Introduction to Online Marketing

by | Online Marketing

This post is going to be a brief introduction to online marketing (aka internet marketing) and some of it’s most common channels. Let’s start by talking about the difference between digital marketing and online marketing.

Digital marketing is a more widely used term and refers to all marketing that uses digital channels, it includes:




Digital billboards


Social media

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Email marketing

Online marketing is a subset of digital marketing and it just includes the channels that use the internet. Some of the most common channels include:


Social media

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Email marketing



Everyone knows what a website is but a third of small businesses don’t have one, so we’re going to talk about the importance of having a website. A third of small businesses not having websites is a problem because 80% of people research a company online before doing business with them. So what’s going to happen when a person can’t find a website for a business? Well, there’s a good chance they aren’t going to do business with them and will move on to the competition.

Some small businesses may feel like they don’t need a website because all of their customers are local. And that may have been true a while ago, but today 97% of consumers use the web to search for local businesses. So small businesses are losing potential customers in their city because they aren’t being found.

Some small business owners may think that having a Facebook page and a local Google listing is enough. And while that may be enough for you to show up on a Google search, 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design. If they’re judging a business’s credibility on the website design, what are they going to think if a business doesn’t even have one?


Social Media Marketing

This includes paid and unpaid marketing on social media platforms. Some common social media platforms include:








And many more

Don’t feel like you need to be on all of them. Start with one and focus on learning it and creating regular content for it before adding another platform. Also, some platforms will be more popular than others with certain demographics.

Social media marketing has become very popular but a lot of small business owners are unsure of how to use it properly. One of the biggest differences between social media marketing and other forms of marketing is that the majority of it isn’t actually promoting your product or services. To be successful you need to create content that your customers and potential customers find interesting, and ads for a product or service usually aren’t very interesting.

People don’t access social media to find a new mechanic or accountant, they’ll probably go to Google and actively search for those. They’re on social media to be entertained and to connect with friends and communities of people with a shared interest. So you have to create content related to your business that potential customers will find engaging.

Let’s say someone is sitting in the waiting room at the dentist and they’re scrolling through Facebook on their phone. They’re just looking to be entertained until their name is called so they probably aren’t going to click on an ad for a product or service, but they might read a post about a product or service they’re interested in if it sounds interesting.

So the key to being successful on social media is figuring out what kind of content your customers and potential customers will find interesting. What is going to make someone click on your post and then click follow? This can be difficult to figure out, and some businesses will have a harder time than others. Start by looking at businesses who have larger followings and see what kind of content they are posting and what kind of interaction those posts are getting.

Remember, social media is about being social and your posts should reflect your personality and company culture. Your social media should be relaxed and less formal than other marketing. And most importantly, it should be social. You should be interacting with your followers and liking or responding to their comments.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Is the process of affecting your website’s visibility and making it easier for search engines to find it. The goal is the get your website at or near the top of the organic search results. This is done by making sure the search engines know that your website provides relevant and quality content related to a search.

Some basic elements of SEO include:

Providing relevant and quality content to what your customers are searching for.

Site speed and mobile-friendliness

How visitors interact with your page

Links to your page


SEO is important because it’s what will make your website show up in search results. It’s not something that can be done overnight, it’s going to take time and work before it starts showing up near the first page. And showing up on the first page is the goal because 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines. There is a quote from an unknown source that says “The best place to hide a dead body is page two of the Google search results”. That does a pretty good job of illustrating just how important it is to show up on the first page.

To help illustrate the importance of SEO lets look at some search results I did for different business in Chattanooga. Keep in mind that there are only ten organic search results per page.

“Chattanooga bike repair” 1,130,000 results.

“Chattanooga bakery” 1,300,000 results.

“Chattanooga mechanic” 1,410,000 results.

“Chattanooga attorney” 4,700,000 results.

I did a search for the most obscure jobs and saw that “snake milker” was on one of the lists. So I searched for “snake milker in Chattanooga” and got 17,300 results. Now, that doesn’t mean there are 17,300 websites about snake milkers in Chattanooga. But it does mean that if you created a website advertising your snake milking services in Chattanooga, you would be competing with 17,300 other search results. You would definitely show up above a lot of them very quickly because it wouldn’t take much for Google to see that your website is more relevant. But even showing up in the top forty, which would be pretty good compared to 17,300, means you would still be on page four of the results, which practically means no one would ever find you.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is paying to advertise your website on search engine results for the keywords you choose. Paid ads show up at the top and bottom of search results and will have a little icon next to them to signify that they are paid ads.

New businesses should strongly consider SEM since it allows your website to show up on the first page of search results while you work on your SEO.

The ads are Pay Per Click (PPC) which means you only pay when someone clicks on the ad and not when it’s displayed. The ads are created and managed through Google Ads and Bing Ads.

SEM is more expensive than advertising on social media, but the advantage is that people are actively searching for a product or service. Having your ad for accounting services show when someone is searching for accounting services is extremely valuable.


Email Marketing

Email Marketing is sending an ad for your business to someone through email. Having an ad show up in a potential customers inbox is extremely valuable. However, your email will be seen as spam to someone who isn’t interested or didn’t sign up for it, and you definitely want to avoid being viewed as a spammer.

Email marketing is most valuable when it’s sent to people who have signed up for it. A common way to get a potential customer to sign up for your email list is to offer them something in return. For example, if they sign up for your email list they will get access to an exclusive e-book or article related to your product or service. It’s a win-win because you get permission to send emails to someone who you know is interested and they get something of value for doing so.

An email marketing platform will allow you to keep track of your contacts, create emails and schedule emails to be sent over a period of time. An email marketing platform will make it so much easier and we wouldn’t try it without one. Some common email marketing platforms include:

Constant Contacts

Mail Chimp





And many more

Remember, it’s very easy for email marketing to be viewed as spam so avoid sending your marketing to people who haven’t signed up for it or shown interest in your products or services. Make sure it’s easy for them to unsubscribe and always honor their request if they do.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article and we hope you found it helpful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about online marketing or web design.

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