Online marketing can sound very easy to a beginner. “Online marketing” is such a catch-all phrase that it can be misleading, and if you’re not careful, it can lead to getting in over your head, beginner or not. It’s become an umbrella term, under which, you can place many types of distinct marketing practices. Among them are: social media marketing, SEM (which branches into PPC, display, remarketing etc.) SEO, organic growth, community management, email marketing, content marketing, and affiliate marketing. That’s only naming a few. In a nutshell, online marketing, marketing online, or digital marketing, whichever term you prefer (not necessarily listed here), is a very diverse field. Don’t take my word for it, check out the Wikipedia entry!
All of these separate disciplines of digital marketing do share some common properties. Whether you’re posting on your company’s Facebook page or serving up text ads, your goal is to reach people online that have not necessarily heard of you before. You’re trying to reach people with some sort of creative content optimized to catch the eye of a potential customer. How do you decide who to reach? You’re doing some form of targeting, and overwhelmingly, it boils down to search. Example: You sell shoes, so you make sure you’re mentioning “shoes” in your ads and your website copy so that when someone searches up “shoe cleaning” on YouTube, your ad is being displayed to them (when appropriate, we’ll get into that later), or they’re seeing your website organically in search engine results for similar terms. That’s a good thing because you’re aligning yourself with a complementary product and you’re getting the attention of someone that wasn’t necessarily looking for you to begin with.
That’s the most important point to keep in mind. You have to be aware of what your potential customers are looking for and boil those things down into a list of keywords. Whatever product or services you’re attempting to sell online, always be aware of how people will find you. They will find you and your product through search. What search terms are your customers using online?
Keywords are especially important to us here at 7Search. When you become a 7Search advertiser you create a campaign that serves text ads. The text ads are served to an audience dependedt on the keywords the audience is using. Check out our Keyword Suggestion Tool to get a look at the volume of keyword searches (preferably keywords that are relevant to you and your business) on our network and how much they cost per click.
Let’s go back to our shoes example when coming up with keywords. When creating your list you want to separate them into categories that you decide are appropriate. For our purposes we’ll separate them into specific, broad, negative and complementary.
When coming up with broader keywords, stick to the same vertical, but you can up the complexity and start using terms that encompass more, like “shoes, loafers, boot, running shoes, dress shoes etc.” You’re quite literally broadening the search terms and opening the doors for a wider audience to find you. With smart use, broad keywords can bring in massive amounts of traffic. The use of broad keywords can be a slippery slope too, while broadening the scope of your keywords, make context your top priority and try to stay as close to relevant as possible. Using “t-shirts” as a keyword when you sell shoes, isn’t going to help you, in fact, it will probably hurt you.
With context in mind, let’s talk about negative keywords. Negative keywords are essentially modifiers that let the 7Search network know what keywords you don’t want your campaign to be associated with. The most common example of a negative keyword is the word “free”. If someone’s doing a search for “free shoes”, you don’t want to show them your ad because, in all likelihood, that person is not going to make a purchase. Rather than risk an irrelevant audience taking a bite out of your budget, add “free” to your negative keyword list and exclude them all together! Another example would be “sell shoes online”, you would make “sell” a negative keyword because you want users that will BUY your shoes, not users that want to sell their own shoes.
Don’t let complementary keywords go by the wayside either. Again, context has value. People that buy shoes probably need socks. “Socks” would be a good keyword, it wouldn’t hurt to carry socks in your store either to make it even more relevant. Don’t pass up the cross-sell opportunity!
This is only scratching the surface, but you begin to see how all of this is related to that umbrella term of online marketing. There are many paths that customers could potentially find you by. You can be posting on social media, creating product description pages and buying ads on networks like 7Search. Whatever you’re doing the customers’ path starts with search terms and the keywords they use. Put yourself in their shoes and make it easy for your customers to find you. A keyword list does not have to be long and full of obscure terms, try to keep it quality and contextually relevant!