Looking at internet marketing strategies is like looking at Google Earth. You can see what we call “marketing” from a bird’s-eye view, like looking at the planet from space. You can zoom inwards and see different continents, like print marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, and digital marketing. You can zoom in even further and see more and more granularity until you’re zoomed all the way in on someone’s house, looking at their landscaping.
Okay, so the metaphor breaks down a little at the end there.
Marketing has an incredible depth, and the deeper you go, the more you can break it down into its parts. Once you reach a very local zoom, you can start to find actionable information; it’s at that point where you can get driving directions.
When you break marketing down into different types of marketing, you can then break down one of those types – like internet marketing – into individual channels and strategies. That’s what we’re doing here today, breaking down internet marketing into the twelve different, distinct-yet-complementary internet marketing strategies you can use as a business to market yourself. So, what are they? How can you learn and master them?
Read on to find out!
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One note before we begin: these kinds of marketing are all “fuzzy” in that they all overlap as part of internet marketing. Elements of one will affect or be part of another, and it’s almost impossible to pick and focus on one of them and still be successful.
In many ways, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the core of most internet marketing strategies. SEO encompasses everything you do on your site to make it more attractive to search engines, primarily Google. Still, it can also mean searching through YouTube, Amazon, Bing, and other search engines.
You can break down SEO itself into different kinds of SEO:
- You have on-site SEO, which is everything you do on your site to improve search visibility.
- You have off-site SEO, including link building and outreach.
- You have technical SEO, which encompasses all of the technological elements the search engines consider important, such as site speed, fast load times for content and media, and the overall user experience.
SEO influences nearly every other internet marketing strategy, which they also affect. As search algorithms grow increasingly complex, so will the diversity of elements you need to optimize for marketing.
2: Content Marketing
Content marketing is all about the actual content you produce. While most people will focus directly on blog posts, content marketing can also encompass other kinds of content, like guest posts, landing pages, eBooks, podcasts, videos, infographics, and more. Depending on who you ask, it can include lengthy product descriptions, press releases, and white papers.
Content marketing is closely related to SEO because the ways a piece of content can rank and promote you through channels like search and social media are based on optimizing that content for the algorithms that govern those feeds. Likewise, you can consider several other internet marketing strategies on this list (like video marketing) as content marketing forms.
You can see where the fuzziness between the two comes into play.
3: PPC (Paid) Marketing
Paid marketing takes many names. PPC, or Pay Per Click. PPM, or Pay Per Thousand Views (the M stands for Mille, or thousand). SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is used as a distinction from SEO. Regardless of the term, the concept is the same: you pay for traffic, clicks, hits, views, conversions, or for other actions you find meaningful. SEM is always a paid form of marketing that requires financial input for any output.
Paid marketing as a category doesn’t mean that other internet marketing strategies are free, of course. It costs money to produce videos, write blog posts, or send emails to a newsletter subscriber base. The difference is that you can do those other things for free; PPC cannot. With SEM and PPC, you must pay to get your results.
Managing PPC is ruthless. Mistakes can cost a fortune and wipe out a budget in days with nothing to show. On the other hand, a practical, sustained PPC campaign can bring in more than it spends – and thus be self-sustaining.
Social media used to be a novelty, and then it turned into an essential tool. Now the giants are fading (between Facebook’s massive drop in revenue and the Twitter takeover, we’re looking at an upcoming paradigm shift and a lot of uncertainty), but one fact remains. The genie is out of the bottle, and social media is here to stay in some form or another.
People like to build social groups, find people they are interested in and follow them, and enjoy never-ending feeds of curated content. This technique is an endless land of opportunity for businesses, though it’s often oversaturated and ruined in short order.
Whether you’re using the current slate of Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/LinkedIn/Pinterest, or you prefer focusing on more organic-looking marketing on Reddit or Imgur, or you’re keeping an eye out for whatever the next big thing will be, the core concept is the same: putting information and content in front of social groups of people and encouraging it to go viral via shares.
5: Email Marketing
Email marketing is somewhat unique. On the one hand, it requires other forms of marketing to get started. You can only send emails to people who have subscribed, and you can only find those people to subscribe if you bring them in using various internet marketing strategies.
No one will sign up for your mailing list without a good reason. Usually, that reason is that visitors like you or are interested in your products or get something useful out of them. On the other hand, it’s one of the few forms of marketing that guarantees you at least a baseline level of interest.
Email marketing is also independent of (most) algorithms; you only have to contend with algorithmic junk mail filtering, which is comparatively easy to navigate. It’s a direct line to interested viewers, making it a potentially very potent form of marketing when used correctly.
6: Video Marketing
Video marketing involves some elements of content marketing in the form of writing scripts and producing content and aspects of SEO to finagle the algorithms of YouTube to work for you. Some people will consider video marketing a subset of content marketing. Others view them as entirely different since the skills and platforms used are separate.
Video marketing isn’t restricted to YouTube, either. Instagram has reels and videos, and TikTok is impressively saturated these days. Reaching people with video content requires compelling content, good production values, and knowledge of what your viewers want to see in all their limited attention spans.
While video marketing is often compelling to users, it has had quite a few problems over the years, including vastly inflated stats from Facebook, extremely fickle audiences, and overall dropping ad revenue coming from video platforms. That doesn’t mean it’s not valuable, but it requires a different approach now than it used to.
7: Affiliate and Referral Marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is a great way to get new visitors and customers because people tend to trust their friends and family over strangers. So, why not weaponize it?
Affiliate and referral marketing are similar. Referral marketing encourages existing customers to refer their friends and family, often with some prize for doing so, like a discount or a free month of service.
Affiliate marketing works the same way, except with more monetary payouts and focusing on specific influential people (like content producers) rather than the general pool of all customers.
Both work on the same concept: people in positions of trust recommend your business to those who trust them. So, you get reputable people to sign up for your program, you encourage them in various ways to promote you, and you reap the rewards of their promotion. Sounds simple, right? Of course, it is a bit more complex than that, but the concept is easy to understand, even if the implementation is more complicated.
8: Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has a lot of crossover with affiliate marketing. After all, the core concept is the same: get your products promoted by a trusted authority figure. The difference is usually in the kinds of deals you make, how public it is, and how disclosed it is.
Many influencer marketing agreements are never disclosed, despite the FTC laws against hiding them. The influencer either agrees or they don’t, and if they decide to partner with you, they do whatever advertising you agree upon. It might be casual mentions in new content, subtle placement in the background of an Instagram shot, or more overt advertorial content. Businesses approach influencers with a significant presence on social media or well-visited websites and offer to pay for some organic promotion.
If you’ve ever noticed that accounts with tens of millions of followers only get a few thousand likes and comments on their posts, it’s a combination of disinterest, feed filtering, and bad accounts. Influencer marketing is also tricky due to the prevalence of bots, dead accounts, and disengaged users on social media. You must do some serious legwork to identify influencers worth working with.
9: Native Advertising
Native advertising is an internet marketing strategy that serves as a sort of combination of both content marketing and PPC marketing. You are still paying to advertise, but your ads are designed to look as close to organic content as possible. You see these all the time online, usually in the form of “related posts” links that point to other sites entirely.
In a way, native advertising is a vision of future marketing, as an older marketing strategy is combined and remixed into newer iterations. Who knows what similar crossovers will live in the future? PPC isn’t new, nor is content marketing, but native advertising could only work in a world where both have existed and been established.
Native advertising works like PPC mechanically, so just about anything that applies to PPC will also be relevant to native advertising, with a heavier focus on making ad copy and media that fits with the target sites.
10: App Marketing
These days, it’s challenging to go five minutes without checking our phones. Whether it’s task-oriented apps like calendars, social media apps, games, or proprietary business apps, those pocket devices are more important than ever.
App marketing can involve two different strategies. One is PPC; advertising within apps, advertising your app for others and within other apps, and getting people to click through to your mobile-optimized website. It can also involve promoting your own app in various ways to get people to install it and try it.
In many ways, app marketing is behind the curve. Ads are more intrusive and less clever, with less in the form of targeting and tracking options and less refinement in placement. Expect it to continue evolving as long as smartphones and mobile devices are heavily used.
Remarketing is one of those concepts that many people never think of or entirely overlook, but it makes incredible sense when you learn about them. What is it?
The general concept of remarketing is that your first wave of marketing builds a list of people who interact with and engage with it. Then, the second wave of marketing targets those people because they’ve already expressed interest in you. These visitors are already familiar with your brand and are slightly more targeted. They’ll have a higher success rate because they’re pre-qualified and typically more affordable than reaching a new audience. What’s not to love?
Remarketing can be an add-on to virtually any other form of marketing above because all those forms of marketing are channels and venues to build that list and then market to the people on that list.
12: Crossover Marketing
Crossover marketing isn’t quite an internet marketing strategy because it requires both online and offline internet marketing strategies. Crossover marketing occurs when you promote your website on TV, mention your brand on the radio, or publicize a QR code on a mass mailer. It takes advantage of older, offline, traditional marketing channels to refer people to the digital space. It’s fascinating what you can do with a crossover between channels, offline and online.
So, there you have it; the twelve different internet marketing strategies, with all their fuzzy edges and different levels of scope and interplay. You can now see how it’s all interconnected and how working at any of them can help you succeed at all of them, so why not get started?
If you need assistance, we’re always here, just a click away.
Tim Woda is the CEO and founder of White Peak Marketing. He has been on the founding team of five successful start-ups and his digital marketing campaigns have acquired more than 800 million customers for his start-ups and White Peak’s client companies. Tim has been featured by The New York Times, Fox News, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more. Under Tim’s direction, White Peak was selected as one of America’s Top Digital Marketing Agencies for 2021 by MarTech Outlook magazine.