Online Marketing Overview

Online marketing is a fast-moving industry, so to stay ahead – you need to act fast and act smart. In this article, you will learn the basics of online marketing, to help you get on the right track.

Table of Content

What is Online Marketing?

Online marketing is the use of the internet to advertise a company’s products or services. This type of marketing involves various channels, including, but not limited to, social media, websites, and emails.

Compared to traditional advertising, online marketing is much more efficient. First of all, it does not cost as much as the old ways of marketing.

Apart from that, online marketing is more measurable.

Back in the day, companies did not have a clear way to measure the effectiveness of their efforts. Online marketing, on the other hand, uses analytic tools that show different metrics of their campaigns – thus, it is easy to evaluate their performance.

Even though creating an online marketing campaign is not easy, it takes a shorter process than, for example, creating a TV advertisement.

Read Also: Digital Marketing For Small Businesses

Online Marketing Approaches

Online marketing includes several strategies. Some of them are:

  1. Content marketing – creating informative content that is relevant to a specific group of audience.
  2. Affiliate marketing – paying affiliates to promote your products via their content.
  3. Email marketing – using emails to create or maintain a relationship with potential and existing clients.
  4. Social media marketing – creating and sharing content throughout multiple social media channels to attract and engage customers.
  5. Search engine optimization (SEO) – driving traffic to one’s website through organic search engine results. SEO has two categories: on-site and off-site.
  6. Pay-per-click (PPCads – attracting potential customers with ads in different online channels, including social media and search engines.
  7. Search engine marketing (SEM) – a similar strategy to PPC that is limited to search engines only.

Next, you will learn more about the concepts and the examples of each strategy.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the practice of engaging with potential customers through relevant information.

But why is it essential for your business?

Compared to traditional advertisements, content marketing is more effective.

Instead of hard-selling products, content marketers discuss problems that potential clients face and how to solve them. The approach highlights people’s needs while introducing your brand.

Caring for potential customers does not only capture their attention but also builds a relationship with them. Once people trust you, it will be easier to guide them to your brand.

One of the successful online marketing strategies that used content is McDonald’s Canada – Our Food Your Questions.

McDonald’s Canada – Our Food Your Questions

On this website, McDonald’s lets customers ask anything about their products. The company then displays all the questions with their answers.

The example below shows a question about McDonald’s french fries.

The company provided an answer and included a link to a video from their YouTube account that further explains the answer.

mcd food questions

A Long-Term Strategy

Content marketing will not work overnight because turning your audience into customers is a process. It involves three stages: awarenessconsideration, and decision.

People will not decide to buy from you immediately. That is why the type of content that you deliver has to be different for each stage.

You can check this example to find out what type of content is useful for each stage.

Awareness Stage

As the name says, people find out about your brand during this stage. However, they are probably not ready to follow your content yet. To have trust in the brand, potential customers need to know that your content can solve their problems.

You can get their attention by creating quality content – which addresses the pain points and gives solutions. But that is not all.

SEO, which you will also learn about in this article, plays a significant role in achieving the awareness stage.

If your blog articles, infographics, or videos do not continuously appear on the first page of search results, your site will not be as visible to potential clients.

Consideration Stage

After spreading brand awareness your job is to increase potential customers’ interest. It may not be the best option to use the same content as in the awareness stage.

Instead, you should suggest people subscribe to your newsletters.

However, not everyone is willing to do so without getting something in return. For that reason, you can offer freebies and downloadable material for every subscriber.

What is more, you can show your credibility by sending out such products as infographics and ebooks. By doing this, people will know that you understand their needs.

SEO is not less crucial in this stage. But potential customers will use longer and more specific search terms. Usually, they contain three or more words.

Here is an example: During the awareness stage, potential customers search for “productivity apps.” Later on, they realize that a note-taking app is what they need – thus, they may use “productivity apps for taking notes” instead.

Decision Stage

People in this stage are ready to buy from you. But they need a little push to do so.

To guide them into making a purchase, you need to insert call-to-action (CTA) statements in your content.

CTAs usually contain offers that will make potential customers want to use your service. For example, you can give a limited trial. If you sell products, providing a discount for the first purchase will attract people to make a purchase.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular online marketing strategies. It is an agreement where an affiliate refers seller’s products to others and gets a commission whenever someone makes a purchase.

This online marketing strategy involves three parties:

  • A seller
  • An affiliate
  • An affiliate network

The seller does not always have to be a big company. It can be an entrepreneur, like Michelle Gardner or Mariah Coz, who sells courses on how to become a blogger.

Affiliate marketing is possible without an affiliate network. However, its existence is crucial – especially to create better handling of the revenue system.

Apart from that, an affiliate network provides a list of businesses and products that marketers can choose from. If you do not know how to become an affiliate, joining a network is a good choice.

There are various affiliate marketing networks today, and some of the popular ones are:

  1. Hostinger Affiliate Program – an affiliate program that offers Hostinger’s web hosting services.
  2. Amazon Associates – Amazon’s affiliate system that allows you to sell e-commerce products and apps.
  3. Commission Junction – a well-known network that connects marketers with big companies.
  4. eBay Partner Network – another e-commerce giant that offers an affiliate program for online products.

How to Become an Affiliate Seller

It is probably easier for large businesses to find affiliates. However, not all affiliate sellers are well-known. Entrepreneurs and start-ups, for example, have to work harder in getting attention for their products.

If you fall into one of those categories and do not have something to sell yet, planning is crucial since you are competing against brands that people are already familiar with.

Regardless of your niche, you need to do market research and find a trend. By doing this, you can see how you can improve products or services that exist.

After creating a product, your task is to find an affiliate program.

There are many networks other than the ones mentioned above, and they usually have specific audiences. If you sell digital products, for example, Amazon Associates is a good option.

How to Become an Affiliate Marketer

The first thing to do as an affiliate is finding a product that you want to promote. It has to be related to your niche and you must be familiar with the product itself.

Otherwise, you cannot provide a credible review, and your audience will not want to buy the product.

More importantly, you need to have reliable content that can spark people’s interest in the product.

If you already created content with affiliate products, it is a good idea to build an email list by letting the audience to subscribe to you.

Building an email list in an affiliate marketing system has a couple of benefits. Firstly, your subscribers can get the latest information from you without having to go to your blog or website. Secondly, it will be easier for you to refer more products to subscribers.

Email Marketing

mailchimp email marketing service for online marketing

Email marketing is the use of email to build and maintain relationships with potential and existing customers.

In the days of social media, it remains a relevant method of online marketing. Here are some of the reasons:

  1. Personalization – today, people prefer personalized advertisements. Using the data that you collect through subscription forms, it is easier to put potential and existing customers into categories and send them relevant information.
  2. Automation – as the number of your clients grow, it is impossible to engage all of them manually. You can ease the effort by setting triggers to send them content that are relevant to their actions.
  3. Measurable – email marketing lets you measure the effectiveness of your campaign. There are various tools that you can use to show different metrics of your marketing efforts, such as MailChimp.

Collecting Email

Email marketing is not possible without access to your audience’s inbox. To get their email address, you need to attract them with a compelling call-to-action.

The kind of offers that make people interested to sign up for a subscription usually includes newsletters or updates. Apart from that, you can entice people with a free ebook or other downloadable materials.


People subscribe to you because they expect updates. However, you should still explain what content they can look up to. For that reason, sending the first email after every sign up is important.

Responding to new subscribers when you have a small email list may be easy. But as it grows bigger and bigger, you should use an email marketing tool that allows automatic responder.

It is also crucial to inform subscribers how often you will send newsletters. You have to deliver them consistently. Otherwise, this online marketing strategy will not work.


One of the advantages of using email as an online marketing media is personalization. You can get data from your audience and use it to create relevant content.

Apart from that, you can also create and give emails accordingly to site visitors’ activities. For example, you can send a booking confirmation like what Codeverse does in this example.

But how should you organize subscribers based on their data? This is where segmentation matters.

By segmenting your email list, you can create and give newsletters or other information that is more specific to customers’ needs.

Segmentation is a trial-and-error method. For that reason, it will be better if you can perform split tests on different audience categories, such as lifestyle, age, and occupation, to find the type of content that works.

Social Media Marketing

As the name says, this online marketing approach deals with content creation and sharing through social media channels.

With multiple social media platforms around, you need to know how people use each of them. In Twitter, for example, 43% of those who are between 30 to 49 years old use it to read the news. As a comparison, only 28% of users under 30 look for the news on the platform.

You should also know the best practices for each channel. For example, Facebook users are more likely to interact with posts with more than 80 words.

Apart from researching your target audience, there are other tips that you should implement in social media marketing. Here are some of them.

Content Type

To thrive in social media and ensure the success of your online marketing efforts, you need to know what kind of content attracts people. According to a report by Social Media Examiner, 74% of marketers use visual content.

With that in mind, you may want to use more videos and infographics in your posts.

However, creating visual content daily is harder than writing articles. Two methods can help you with this problem.

The first one is to establish a theme. This option does not only help you to plan content but also to create consistency across your posts.

Secondly, you may sometimes share what your followers talked about your brand. This method is especially popular on Instagram, where companies or organizations repost some followers’ content and credit them.

Check Moment’s post below for an example.

Track Competitors

If you are unsure of what social media marketing strategy to use, looking at what competitors do can give useful insights.

But first, you need to know who your competitors are. The easy way to do this is by using keywords related to your business in search engines. After that, you can compare which ones are active on social media and see how they are doing.

Another important task to do is to check competitors’ statistics. You can use social media analytics tools to do this.

Management Tools

Maintaining social media presence is not easy – especially if you manage more than one account. With many tasks to do, anyone doing this job can fall out of productivity in no time.

Due to that reason, it is essential to use social media management tools. Buffer, for example, gives marketers a lot of benefits.

The tool allows you to organize social media accounts in one place and schedule posts for future uploads.

But that is not all.

It also comes with the ability to track account and post’s performance, like how much interaction content receives.

Social media management tools may also let you use them with a team and set user roles for each member.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is one of the most important steps in online marketing.

On top of search engine result pages, you can find websites with the “ad” label underneath their title.

These sites are paid listings, which are non-organic search results. In other words, they appear on the top of a search result because their owner pays for it.

SEO is the opposite of that method. The challenge in this online marketing effort is to increase a website’s visibility through organic search results.

There are three key elements in SEO:

  • Organic Traffic – the number of people who visit a website without clicking on its advertisements.
  • Traffic Quality – internet users who visit your site because they are interested in what you offer.
  • Traffic Quantity – the combination of people who fit the two criteria above.

There are two types of SEO practices: on-site and off-site.

On-Site SEO

This method aims to increase web pages’ ranking in search engine results pages (SERP) by optimizing their elements.

The application of on-site SEO helps search engines to understand the content on a web page. Apart from that, it also enables to see if the page’s information is relevant to a keyword used to search for the topic.

What is more, the method lets search engines see whether the web page is good enough to rank high on search results.

However, on-site SEO does not only ease the job of search engines. Its focus is to present the best content for their users – with the following criteria:

  • Relevant
  • Reliable
  • Thorough
  • Easy to read
  • Original

Apart from content, there are other page elements that marketers add or modify, including:

  • Meta title and metadata
  • Page load speed
  • Internal and external linking
  • Page URL

Off-Site SEO

As the opposite of on-site SEO, this method’s function is to increase web page ranking by optimizing the elements outside your site. To be more specific, off-site SEO focuses on link building techniques.

Backlinking is beneficial for SEO because search engines see the number of backlinks as a sign that a page or a website has valuable information.

Apart from that, the popularity and trustworthiness of the site you link to also affect the backlink’s quality.

There are three types of link based on how you get them:

  • Natural – links that you create without the request from the owner of the site that you link to.
  • Manually built – links that you get or make through an agreement.
  • Self-created links – the act of adding backlinks in forums, comment threads, or online directory. You need to avoid this type since search engines forbid it.

However, off-site SEO does not only involve backlinking. It also includes activities that can improve your website’s credibility, such as:

  • Guest blogging
  • Brand mentions
  • Social media marketing

Pay-Per-Click Ads (PPC) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

PPC advertisement is an online marketing method in which you pay an amount of fee every time someone visits your site by clicking on its ad.

This online marketing approach includes various advertising platforms, but search engine marketing and social media ads are the most common.

To be able to display your ad, you need to bid on one or more keywords. The advertisement will appear whenever users search using the keywords that you bid on.

However, the mechanism of PPC ads is not that simple.

Whether you are up to Google Ads or social media advertising, you have to go through a keyword auction with other online marketers to be able to show your ad.

The winner of the auction is determined by two factors: CPC bid and the quality score. CPC bid is the highest cost among the bidders, while the quality score is the combination of page quality, relevance, and click-through rate.

Interestingly, Google offers less cost for those who have a high-quality score.

Keyword List

PPC advertisement is an online marketing strategy that involves a lot of keyword research. Without making a keyword list, you are losing opportunities to competitors.

Because of that, your research should include not only short, popular keywords in your niche but also the long, yet less common ones.

Since long-tail keywords are less competitive, you are more likely to be able to bid on them. Even better, they are more specific than their short counterparts – meaning that they are more relevant to your niche.

At the same time, you need to improve the quality of the landing pages for your PPC ads to get a higher quality score.


If you want your business to grow and thrive, you need to ensure, that your marketing is on point. One of the best ways to market your brand is by using various online marketing strategies.

Online marketing is a complex subject and covers multiple approaches:

  1. Content marketing
  2. Social media marketing
  3. Affiliate marketing
  4. Search engine optimization
  5. PPC ads and search engine marketing
  6. Email marketing

Ruben Harutyunyan

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