The internet has created a whole new ecosystem of marketing avenues, channels, and options. Since the advent on online marketing, businesses now have many choices when it comes to getting exposure for their brand and attracting new customers. As the paradox of choice suggests, this wide world of options leaves people with many decisions to make, and often less decisions as a result of business owners not knowing where to begin.
This guide highlights three of the more popular online marketing avenues and options, and identifies the pros and cons of each.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is the process of making a website rank higher in the search engines by optimizing its code, content, and link strategy.
- Works even after you’ve paid for the service as rankings stick for a while
- Can be learned and done in-house (at SEO workshops like this one in Boston)
- Provides targeted traffic based on keywords you select
- May involve a steep learning curve depending on technical background and comfort level
- Takes time for results to be seen
- Competition is high for many sought-after keywords
For people who want immediate impacts in the search engines, paid advertising is a very popular option. Google AdWords is a bidding system that allows website owners to submit their bids (based on how much they’re willing to pay for every click) in order to rank well.
- Full control of your budget
- Immediate impact as your campaign can go live the same day
- Keyword targeting
- In competitive industries, the cost-per-click may be very high
- No long-term benefits; when your marketing dollars run out, your ad no longer runs
One other way of getting your products and brand promoted is through affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you offer publishers (aka advertisers or people who are spreading promotion for your products or services) a percentage of the revenue they generate or a flat fee per transaction. The biggest affiliate marketing network is Commission Junction, located at CJ.com.
- Little to no effort required after initial setup
- More scalable way to have many people promoting your stuff
- Costs are only absorbed when direct revenue is obtained
- Less control of how your products or services are portrayed
- Setup fees charged by the different affiliate networks to create your campaign
- Less targeting to your specific industry
Leave a comment below regarding your experiences with these various online marketing channels!