What Is Online Marketing, Types, Advantages, and How to Do it in 2018

Jonathan Cronstedt

Without online marketing, most businesses wouldn’t be able to survive. From brick-and-mortar retailers to Knowledge Commerce professionals, online marketing serves as the backbone for every customer interaction.

Why is online marketing so essential — and effective? And how does it work in the Knowledge Commerce field?

We’re going to dig into the answers to those question. If you’ve ever wondered about the nuts and bolts of online marketing, this guide will help you build your own online following and sell more online courses.

What Is Online Marketing

Online marketing is a way to promote your business online. It includes both marketing and advertising, from PPC to email marketing.

We distinguish online and offline marketing for a very specific purpose: online marketing offers significant advantages over the alternative. You can reach more people, build your brand faster, and track your progress (but will get into that in more detail later).

For now, you should know that, when you’re promoting your business online, you’re engaged in online marketing. The important thing is to make sure your efforts yield measurable results.

What Is the Definition of Online Marketing for Knowledge Commerce?

For the Knowledge Commerce professional, online marketing involves establishing credibility, reaching new people, and converting prospects into customers via the Internet. You already use your knowledge to teach people and generate revenue, but online marketing can help you grow faster.

How?

By giving you access to the people who are most likely to buy your online courses, subscribe to your membership site, or buy other digital products from you.

“Every time you interact with your audience, you establish a touchpoint between you and the consumer. As your relationship grows, your chances of making a sale increase dramatically.” — Tweet this!

Types Of Online Marketing

While online marketing seems simple, it includes a lot of moving parts. You can’t possibly devote yourself fully to every potential avenue, but you need to know about them so you can choose wisely.

For instance, if you know that your target audience doesn’t respond well to advertising (or uses ad-blocking software), strategies like banner ads and PPC probably won’t yield positive results. You’ll want to focus on more organic approaches.

We’re going to introduce you to several forms of online marketing so you can evaluate each one based on your buyer personas.

Websites

Websites are arguably essential for online marketing. They form the business’s “home base.” Since they’re a form of owned online property (you control your website), you don’t have to worry about someone changing the game and rendering your efforts obsolete.

For instance, if you make Facebook your business’s home base, you’d be lost if Mark Zuckerberg suddenly decided to close the platform. You’d lose all incoming links and access to your audience.

Sure, it’s unlikely that Facebook will go extinct, but you never know.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When you optimize your website and other online properties for search engines, you make your content more accessible to your audience. SEO allows consumers to type search queries into Google and other search engines, then find your content.

Getting good at SEO will move your content up in the search engine results pages (SERPs). You’re more likely to get a click from a prospective customer if you appear on page one versus page nine.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

While SEO and SEM share certain qualities (SEO is actually a facet of SEM), most marketers use SEM to refer to any advertising efforts you make via search engines. For instance, if you run ads on Google AdWords’s program, you’re participating in in SEM.

Many brands struggle to rank high in Google during their first year or two of operation. SEM allows you to gain an advantage over the competition without waiting for your SEO efforts to take effect.

Landing Pages

A landing page helps you convert prospects into customers. They’re already interested in your business because they clicked your link, but they haven’t yet decided to buy.

You might, for example, offer a 20 percent discount on your latest online course via a Facebook post. The link in the post could take your prospect to a landing page that reiterates the discount offer and links over to your sales page.

Landing pages work best when they align well from the referring post or article. In other words, going with the example above, you’ll want to use similar wording and images in the Facebook post as on your landing page.

Email Marketing

We’ve covered email marketing in great depth here on the Kajabi blog — and there’s a reason for that. It works.

Your email list can become your greatest asset as you build your business. It gives you a direct line to current, past, and prospective customers. As you release new digital products, you can make your audience aware of them.

Plus, it helps you keep your brand fresh. If your audience receives regular, high-value communication from you, those people will associate your brand with good things, from generosity to credibility.

Banner Advertising

Some people say that banner advertising is dead. It’s not. It’s just not quite as effective as it used to be.

Banner advertising doesn’t work very well as a standalone online marketing strategy. However, it can boost brand awareness and help snag impulse purchases.

Banner ads are the rectangular or square ads you see on websites — often above content, in the sidebar, or below content. A banner ad typically leads to a sales or landing page. You can run banner advertisements on websites that attract members of your audience to produce great results.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads

PPC ads and banner advertisements share lots of similarities. The primary difference is how you pay.

With PPC, you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. If you’re showing banner ads with an arrangement with an ad network or website, you typically pay a flat fee in advance.

PPC ads through search engines, social media platforms, and other online spaces can prove extremely effective. You set your budget, so you never pay more than you intend. When you’ve consumed your budget, the ads stop running.

Plus, you can whittle down your audience based on key demographics and other factors.

Affiliate Marketing

If you don’t have the startup capital to pay for PPC or banner ads, you might try affiliate marketing. It’s a form of commission that you pay to people who send customers your way.

Like a car dealership salesperson, an affiliate marketer only gets paid after someone purchases your product. If no sales take place, you don’t pay.

Affiliates can promote your products anywhere they want (as long as the content conforms to the website’s terms of service). It’s a great way to gain access to new audiences.

Influencer Marketing

Influencers have become a hot topic of conversation. They’re highly regarded among their audiences, they often relate well to the people who follow them, and they can persuade people to buy your products.

Not all influencers have audiences as large as those of Kim Kardashian. You don’t have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for someone to promote your product.

Look for influencers in your niche or industry. Approach them by offering them free access to one of your digital products.

Participation in Forums or Discussion Groups

We’ve recommended a few online marketing strategies that require you to “pay to play.” However, all online marketing efforts require some form of payment.

You either pay with money or with time.

Spending your time in industry forums and discussion groups can help you market your business. By answering others’ questions, participating in discussions, and building credibility with those audiences, you can send people to your digital products.

Yes, it takes more time than PPC advertising. However, if you do it right, it’s also just as effective.

Blogging

You can also spend your time writing content for your audience. Blogging helps you build credibility and authority as well as SEO juice.

You might notice that we post regularly on the Kajabi blog. Why? Because we’re marketing our platform.

However, we’re also helping our existing customers make better use of our platform.

Think of blogging as a way to not only attract customers, but also to retain them. You’re showing that you’re actively engaged in your business and willing to join in on conversations.

Social Media

Just about everyone is on social media these days. Most people use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the other major players to share news with their friends and family members. Some have built businesses exclusively around their social media activity.

However, you can also use social media to promote your Knowledge Commerce products. Whether you advertise on these platforms or not, you’re gaining visibility and sending people to your Kajabi website.

Advantages of Online Marketing for Knowledge Commerce Professionals

As a Knowledge Commerce business owner, you can reap numerous rewards for participating in various types of online marketing. The more activity you generate on behalf of your business, the faster your empire will grow.

But what specific benefits can you expect to receive? Assuming you’re diligent in maintaining your brand and consistently producing high-quality content, the following advantages wait in store for you.

Reach Your Audience Faster

Let’s face it: We live in an instant-gratification world. If you can’t remember who starred in a movie, just type the name of the film into Google’s search bar and get the answer in about .69 seconds.

The same is true for people who might stumble across your business. Reaching people via a postal flyer or television commercial might seem immediate, but it’s hardly practical when you can reach those same people online.

Additionally, you know that your competitors are marketing their products at a breakneck pace. You don’t want them to reach people before you do, so engage in online marketing so you can compete at their level.

Build a Following

At one time, only rock stars, socialites, and movie stars had followings. That’s no longer true.

You can build a cult following based on your business’s culture and online marketing strategies. In fact, consumers can turn into brand ambassadors overnight if you impress them and make it worth their while to follow you.

Why does this matter? Think about your business goals. You want to make more money, right? That’s easier if you have a built-in audience that anxiously awaits your next blog post, tweet, or Instagram photo.

Track Your Progress

It’s not easy to figure out how many people saw and responded to a television commercial, radio spot, or highway billboard. However, you can learn instantly how many views your latest blog post received or how many people “liked” your Facebook page.

Businesses operate more efficiently and effectively when they have access to hard data. That’s why we’ve build analytics into the Kajabi platform. You can track metrics based on your goals and change your strategy based on the numbers you see.

Uncertainty can kill a business. If you spend countless hours building your Instagram profile, you don’t want to wonder whether anyone has bothered to share your posts or click through to your website. Online marketing removes that uncertainty.

Establish Your Brand

Your brand is everything. It’s the public perception of your image, talent, knowledge, and ability to deliver on your promises.

Every business has a brand. The important thing is to control it to the best of your ability and to craft it based on your goals.

If you want to establish a lighthearted, humor-based brand, for instance, you can fill your online marketing content with jokes, inspirational images, irreverent observations, and more. As people get exposed to those pieces of content, they’ll draw conclusions about your brand.

With online marketing, branding becomes much easier because you can reach people organically or through advertising to reinforce your brand image. Plus, you don’t have to wait weeks or months for outbound or offline strategies to take hold.

Change Strategies

Sometimes, a marketing strategy doesn’t pan out. We all make mistakes. While so-called failures feel like the end of the world, they’re actually an opportunity.

Let’s say your blog’s not getting any reach in the search engines or on social media. You know something’s wrong, so you can fix it.

Maybe you need to post different types of content. Or perhaps your short-pithy blog posts would be more attractive if you lengthened and deepened them.

Agility is everything in today’s commercial world. The faster you can pivot in response to poor performance, the more sales you’ll position yourself to earn.

How To Do Online Marketing In 5 Simple Steps

Okay, you’re now familiar with online marketing, its definition, and its benefits, but how do you get your online marketing strategy off the ground? It’s not as difficult as it looks.

In fact, we’ve boiled it down to five simple steps. If you follow them in order, you’ll begin a successful online marketing campaign that can help solidify your Knowledge Commerce business’s future.

1. Set Specific, Actionable Goals

The only way to succeed at online marketing is to know where you’re going. What do you want to accomplish? How quickly?

Setting specific, actionable goals can move your journey forward faster. It can serve as motivation, reinforcement, and progress.

Let’s take a look at a few sample goals:

  • Get more followers on social media
  • Sell more online courses
  • Write more blog posts

What’s wrong with these goals? They’re neither specific nor measurable. So let’s change them up:

  • Get 5,000 more followers on Instagram in 12 months
  • Sell 100 copies of [X] online course by March 20, 2018
  • Write four blog posts per week on [X] topics for 12 months

You see the difference?

When you know exactly what you’re striving toward, you can make your online marketing strategy more effective.

2. Decide on Your Brand’s Primary Platform

Remember how we called your website your “home base.” That’s what we recommend as your brand’s primary platform.

It’s where you drive most of your traffic, where you keep your audience updated, and where you sell your products. Feel free to develop a presence on numerous other platforms, but make your website your priority.

A digital home base allows you to better control your brand, content, and marketing strategy. Best of all, a Kajabi website allows you to build in many effective pages, from a place to host live webinars to a series of landing pages.

3. Create a Solid Strategy

A good online marketing strategy describes, in detail, where you will focus your efforts and what you will do with each platform or initiative. For instance, your strategy (when condensed), might look something like this:

  • Build a blog and post three times per week.
  • Create landing pages for all online courses.
  • Post at least once per day on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Test PPC ads on Facebook and AdWords.

In other words, you’re naming the platform as well as the specific activity that will take place there.

Remember that you can’t dedicate yourself to every platform. You’re better off choosing three or four on which to focus your attention. Write your online marketing strategy just like you would a business plan.

4. Build on Your Existing and Future Content

Content is everything when it comes to online marketing. From the shortest tweet to the longest e-book, you’re establishing a connection with others through your words, images, videos, and other content.

Ideally, though, every piece of content should build on the last. After all, if you created your strategy, you’re working toward specific goals with a set strategy in place.

Start by canvassing your existing content. Keep a list of things you like about it and things you don’t. What do you want to change moving forward?

If necessary, update the older content to match the new direction you’ve devised.

5. Measure Your Progress

Use Kajabi’s built-in metrics to track your progress. Are you on target to meet the goals you set in step one? If not, what might be hindering your upward trajectory? If so, how can you keep maintaining that growth?

Online Marketing Examples

Examples are always beneficial when it comes to learning a new skill. They’re also efficient. Why devise a new approach when you can learn from those who have gone before you?

Online Courses

Look no further than the Kajabi blog to find examples of people who have succeeded with online courses. Our Kajabi Heroes have made massive steps toward building lifelong businesses for themselves.

They come from all walks of life and have varied background. One thing unites them: their desire to share their knowledge with others.

If you have that same desire, you can capitalize on it by selling your own online courses. Figure out how your background and expertise can benefit others, then create educational courses on Kajabi to profit from your expertise.

Blog Posts & Articles

Blog posts and articles often go viral. They can attract tons of traffic and help you establish your brand faster.

Check out Backlinko for a prime example. Brian Dean, the website’s founder, has published just around 40 blog posts in more than 12 months. Nevertheless, he ranks for some of the most competitive keywords in the world.

Why? He publishes detailed, in-depth articles that teach people what they need to know.

Dean is living proof that you don’t have to publish a blog post every day. In many cases, you’re better off publishing much longer, detailed posts every week or every two weeks, especially when it comes to SEO.

Infographics

We’ve become a very visually oriented society. Or maybe we were always that way. We still love to read, but we’re easily distracted by pretty visuals.

Infographics are currently among the most popular forms of content. And it’s easy to see why.

For instance, this infographic has been shared over 60,000 times:

It’s a simple infographic that denotes the happiest and least-happy states in the U.S.

Essentially, infographics educate or entertain your audience through lots of visuals and very little text. You can create one easily on your own using a free tool like Canva.

Case Studies

Some brands are known for producing regular, highly detailed case studies. MarketingSherpa is a prime example.

Their 2017 case study, “B2B Marketing: Continental Office’s customer-first brand and website redesign increased traffic 103%,” is a great example.

It includes the basic audience (B2B marketers), a brand name (Continental Office), and a number (103 percent traffic increase). Everything you need to know is in the title.

But the case study itself follows the standard format with lots of white space, images, and numbers. Creating your own case study based on yours or someone else’s data can help drive traffic and build your brand.

Podcasts

A podcast allows you to speak directly to your customers. It’s a great way to build a following in a personal way. You can also use it as a stepping stone for video.

According to “The Atlantic,” 2017’s most popular podcasts drew hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of listeners. They also helped build brands.

Videos

How much time do you spend on YouTube every week? If you’re like most people, it’s not a small amount of time.

Videos have become increasingly popular. And if you think they’re all music videos, you might be surprised.

For instance, the second most popular YouTube video of 2017 was an exploration of ping pong trick shots. No joke. And the number-eight position went to an educational video, so Knowledge Commerce professionals shouldn’t neglect this medium.

Use Kajabi to Turn Your Knowledge and Content Into Products You Can Sell

Are you tired of sitting on knowledge without making a profit? We hear you. At Kajabi, we’ve made it our mission to standardize Knowledge Commerce as a vibrant industry and to help subject-matter experts build thriving businesses.

We’re so confident in the Kajabi platform, in fact, that we offer a 14-day, risk-free trial.Check out the platform, get familiar with its features, and start creating your first online course from the moment you get access. It’s easier than you think.

Conclusion

Online marketing has become an essential pursuit for businesses all over the world. If you’re not online, you probably won’t be found by your target customers.

Fortunately, you have lots of ways to get involved with online marketing. From social media and blog posts to PPC and banner advertising, you can pick and choose the mediums that align best with your business model.

Best of all, you can do online marketing in just five simple steps. Set your goals, choose your primary platform, develop a strategy, build your content, and measure your progress.

That’s it.

Create online courses, articles, infographics, case studies, podcasts, and videos. You can do it all from the Kajabi platform, so there’s no excuse for not experimenting.

What’s your favorite online marketing strategy?

This article was originally published on the Kajabi Blog

Jonathan Cronstedt

Written by

Knowledge Commerce enthusiast, wine and vodka enjoyer, and all around digital marketing/edtech executive. President of Kajabi. Epic Wife and Cute Little Dog.

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