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 modern era where technology is in every aspect of our everyday lives, the marketing that we use has also transitioned to be rooted in technology as well.
For example, we spend numerous hours every day on our smartphones and on the internet. As an Internet marketer, I see that as opportunity that just can’t be passed up. Naturally we are going to take advantage of the attention that we give to our personal technology. Simply put, Traditional Marketing just doesn’t work any longer. Just think about it, how many billboards do you look at while on your daily commute? How about magazine ads – if you even read them anymore? Notice the difference? I do and so does everyone else that’s connected online.
Internet marketing is typically referred to as digital marketing.
Basically, digital marketing is how businesses, both big and small, are able to present itself to its online target audience. There are several channels through which to do this and Digital Marketing Agencies have their hands in just about all of them.
How Does an Internet Marketing Agency Play into This?
A Digital Marketing Agency has channel-specific experts who are responsible for developing 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 internet marketing agency plays a huge role in optimizing efficiency and success for brands because of the specialized skill-sets and cross-department collaboration that they’re able to leverage in their efforts.
So let’s jump into the different specialities within an Internet Marketing Agency and the first one we will start with is cornerstone of nearly every digital marketing campaign – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of crafting websites to be as in-line with Google Search’s algorithm as possible. At the core it’s a very technical process, but SEO is great addition to any online marketing effort because it’s typically at a lower cost, can scale up easily, and provides a site with long-term success potential.
Psychology plays an important role in SEO, just like it does with any other marketing channel. People are more likely to trust search results than paid ads marketing because the higher a result is on a search engine results page (SERP), the more people that have trusted and viewed the link as an authority on the subject. Google’s algorithm is incredibly complicated and it’s always being updated and changed which makes it hard to pinpoint exactly what will work a month, year or even a day from now. However, at Marketing Media Wizard we generally follow 1 principle: if it’s better for the overall user experience, it’s best for SEO.
One downside to SEO is that it’s very technical and can be difficult to get the hang of it as a business owner that’s not constantly involved. It’s tough to understand the technical grunt work that needs to be done during an SEO campaign, which is why you’d want to contract with an SEO internet marketing agency. The people that get it get it, and it’s not something that can be taught with a textbook, webinar, 0r YouTube mini-series.
SEO also takes quite a bit of time to start seeing results. It’s not like you can optimize the site, flip a switch on, and all of the sudden your site’s position is number one on the search results pages. Google wants to see a consistent SEO effort to increase the quality of a site’s user experience over an extended amount of time. If you break this discipline of consistency, even just a little bit, and you could see your sites 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. It’ll link your site to certain search phrases/keywords and decide where your site belongs on the search rankings using a combination of numerous criteria. At the end of the day, all you should be focused on is the user experience and if you continually improve that you don’t need to worry about anything else.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) also commonly known as Pay-per-click (PPC) is just about always used in addition to an SEO strategy for online marketing exposure. However, unlike SEO, paid advertising has a much more direct and measurable result. Simply put: you create paid ads that appear to look like search results and bid on keywords to place your ad in front of your target audience based on what they’re searching for. When someone clicks, you pay Google directly for sending traffic to your site. This is based on a cost per click (CPC).
Most all internet 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.
Search Engine Marketing also works well because it’s triggered by keywords that you can directly bid and pay for. There’s no contextual basis for the results – you say “I want my ad to show for this search query” and with a bid high enough, your ad will be seen by everyone searching for that term. SEM keywords are arguably more important because the competition of keywords drives the price a company pays per click. Proper keyword mapping is crucial for success with any PPC campaign. The price for these keywords can range from 3 cents to over a hundred dollars (keywords in hight competitive fields such as financial, insurance and legal industry have a high cost), so, this clearly can become very costly for a company if not setup properly.
SEM or PPC marketing is another highly technical field in Digital Marketing, so it’s important to vet your SEM Internet Marketing Agency well. It’s extremely easy to wastefully burn money if you don’t know what you’re doing in AdWords, so make sure whoever you’re entrusting your ad account to knows exactly what they’re doing.
Content marketing is used to boost a companies’ websites in order to make customers more knowledgeable on their product/service. The high level idea behind a content marketing strategy is that a company sharing info makes them seem more credible and relevant to a customer.
Additionally, a solid content marketing strategy is crucial to the success of any SEO campaign. As started earlier in this article, SEO is all about making the user experience as valuable as possible plus providing Google with the proper context/structure as to what your business provides. Content marketing does both of these simultaneously: engaging content is great for a user experience and Google’s algorithm prefers original and quality content.
There are different types of content writing, one type is transactional/promotional content. Transactional/promotional content is typically found on the site’s home page and should be focused and relevant, ensuring to avoid “fluff” information.
Informational content is another type of content marketing and it’s focus is on longer lengths of content and is typically located on a site’s blog. Informational content must be valuable and educational for consumers.
Informational content provides customers with answers to questions that they may have regarding their product or service. It’s not about selling your product, but makes sure that you nurture them to that conversion decision. If you have original and quality informational content, it will strengthen your brand which leads to higher trust between your business and consumer.
An internet marketing agency must work hard to create this content. They come up with plans to develop content, brainstorm strategies for answering consumer questions/concerns, and the internet marketing agency must also spend a large amount of time writing the creative content that is intended to hook people into their clients website.
Social media marketing (SMM) has been a game changer in online marketing. It is marketing that uses platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest to connect with the target consumer.
Social Media Marketing is a great platform because it allows a company to engage with its consumers as well as to effectively communicate with them and to grow their brand presence online. It allows a company to reach a large number of people in a very short amount of time. Social Media Marketing is also essential for gaining customer feedback. Companies can use it to post about their products which allows customers to be able to comment about it on their posts.
Some companies also want to respond to the reactions of customers, and an internet marketing agency is typically the one behind the curtain responding to your questions, comments, and concerns that the customer posts on social media.
Furthermore, all social sites allow companies to pay for advertisements that reach millions of users. These paid ads’ strength lies in the targeting abilities due to how much people on social sites provide information on their personal lives. As a Digital Marketer, I’m able to laser-target users based on interest, purchase behaviors, and other categories as required in any advertising engine.
Nearly every internet marketing agency has their clients 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 if they hadn’t been.
Email marketing is one of the oldest tactics when it comes to internet marketing, but still is one of the most effective channels for direct response marketing. Carefully crafted emails that are compelling are sent to a potential customer’s inbox which can work wonders for closing a deal at the bottom of the funnel.
It’s considered a staple in the online marketing mix because it creates a direct link for consumers to a product.
A savvy Internet marketing agency can discover crucial information that exponentially increases email marketing to a more efficient level. An internet marketing agency should use metrics to discover the best times to send out these emails, the best content and graphics through A/B split testing, and the most effective ways to link sites to emails.
Email marketing might be one of the easiest types of digital marketing to learn, but it’s also one of the most difficult to master. If you’re vetting an internet marketing agency for email marketing services, ask to see their track record of success.
Responsibilities of an Internet Marketing Agency
That about covers the different types of services an internet marketing agency can offer, but how does it look on a daily basis?
Here at Marketing Media Wizard, with each and every client, we first outline a strategy. If it’s a client that’s only contracting us 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 Digital Marketing handle is that no matter what we are contracted to solely focus on, we’re always thinking about the other channels and how they all tie in to one another. While a client may not be contracting us for Social Media Marketing services, our content team is writing blogs, with Social Media posting in mind. This interrelated thinking 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 due to the high costs associated with salaries, taxes and benefits. A majority of companies we work with have one person trying to wear several different hats, unsuccessfully. That’s where the agency comes in. An internet marketing agency does the work for their clients to strategize and a team to execute the plan so that their client doesn’ have to.
Digital marketers want their clients to focus on creating the best product/service possible, and not focused on worrying about marketing it. By hiring a digital agency, a company is delegating a vital role that will ultimately be more lucrative for the company.
Not only is it the job of an internet marketing agency to create a strategy and to create the team, but it’s also their job to optimize it for continually increased performance which leads to a better ROI.
Optimization is the core of digital marketing. No matter what channel a company is advertised in, they need to be testing and optimizing continuously. I can’t stress how important optimization is. Digital advertisers have access to so much data. You can know with absolute certainty what ad copy combinations works best, which email campaign has the highest response rate, and what piece of original content is the most engaging. By ensuring that only the best practices are being used, an internet marketing agency is able to see where to most efficiently and effectively spend the ad budget for an increased ROI So, making sure a company is spending money efficiently and receiving results is a key component of the internet marketing agency’s job.
It’s one thing to know which elements of a campaign worked best, but making the necessary changes based on the results of that test is much different. You can have all the data in the world, but it’s totally useless unless you’re taking action on it. Any digital marketer that’s worth a damn 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 to see.
Internet marketing companies are going to be around for quite some time, as long as there’s an internet. The speciality is constantly evolving and the marketers within an internet marketing agency will be constantly learning and adapting as well.
Digital agencies combine the analytical side of the brain with the creative side. Every campaign requires out-of-the-box thinking integrated with a scientist’s analytical side. The companies typically have 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 digest massive amount of information, analyze, and create effective strategies for companies to increase their returns on investment.