What Is Internet Marketing?
Before one can understand what an internet marketing agency does, we have to define ‘Internet ‘Marketing.’ Seems straightforward, right? Marketing… on the internet. But no, there’s a lot more to it than that.
In this day and age where technology floods our everyday lives, the marketing that we use has also transitioned to be based in technology as well.
We spend hours every day on our smartphones, on our computers, and on the internet. Marketers see that as opportunity. They are going to take advantage of the attention that we give to our personal technology. Traditional Marketing just doesn’t work anymore. Think about it – how many billboards do you look at? How about magazine ads? That’s what I thought.
Internet marketing is commonly referred to as digital marketing.
To put it in a nutshell – digital marketing is how a business, big or small, presents itself to its online audience. There are several channels through which to do this – which I’ll run through later – and Digital Marketing Agencies (like PDM) have their hands in all of them.
How Does An Agency Play Into This?
Great question! Glad you asked. A Digital Agency has channel-specific experts who are responsible for coming up with creative strategies that increase online marketing success. In order to understand more of what the experts at an internet marketing agency do and their role in the marketing funnel, you need to understand what each channel is responsible for.
By looking at different types of digital marketing, you will see how an agency plays a significant role in optimizing efficiency and success for brands because of the specialized knowledge and cross-department collaboration that they’re able to leverage in their efforts.
Let’s start with the heart and soul of nearly every digital marketing campaign – Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the art and science of creating and updating websites to be as in-line with Google Search’s algorithm as possible. It’s very technical, but SEO is great addition to any online marketing effort because it’s usually lower cost, scales easily, and sets up a site for long-term success.
Psychology plays very strongly into SEO, just like any other marketing channel. People are more likely to trust search results than paid marketing because the higher a result is on a search engine, the more people that have trusted and viewed the link. Google’s algorithm is out-of-this-world complicated and it’s always being updated, but we generally follow 1 rule: if it’s better for the overall user experience, it’s good for SEO.
Per my point earlier, one downside to SEO is that it’s very technical and can be difficult to get the hang of as a rookie. It’s tough to understand the technical heavy-lifting that needs to be done during an SEO campaign, which is why most SEOs spend several months if not years as an ‘apprentice’ of sorts. The people that get it get it, and it’s not something that can be taught with a textbook.
SEO also takes quite a bit of time to start turning around results. It’s not like you can optimize the site, flip a switch, and all of the sudden you’re position one. Google wants to see a consistent effort to increase the quality of a site’s user experience over time. Let your foot off the gas, even just a bit, and you could see rankings start to slip.
Google’s bots will crawl your website and figure out exactly what the website is for and the context it belongs in. Yeah, their AI is that good. It’ll link your site to certain search terms/keywords and decide where your site belongs on the search rankings using a combination of many different criteria… but back to my point above, it’s all about user experience at the end of the day.
Search Engine Marketing And Pay-Per-Click
Search engine marketing (SEM) also known as Pay-per-click (PPC) is almost always a great compliment to SEO efforts. Unlike SEO, the effect of your efforts are much more direct and measurable. In a nutshell: you create ads that look like search results and bid on keywords in an auction to allow your ad to show for certain searches. If someone clicks, you pay Google directly for sending traffic to your site.
Most marketing agencies use Google AdWords or Bing Ads for their SEM campaigns. You’ve probably noticed these ads at the top of nearly every search you perform. They’re the first 2-4 search “results” you’ll see. Google’s designed their ads to look as close to an organic result as possible so more people are inclined to click.
Related: What Every CMO Should Know ABout PPC
SEM/PPC also works well because it is triggered by keywords that you can directly pay for. There’s no contextual basis for the results – you say “I want my ad to show for this search” and if you set your bid high enough, it’ll show up. SEM keywords are arguably more important because the competition of keywords drives the price a company pays per click. Proper keyword mapping is the lifeblood of any PPC account. The price can range from 50 cents to nearly a hundred dollars, so, this clearly can become quite costly for a company if not done right.
This is another highly technical field of Digital, so it’s important to vet your SEM manager well. It’s almost too easy to waste money if you don’t know what you’re doing in AdWords/Bing, so make sure whoever you’re entrusting your ad account to knows exactly what they’re doing.
Content marketing is used to bolster companies’ websites to make them more knowledgeable on their product. The idea behind content marketing is that a company sharing information makes them seem more credible and relevant to a consumer.
In addition, a proper content strategy is vital to the success of any SEO campaign. As I said earlier, SEO is all about making the user experience as valuable as possible plus providing Google with the proper context as to what your business does. Content kills both birds with one stone: engaging content is great for a user experience and Google’s algorithm loves compelling content. If you’ve ever heard “Content is King,” this is why.
There are different types of content writing, one type is transactional/promotional content.Transactional/promotional content is usually on the main page of a company’s site and it should be focused and relevant, make sure to stay away from “fluff” information.
Informational content is another type of content marketing and it focuses on larger lengths of content and usually is on a company’s blog. This should be valuable and educational for most consumers (which Google loves!).
Informational content is about providing customers with information and answers to questions that they may have. It is not about selling your product, but you want to make sure you nurture them to that conversion decision. If you have good informational content, it should strengthen your brand leading to higher trust between your business and consumer.
Internet marketing agencies work to create this content. They come up with plans to build content, think about strategies for answering potential questions, and they also spend a great deal of time writing the creative content that will hook people into their websites.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing has been one of the biggest game changers in online marketing. It is marketing that utilizes platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter to name a few.
Social (as we call it) is great because it allows a company to engage with its customers as well as to communicate with them and to grow their brand online. It allows a company to reach a large scope of people in a very short amount of time. Social is also essential for gaining customer feedback. Companies are able to post about their products with consumers being able to directly comment on their posts.
Some companies also want to respond to the reactions of consumers, and digital marketing agencies are usually the ones behind the screen responding to your questions, comments, and concerns that the average consumer posts on social media.
Additionally, all social sites allow companies to pay for advertisements that will reach millions of users. These ads’ strength lies in the targeting. We’re able to laser-target users based on interest, purchase behaviors, and other categories laid out in each advertising engine.
Nearly every marketing agency has their hands on Social Ads because of how effective they can be. Nearly everyone in the 1st world is on social media and it allows us to reach customers who might never have been exposed to the brand.
Email marketing is the old guy in the room when it comes to internet marketing, but is one of the most effective channels for direct response marketing (eliciting action out of a user). Compelling emails that are sent directly to a consumer’s inbox can work wonders for closing a deal at the bottom of the funnel.
It’s considered a pillar because it creates a direct link for consumers to a product.
Internet marketing agencies can discover essential information that elevates email marketing to a more efficient level. They can use metrics to discover the best times to send out emails, the best content and graphics to use in the emails, and the best ways to link sites to emails.
Email marketing might be one of the easiest forms of digital marketing to pick up, but one of the most difficult to master. If you’re vetting an agency for email marketing services, ask to see their track record of success.
Duties Of An Internet Marketing Agency
That about covers the different services a marketing agency can offer, but how does it look in the day-to-day?
With any client, we first sit down and outline a strategy. If it’s a client that’s only paying for SEO services, we’ll create an SEO strategy. If they’re all over the place, we create what’s called a multi-channel strategy. One of the best things about how Power Digital handles work is that no matter what, we’re always thinking about the other channels. While a client may not be paying for Social Media services, our content team is writing blogs, etc. with Social Media sharing in mind. This intertwining creates a team that will work together on creating the best marketing solutions for your company.
If a business wanted to effectively handle all of this in-house, they’d need to hire a specialist in for each channel. For most business, that’s just not viable. Many companies we work with have 1 person trying to wear 4 or 5 different hats, unsuccessfully. That’s where the agency comes in. Digital marketing agencies do the work for their clients to strategize and a team to follow it so that their client does not have to.
Digital marketers want their clients to focus on creating the best product possible, not about worrying about marketing the project. By hiring a digital agency, a company is delegating an important role that will ultimately be more lucrative for the company (if you pick a solid agency, that is).
Not only is it the job of an internet marketing agency to create a strategy and to create a team, but it is also their job to optimize.
Optimization is the core of digital. No matter what channel you’re advertising in, you need to be testing and optimizing. I can’t stress how important this is. Digital advertisers have access to so much data. You can know with absolute certainty what ad copy works best, which email has the highest response rate, and what piece of content is the most engaging. By making sure that only the best practices are being used, internet marketing agencies are able to see where to most efficiently spend money. At the end of the day, time is money and money talks! So, making sure a company is spending money efficiently and receiving results is a key component of the marketing agency’s job.
It’s one thing knowing which parts of a campaign worked best (i.e. the most compelling piece of ad copy), but making changes based on the results of that test is something different. You can have all the data in the world, but it’s absolutely useless unless you’re acting on it. Any digital advertiser worth their salt will constantly be testing and iterating.
When deciding how to choose an internet marketing agency, ask to see their results. All respectable digital marketing companies will have metrics and analytics of their results for you, the client, to see.
Internet marketing companies are going to be around for the next foreseeable future, as long as we have the internet that is (so probably a very long time!). The field is constantly changing and the people within the companies will be constantly learning as well.
Digital agencies marry the analytical side of the brain with the creative side. Every campaign requires out-of-the-box thinking combined with a scientist’s analytical eye. The companies are comprised of teams that all specialize in different areas. Each channel is incredibly complicated and ever-changing. Even though it may all seem confusing, digital marketing teams are here to break down information, analyze, and create strategies for companies to make high returns on investment.