise. In 2010, Facebook reported that every 24 hours 175 million active Facebook users (out of over 500 million total users) share about 500 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.).
The growth of the World Wide Web has changed the way we approach marketing. The power of online marketing can be accessed by anyone anywhere, as long as they have a device (computer, phone, TV, car console, tablet, etc.) with an Internet connection. There is no elitism on the web. (Most of the developing world accesses the Internet via their phones.) Relationship tools that were once available only to big businesses with big budgets can now be accessed by anyone at the touch of a button. Benefits of web marketing include:
Twenty-four/seven availability to information and sales and product support
Direct sales (no need for a storefront)
Targeted market, or "riches in the niches" (finding and serving people who want specific products and services with a click of their fingertips)
Competitive advantage (to open new markets, save on operating costs, take calculated risks, get found faster, connect better, and serve/sell harder, leaving competition in the dust)
Customer acquisition and retention (using all five marketing musts mentioned above to gain and keep customers). Our best customers are our current customers.
Savings in costs and human resources (automating processes, using the web to answer customers' questions, streamlining order processing)
Immediate tracking to measure, optimize, and spend money where it counts
It's time to put on your online marketing thinking cap. Remember, a little can-do attitude makes a big difference. Setting goals, having an open mind, keeping your eyes on the prize, and maintaining a positive outlook works. Online marketing is a dynamic, fluid, ongoing piece of the marketing puzzle that will always have imperfections and need improvement.
What you will find is that web marketing is a lot of fun. And more to the point, it can be extremely lucrative. Making good money, connecting with people who count, and investing time and energy into something scalable is rewarding all around.
HOW ONLINE MARKETING WORKS
The key goal of online marketing is to maximize relationships, starting with increasing awareness. Online marketing, compared to other marketing media, has the lowest cost and boasts the highest potential to brand, build, and boost business. There is no right way to approach web marketing. Application varies based on target market, goals, management resources, strategy, previous history, competition, and organizational distinctions.
Online marketing methods can include online advertising, online PR, paid search, search engine optimization (SEO), e-mail marketing, social media, and affiliate marketing. A mix of methods frequently creates the maximum impact. Search engine optimization takes time, but the earlier you start, the sooner you'll see results. SEO is a mix of site architecture, use of content, linking, frequency of content, and popularity. If you are with a local organization, improve your search results by adding a local listing to Bing, Yahoo!, Google, and some online address directories to achieve great exposure for no cost.
Excerpted from ONLINE MARKETING by Lorrie Thomas Copyright © 2011 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of McGraw-Hill. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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