Online marketing is quite a broad term used to describe the act of marketing a business or web-site online. It encompasses all online marketing activities such as Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click, Email Advertising, Google Advertising, Banner Advertising and of course Social Media Advertising.

If you’ve ever met someone and discussed online marketing with someone who works in the online marketing industry, you were probably amazed at how much knowledge this person had of the Internet and its usage. Every Internet marketing expert I know loves to recite the latest statistics on the growth of social media marketing, browser usage and pretty much anything other useful online statistics. Most people I know look at online marketing as some sort of god like skill that only the elite and very web savvy fellows can possess. Much of this can be blamed on the self hype created by a lot of these new wave “marketing experts” who think only they possess this knowledge. The reality is that anyone can do this job and a lot of the tools they use to gather key statistical knowledge about your business is at your fingertips and generally for FREE!

Researching your target market is the key to a successful marketing campaign, whether online or off. But what information should you be looking for and where can you find it?

  1. Keyword Tools
    It sounds like the most obvious place to start, yet the majority of people I encounter every day don’t know that they can get statistics on the number of times a search for their product or service was searched for on a monthly basis. Not only do they not know they could get access to this information, they certainly didn’t know it was free!Keyword Tools are the best place to start when planning any online marketing campaign.

    Keyword tools allow you to quickly establish the amount of interest there is in your product or service by showing how often a keyphrase was searched for on a monthly basis across the major search engines. Most go one step further and create a list of other suggested relevant keyphrases that that people are using for when searching for the products or services you offer. A good keyword tool will also you to drill down to see statistics relating to searches in your locality as opposed to just globally.

    Google Keyword Tool is probably the best free Keyword Tool available on the web today.
    https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

  2. Google Ad Planner
    It’s not surprising that since Google make the majority of their revenue from Advertising that they would offer another great free service to help you establish how best to market your business online, step up Google Ad Planner.

    Google bought Doubleclick back in 2007 for $3.1 billion. Since then they’ve rolled out the Google Ad Planner to its network of advertisers. What’s great about Google Ad Planner is that you can research and select some of the web’s top properties that you would like to advertise your business on. It allows you to view statistical data such as the number of visits per month, search terms used to find the website and the demographics of users (where possible) of most of the webs largest online properties. You can pretty much see statistical usage information on any website that have advertising opportunities open to the public.

    If you want your advertisement to appear on some of the webs most popular websites, this is where your research should start.
    www.google.com/adplanner/

  3. Facebook
    There are over 1.5 million people in Ireland with a Facebook account, that’s simply a market too big to ignore. Facebook offer an advertising system similar to Google Adwords that allows advertisers to target specific users based on a number of different criteria such as sex, age, location, interests etc.

    A lot of web marketing experts use the Facebook “Create an Advert” system to get an idea of the demographics of those using Facebook. It’s quite a nifty little tool that updates immediately on screen as you select different criteria. Of course, you don’t have to complete the advert to access this extremely valuable information. Another great tool that is absolutely free!

    www.facebook.com/ads/create/

  4. Google Trends
    This is probably the least effective of all tools mentioned, but it’s definitely worthy of being in the list. Google Trends allows you to compare the world’s most popular topics. One really good feature in Google Trends is the ability to see the rise or fall of certain search terms used to find your product or service.

    For example, you could try a search for “online marketing, SEO“. The results will show you how people searching for the term “online marketing” has stayed pretty stagnant over the last 6 years, while searches for “SEO” have grown substantially. With this knowledge I can see what terms are best to focus now.

    Another cool feature to Google Trends is to see which terms are most popular in different countries.

    www.google.com/trends

  5. Google Adwords
    I always suggest Google Adwords as a tool to anyone who plans on marketing their business online. I’ve left it until very last because it’s the only one of the tools I have suggested that is not free. However, although it’s not free, it can be a hugely beneficial tool for gaining insights into the habits of those people you are targeting can be.

    Even running a small Google Adwords campaign on a budget of just €50 will give you invlauable information that you simply wouldn’t be able to gather in any other way. Google Adwords is instant, your advert is live within minutes and you can quickly analyse the performance of your advert on so many levels.

    Setting up and running a Google Adwords campaign is simple, but running an effective one is actually quite difficult. You should spend time learning about Google Adwords and how it works to fine tune your campaign.

    www.google.com/adwords

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