Internet Marketing with WordPress

By David Mercer
  • Instant online access to over 7,500+ books and videos
  • Constantly updated with 100+ new titles each month
  • Breadth and depth in over 1,000+ technologies

About this book

With over 60 million WordPress blogs in existence, how does your customer know which one to visit? And with so many companies out there, all clamoring for attention, how will visitors know whether to spend their money with you? The answers are in this book. Create a WordPress blog which will instantly capture your target audience, build your reputation, and turn visitors into paying customers.


Following the program contained in this book, you will turn your blog into a customer magnet using the simplest techniques available, including SEO, social media, market analysis, targeted content and more.Gain an excellent understanding of the online marketing cycle through this practical step-by-step tutorial. Discover who your target market is. Learn what they want and how best to deliver it. Start generating more and more interest with less effort and ultimately meet and exceed all your goals.

Publication date:
November 2011
Publisher
Packt
Pages
112
ISBN
9781849516747

 

Chapter 1. Introduction to WordPress Marketing

A successful WordPress blog or site is one that insinuates itself into the fabric of the Web really well. It contributes to the rich tapestry of interlinked blogs, sites, and social media, and becomes part and parcel of daily life in its particular niche. A good site does not standalone. Instead, it provides a platform for people to find information, become engaged, or be entertained.

Fitting into your niche

Using WordPress gives you a competitive advantage because you can spend more time focusing on creating content and marketing your ideas, products, or services without having to learn how to be a competent programmer.

This is important because there is a complex web of relationships, competition, and creativity that goes into carving out a niche. You will compete directly with some people, collaborate with others, teach still more and, hopefully, learn from others at the same time. In particular, a blog from WordPress.com makes it very easy to engage with your niche because it comes ready-made with virtually everything a modern site needs—including a large and active community of bloggers.

In any given niche, there are already established players, newbies, spammers, bloggers, forums, wannabies, and so on. Much about online success or failure comes down to the art of dealing with these different people in a variety of different settings because it is these people who may ultimately recommend or shun you and have a direct bearing on your success or failure.

 

Fitting into your niche


Using WordPress gives you a competitive advantage because you can spend more time focusing on creating content and marketing your ideas, products, or services without having to learn how to be a competent programmer.

This is important because there is a complex web of relationships, competition, and creativity that goes into carving out a niche. You will compete directly with some people, collaborate with others, teach still more and, hopefully, learn from others at the same time. In particular, a blog from WordPress.com makes it very easy to engage with your niche because it comes ready-made with virtually everything a modern site needs—including a large and active community of bloggers.

In any given niche, there are already established players, newbies, spammers, bloggers, forums, wannabies, and so on. Much about online success or failure comes down to the art of dealing with these different people in a variety of different settings because it is these people who may ultimately recommend or shun you and have a direct bearing on your success or failure.

 

Internet marketing overview


I don't want to spend too long introducing all the different terms and concepts involved in the field of Internet marketing. I am a firm believer in jumping in and learning to swim—which is why this book is short, sweet, and packed with useful stuff that you can use in the real world.

With that said, it is important that you are at least familiar with the major terms, concepts, and processes I am going to use; and it won't hurt to give you a bird's-eye view of the how, why, what, where, and when of marketing online. You don't need to be a marketing pro to benefit from the straightforward process contained in this book.

The following steps are the overall process we are going to follow:

  1. 1. Define business objectives

  2. 2. Identify target audience

  3. 3. Create content

  4. 4. Drive traffic

  5. 5. Convert traffic (monetize)

  6. 6. Analyze

  7. 7. Refine

  8. 8. Repeat

This chapter is going to define and explain all the terms used in this list and place them within the context of the Internet and Internet marketing. We will also cover the first two steps here as these are really pre-marketing preparatory steps; in other words, things you need to know before you start marketing at all.

 

Understanding Internet marketing


The following diagram represents a blog or website within the context of the Internet from a marketing perspective:

The top layer of this diagram represents the market or audience—all the people out there surfing the web. Note that this mass of people can be broken up into niches, represented by the boxes contained within the overall Market/Audience. A niche can be defined as a specific interest group. For example, some people want to learn about pottery, some enjoy astrophysics.

The diagram has been simplified to show how niche interest groups use search engines and social networks to find the content they are after. Of course, they might well go directly to their favorite forum or niche website without using a search engine, but a large proportion of all traffic goes through search engines and social networks, so this serves as a good model.

Note that different parts of this diagram are related by arrows. In this instance, an arrow represents traffic. Traffic is the term used to describe a flow of visitors. Some arrows are one way, indicating that traffic flows from one segment to the other. For example, the arrow between the search engines and your blog is denoted as one way, indicating that traffic comes from the search engines to your site, but not the other way. Two-way arrows mean that traffic, in general, passes either way.

By looking at the web of different arrows, you can see that your site or blog needs to integrate itself into the fabric of the Internet. In order to effectively market a blog, you need to make connections, share content, offer opinions, comment on other people's content, and so on. All of this helps to add links to and from other blogs, forums, social networks, and so on. This growing network of links is what starts traffic flowing through your site.

Like any system, there has to be a driving force that keeps the traffic flowing. Our cars need petrol to keep moving, plants need energy from the sun to keep growing, and so on. The fuel that drives traffic on the Internet is content. When I talk about "content", I mean anything and everything from the written word to a YouTube video, PPC ad, audio file, podcast, and just about anything and everything that humans can interact with in someway.

That is important! Content is what drives traffic.

 

Pre-marketing preparation


The following chapter is going to talk about how to create that content in the most efficient and effective way in order to drive traffic through your blog. However, there is one more important feature of the earlier diagram that we need to talk about before we can begin, and that is identifying your target market or target audience.

You can think of a target market as one or more defined groups of people who are interested in what you have to say or offer. This is an extremely important concept. While the Internet is a vast place with many millions of people online, inevitably, individuals or small groups of individuals are only interested in certain things at certain times.

Your job as a marketer is to determine which niche interest groups constitute your target market and go after only those people.

Note

It is a monumental waste of effort marketing to no one in particular.

If you refer back to the earlier diagram, you will note that traffic arrows coming from the market into the search engines and social media sites only came from certain niches and not every niche. This is because I want to make it clear that, depending on the content of your blog or site, only certain niche groups will be interested.

So, before you even begin marketing to anyone, you need to make sure you understand the value of what you are offering, and who is likely to want that offering. When I refer to "value", I don't mean, necessarily, in physical dollar and cents terms. You might, for example, offer your opinion on politics or climate change. People may not have to pay to read that opinion, but if they are interested in what you have to say, it holds value for them.

Pre-marketing preparation procedure

The following diagram represents how to prepare for an Internet marketing campaign:

From this diagram, you can see that aside from understanding the value offering (knowing how and why people will derive value from what you offer), it is also important to first create business objectives that will ultimately be met by your marketing efforts combined with the blog or site.

In the Internet marketing sense, a business objective is a goal you want your blog to achieve. It could be generating revenue through advertising, it could be getting visitors to sign up to your newsletter, or anything else. When a visitor comes to your website and performs an action that fulfils one or more business objectives, that is called a conversion.

A conversion doesn't necessarily have to mean that some form of financial transaction takes place. However, it is important to understand that because marketing is labor intensive, and in some cases financially draining, you should generally frame your efforts within a financial context. That is to say, spend a bit of time working out how best to assign a monetary value to your conversions.

If one of your goals is to sign people up to a newsletter, then you should know how and where you can make money from this newsletter down the line. Perhaps you will market your products or provide links to special offers on your e-commerce site. However, after you monetize that newsletter, you can generally work out how much you expect to earn per sign up. Once the newsletter has been running for some time, you can then make exact calculations based on the number of people signed up and the revenue generated as a result.

For example, if you earn on average $30 in product sales for each new customer, and you gain one new customer for every 100 newsletter signups, then you could work out that $30/100 = 30 cents. This is the value of each newsletter sign up to you. Thinking about those 30 cents helps motivate you to get people signed up.

By ensuring that you properly monetize your blog, you should at least be able to pay for the high-end servers required when the marketing efforts pay off and you start getting millions of visitors. The term "monetize" refers to one or more methods used to generate revenue. This could be a result of advertising, affiliate revenue, e-commerce sales, or any number of other things.

Before we discuss the two pre-marketing preparation tasks in a bit more depth, you are now ready for a bird's-eye summary of Internet marketing in its entirety.

Note

Internet marketing is the process of creating content in order to drive targeted traffic to a blog or website and convert it to meet defined business objectives.

Once our pre-marketing preparation is complete, we are going to dive right in and begin creating content.

 

Defining business objectives


By clearly defining the expectations for a blog or site, you are in a better position to act coherently towards achieving them, as opposed to writing content in the vague hope people will start reading it and visit regularly.

Business objectives can vary depending on how you intend to convert and monetize traffic. For example, the primary business objective for an e-commerce site is generally to get customers to make a purchase or, more likely, to make repeated purchases. Whereas, the objectives of an affiliate marketer may be to drive targeted, high quality traffic to their affiliate partners.

The abstract case that applies to any blog or site is as follows:

  • Attract highly relevant traffic

  • Engage that traffic

  • Get that traffic to take action (such as sign-ups, subscriptions, purchases, and so on)

The last step is one of the most important. For example, you might decide to create a newsletter that keeps readers informed about the latest on-going activities in your particular niche. One of your primary business objectives is, therefore, to get visitors to take action by signing up to the newsletter.

Getting visitors to sign up to a newsletter may require slightly different methods than getting them to donate $100 to a non-profit organization. The point being that effectively planning your objectives can encourage you to precisely analyze visitors' needs and provide focused and relevant content, rather than wasting time on content that doesn't convert.

Finally, an important aspect of any business (whether it is a blog or hardware store) is to become highly regarded and widely known in its niche. Becoming an indispensable part of the fabric of a niche community is immeasurably valuable. As a result, at least one of your business objectives should focus on the blog or site's standing. You will learn all about this in Chapter 4.

Make sure you visit the exercises for this chapter for a bit of practice with creating business objectives. You can find them in the download pack on www.packtpub.com/support. First click on the selection box as shown in the following screenshot, and select the title of this book:

Then enter your e-mail address or log in to your Packt account to download the exercises. Make sure you select the newsletter option to receive news of frequent offers!

By the way, can you see what the publishers have done here? They are doing what we have been learning in this chapter—getting the reader to take action, monetizing, and engaging with the reader by offering extra content.

Alternatively, you can also go to my site where you have access to marked online quizzes, community involvement, and extras at www.siteprebuilder.com and look in the BOOKS section.

 

Identifying the target audience


With a well-defined list of business objectives in hand, you are now ready to work out who you want to reach in order to best meet those goals. In other words, the businesses objectives help determine the target audience.

As it is quite likely that many readers will already have a blog or site up and running at this stage, it is important to state upfront that if, as a result of the research you perform here, you find that your blog or site, in its current form, is not suitable, then it may be necessary to refocus what you have or start a new blog. Don't be afraid to change direction. Rather bite the bullet now than persist with a site that you don't believe will be effective.

Doing a bit of research into who might be interested in your product or service (your target market) can often yield surprising results. For example, you might have a business selling garden furniture with a blog on growing garden plants. The obvious audience for a blog such as this would be home owners as they are most likely to have gardens. What about people who live in apartments?

In all likelihood, gardening services and landscape artists might also be interested in a good quality blog on this topic. These businesses might be interested in a slightly different aspect of gardening, although no doubt there are topics that will appeal to both groups.

Is that all?

What about regional differences? Garden plants in Vermont are not likely to have much appeal to gardeners in New Mexico, unless they are determined to fly in the face of natural selection. Who are you going to cater for?

What about age groups? How many teenagers enjoy gardening work? As unreal as a hardworking teen might sound, I am sure there are one or two lurking around. But do they fit your target market? Probably not, as they are unlikely to own homes and gardens, and therefore won't need garden furniture.

Is income bracket a factor? People who live in apartments may not have the resources or inclination to read up on the fascinating world of garden plants. City dwellers may be very high earners, but still not be interested in gardening. So, urban and sub-urban people may be different in this regard. By considering each and every aspect that goes into making up ideal visitors, you can begin to piece together how to present content and information to best meet the stated business objectives.

Note

Any given audience consists of smaller subgroups. Content should be created to target specific subgroups in order to be as relevant as possible.

In particular, knowing who you are aiming at can help determine the structure of your WordPress blog or site as a whole. Major subgroups of your target market could have content categorized and presented in focused, relevant segments (for example, possibly displayed in the main menu links).

Remember that you can target different market segments organically; focus on one or two major audience subgroups and then branch out once you have additional resources or demand.

Reach the target audience

Knowing who you are catering for is one thing. Knowing how a particular niche industry is already organized is another. It may be that the people you wish to reach tend to use chat groups regularly. Maybe they cluster around one or two large forums, or are widely spread out in smaller communities.

Spend some time learning who the players are. Think about whether they would make a strategic ally or whether they are direct competitors. Find out where the action is. Do people gather at conventions and meet face-to-face, do they hold webinars, or are they disparate and thin on the ground?

Learn what is popular and what isn't. Online communities often have their own flavor or way of doing things. Some, for example, will disallow strong language completely and encourage a tone of respect of moderation. Other communities are barely moderated at all and adopt an "anything goes" attitude.

As your WordPress blog (or the website your blog is integrated with) is going to have to integrate well into the existing networks and communities, it is important to ensure that the content you offer is acceptable within the context of the wider community.

 

Summary


This introduction has given you an overview of how traffic moves around the Internet, how to define the business objectives that will shape your content, and how to prepare for a new marketing campaign by researching target audiences. In addition, if you weren't familiar with general marketing lingo, you should be now.

The most important thing to take from this chapter is the bird's-eye summary of Internet marketing that was provided in the pre-marketing preparation section. It is worth repeating it here:

Note

Internet marketing is the process of creating content in order to drive targeted traffic to a blog or website and convert it to meet defined business objectives.

This single sentence encompasses all the major aspects of Internet marketing. While we haven't yet looked at how best to convert traffic, or analyze traffic patterns and refine our marketing, all of these processes will be easy to understand, provided you keep this definition in mind.

As mentioned, the following chapter will discuss how to create great content that will act as the fuel that drives traffic, and ultimately revenue.

About the Author

  • David Mercer

    David Mercer was born in August 1976 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Having always had a strong interest in science, David came into regular contact with computers at university where he graduated "cum laude" with majors in applied math and math.

    His technical books are now sold worldwide and have been translated into French, German, Polish, Greek, Spanish and many more. His book on Drupal 6 was reviewed on Slashdot and went on to become a best seller. Mercer's books are recommended reading at higher learning institutes like MIT, and he has a write-up on Wikipedia.

    He also maintains SME Pals, a blog dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and startups thrive online. SME Pals has become a recommended entreperneurial resource with many leading educational institutions because it has a strong focus on innovative business ideas and how to convert them into profitable startups.

    When he isn't working (which isn't that often) he enjoys playing guitar (generally on stage and unrehearsed) and getting involved in outdoor activities ranging from touch rugby and golf to water skiing and snowboarding.

    Browse publications by this author