Online marketing has changed drastically over the past decade. It’s no longer a Wild, Wild West, where renegade affiliate marketers publish all sorts of low-quality articles stuffed with keywords in order to drive tons of traffic to their site. The game has indeed changed, and for the better. It now involves a more focused and intentional approach, one that consists of quality content and a real interest in your niche.

Here are the basic principles of online marketing, and what you should focus on to create a winning strategy.  

Keyword Research and SEO

Every good online marketing strategy starts with relevant keywords. Keywords or search terms (the words that people use to search for information), drive traffic to your site. When purchasing ads from Google or any other search engine, you have to decide which search terms are best for your campaign. The same goes for selecting the right terms to use in a blog post or on your website pages. This is the foundation of online marketing. Whether you plan to attract organic traffic, buy paid ads, or reach people via social media, keyword research is a must.

Producing Killer Content

After you have selected the most effective search terms, you’ll need to produce killer content; content that readers can’t live without. This may sound complicated, but it’s really a matter of helping someone solve a problem in the most efficient manner. Your product or service is designed to meet a need for your customer. Your job with content is to help the customer identify the need, and then show how you’re the best person to resolve it. A killer content marketing campaign should also touch on other topics related to your niche.

Social Media Presence

You can have the best content and an award-winning product, but if no one knows about it, then you’re no better off than the person starting from scratch. The best way to spread the word about what you have to offer, and connect with people who are looking for your products, is through social media. If you’re not a social person, or just unfamiliar with the multiple platforms and tools available, there are businesses that will take care of that part for you. You should however, have a basic understanding of how the major networks operate.

Analytics

With any digital marketing strategy, you will need to do some testing to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s important to measure results for each change that you make, whether it’s a new sign up button, or a new landing page. This can be time consuming, and sometimes requires tracking several results on a weekly basis. The best program to do this starting out is Google Analytics. It provides the information you need to track sales funnels and other important marketing success indicators.

Honesty and Transparency

People don’t buy from businesses. They buy from people they trust and connect with. In order to gain that trust, you have to be honest and transparent. This means if you’re inserting affiliate links into an article, leave a little disclaimer at the bottom letting readers know. If you’re being paid to review a product on your site, tell readers. Honesty and transparency are essential to internet marketing.

Taking the time to get to know your customers and their needs is the best way to ensure your online marketing success. This means attracting them with relevant search terms, creating awesome content around those keywords, sharing that content with them via social media, tracking the results of your efforts, and always being honest and transparent. If you do this, you’re sure to build a brand and business that will stand the test of time.