Marketing, marketing, marketing. To most new website owners, online marketing might seem like an entirely new business challenge. But the essential connection between “marketing” and “business” is the same, on or off-line. As in the “real” world, unless your business has an intelligent, thoughtful online marketing strategy, you will not succeed, regardless of your industry.
Ten years ago, even as the Internet’s popularity boomed, TV and radio were still the preferred advertising venue for most businesses. For years, in fact, TV and radio advertising was the most effective way to promote a business—but it was also very costly. At the time, you might know how to promote your business, but unless you had an advertising budget, attracting new customers was nearly impossible. With limited budgets, many new businesses chose less expensive advertising methods, like print advertisements. This method depended on the fact that newspapers, magazines, and brochures were actual products that might land directly in a potential customer’s hands. Some even thought that these readily-accessible advertisements attracted more attention than TV or radio.
As the Internet became a part of our daily lives, new online marketing opportunities revealed themselves to be more convenient, potentially more effective, and much less expensive than traditional marketing methods. Today, Internet marketing, also known as search engine optimization, or SEO marketing, is the least expensive, and most powerful, way to promote any business
From the beginning, SEO marketing was essentially FREE. With SEO, we learned that exposure could not be bought; it had to be earned. By optimizing a website’s online presence for search engines, a business could appear on the first page of sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo, attracting hundreds, even thousands, of new visitors every day.
However, since SEO was FREE, most search engines offered their own alternative: Pay Per Click (PPC).With PPC, website owners were obliged to pay for each click for each person who visited their site from the main page of a search engine. While this can be an effective approach to online marketing, it has also proved to be potentially expensive—you pay for each click whether your website makes a sale or not.
The challenge of achieving online visibility organically, without paying for PPC, left many website owners dispirited. Some even attempted to trick the system, and certain websites, utilizing any number of fancy shortcuts, appeared on Google’s first page—but their achievement was always temporary. As soon as the search engines discovered this system abuses, these websites were forever penalized.