3 Key Elements in Effective Internet Marketing

Know Your Market Before Going After It

Photo Credit: Rancz Andrei

Last Updated October 23, 2015

1. Research Your Market

One of the most basic and effective steps in targeted marketing on the internet is to know who it is you are targeting. Never assume you know a market based on your own personal experiences or 'gut feelings.'  Until you have thoroughly researched and tested consumer markets you don't know them well enough to maximize your marketing dollars. Even after you have researched and tested one market your research work is not done.


What you learn about consumer behavior in one set of circumstances is likely to be different in another.  For example, how and to whom you would market on Pinterest is vastly different from how and to whom you would target on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.  And, marketing to mobile device users changes things even more.

There are many ways to research data, and each marketing platform (i.e., your website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) will have their own tools and data offerings so be sure to consider each online social platform as a separate market to address.

When Willpower Supplements Corp., a budding supplement company was developing its product line  the company's founders thought about targeting women interested in losing weight.  After researching consumer habits and interests (raw data analysis and social network research) they found that the boomer generation spent far more on supplements than any other age group and that consumers appreciated long-term support in their weight-loss (or other goal-oriented) endeavors.

Instead of developing another weight-loss product to serve an already flooded and hotly competitive market, the company formulated a neurochemical supplement to support executive brain function (the part of the brain that regulates self discipline).  Instead of offering a supplement alone, they offer a basic support program to help people learn how to set goals (including weight loss).

2. Yes, You Do Need a Website

The first step to marketing on the internet is to have a website and at least two or three good social media pages that should link to your website.  Some business owners are still reluctant to having a website and so many business owners are simply launching Facebook pages to promote themselves instead of investing in website development.

Here are a few reasons why that is not enough:

  • Your competitors have websites.
  • Investors and lenders will want to see your website.
  • Many payment gateway services want to see your website.
  • Fulfillment houses may require you to have a website before dealing with you.
  • Google indexes websites and shows websites in searches far more often than social media sites.
  • Mobile users are the fastest growing market to tap into -- and without a website you won't be able to take the mobile market by storm.
  • When you hand out business cards or post flyers, you need a web address to refer people to for more information -- refer them to a Facebook page and they may not be able to really get to know you and your business.
  • Your web host company will probably also offer your free (or cheap) email addresses that will have your domain extension in the email address -- nothing looks cheaper than using a Gmail or Yahoo email address for business correspondence.
  • Social media often restricts what you can sell, what you can say, and limits custom designs to a uniform standard.

If you do not have a website up yet start building one right away.  In the meantime, it is fine to go ahead and create social networks (which can be done more quickly than a website) but don't forget to go back to the social networks you create now and add links to your website when you have set one up.

3. In Addition to a Website You Need Social Networks

Just as you cannot get by on social networks without a website, the reverse is also true:  you cannot get by with just a website and no social networking.

Social networking signals are now being considered, at least to some degree, by major search engines including Google.  If you want people to be able to find you better in search engines the right social networking can help improve your brand performance in search engine returns.

  But perhaps even more important is that people also use social branding as a way of evaluating a business.  Positive reviews, sharing information (not just marketing to people all the time), and connecting with your clients and customers on social networks helps people learn to trust your business.

Although website pages can be set up to share on social networks, people are less likely to share something directly from your website as they are if they encounter something from you on a social network.  The reason is simple:  people using social networks are already signed into them; people visiting your website may not already be signed in.

The bottom line is that to market effectively on the internet you have to have a strong presence across multiple media in order to be seen by the most people.  In order to know how to reach and interact with others and so that they can find you on the internet (the purpose of having a website and engaging in active social media) you must do your research first.