When the subject of web marketing comes up, some people might get that glazed-over, deer-in-the-headlights look in their eyes. And when terms like “search engine optimization” or “conversion rate optimization” start getting tossed around, those same people might start feeling like the apes freaking out over the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The basic concepts of web marketing really aren’t that hard to grasp, though. In fact, it’s pretty easy to take old-school marketing approaches and ideas and apply them to the process of building your online presence. Let’s take a look at the similarities between web marketing and traditional marketing.
Let’s say you just opened a brick-and-mortar store. We’ll call it Biff’s Cheese Shack. How would you start making people aware of your business and your brand?
For starters, you might:
Put up a big sign on the front of your store that says, “BIFF’S CHEESE SHACK” (you could maybe include a cheese wheel or some other kind of logo for good measure).
Advertise on radio, TV and newspapers.
Put up billboards.
Now let’s switch over to online marketing. The goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is basically the same as that of the advertising options listed above: to build awareness of your brand.
When people search for something relating to cheese on Google or Bing, you want content for your store’s website to show up prominently in the search results. That’s where SEO comes in. It’s like putting up the biggest or most eye-catching signs where potential customers are looking. (Actually, it’s more like others putting up those signs for you, but you get the idea.)
Web Traffic = Foot Traffic
So you’ve got on the ad with the catchy jingle playing on all the local TV stations. Does this guarantee that you’ll have people coming to your store? Not necessarily.
To get people to come to your store, you could run a special sale or promotion. It could be something like, “Buy 3 cheese wheels, get 1 for 25% off” or “Buy cheese, get a puppy!” The point is that you give customers a distinct reason to check out Biff’s Cheese Shack. To put it another way, you give people a clear call to action.
Getting traffic to your website is like getting traffic for your store. You can generate online traffic through:
Promos in online ads
Email marketing campaigns
Connecting with people through social media
CRO = Getting What You Want
Once you’ve enticed people to come to Biff’s Cheese Shack, your work isn’t quite done. You still need to persuade them to buy some brie and gouda. This means doing things like selling your cheeses for a reasonable price and providing good customer service.
When it comes to your business's website, this process is called conversion rate optimization (CRO). You set up your site to make it easy for your visitors to do what you want. This could be:
Making a sale
Filling out a form
Singing up for a newsletter
Marketing is Marketing
Web marketing can be challenging, but it’s not a total mystery. It’s simply about leveraging your online presence to achieve your marketing goals.
Ben joined the Tribute team in 2014. He holds a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara. In addition to writing content for Tribute Media, he is a regular freelance contributor to *Boise Weekly’s* music section.
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