Whether you’re a marketer, a business owner or a consumer looking to understand how folks are selling you stuff, here are five aspects of internet marketing you need to understand. You don’t need to be an expert. But you need to get the concept, just like you understand that TV shows are made with cameras, and that the sexy blonde in the commercial had 4 hours makeup work.
- Search Engines. Let’s face it – most folks use a search engine to find what they’re looking for. You need to understand, at least at a high level, how these suckers work. If you want a marketer’s viewpoint, you can read this blog, or look at SEOmoz.org, or Search Engine Land. Or, if you’d rather get a more academic view, check out Wikipedia’s article.
- E-mail. Don’t just turn up your nose. E-mail is a damned effective marketing tool, and done right your customers love it. Subscribe to MarketingSherpa if you want tons of data on the subject.
- Social Networks/Marketing/Bookmarketing services. Sign up for Technorati and del.icio.us. Learn how tags work – they’re really simple. Ignore all the buzzword bulls–t, and focus instead on the way these networks let you organize and find stuff based. Then try Linkedin or Facebook, just to see what all the fuss is about. You don’t have to become a daily user of any of these services. Just understand them, and why your audience might like them, and you’ll gain valuable insight.
- Blogs. Overhyped and overused, blogs are still a wonderful, powerful marketing tool when in the hands of people who actually care about their content. Best place to start is at Clearblogging, or by simply starting your own on Blogspot or WordPress.
- Analytics. Learn what it means to measure, and know what’s possible. It is possible to measure how many people come to your web site, whether they buy/sign up/register or otherwise do what you want, and where they came from. It is not possible to ethically collect personal information, and know who those people are, without getting them to first sign up.
Knowing how internet marketing works, at a high level, will make you a better informed consumer.