Savvy Internet marketing professionals know that increasing website traffic, sales and income requires more effort than simply writing and posting content on a website. A sound marketing strategy is essential for bloggers and other content publishers. Three ways to accomplish these goals are affiliate marketing, social media and search engine optimization (SEO).

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a way to earn commission by promoting a business’s products, services or website. Each time a product purchase is generated from the affiliate marketer’s website, he or she earns a commission. For example, a fashion blogger might write a review of a particular brand of t-shirts. When readers click on the link to the t-shirt seller’s site and make a purchase, a percentage of the sale goes to the blogger. Affiliate marketing is a win-win situation for both parties. Advertisers pay only when a sale occurs, and affiliates can earn a passive income.

Here’s How Affiliate Marketing Works

  • Website owners sign up for a related merchant’s affiliate program, and become an “affiliate.”
  • Affiliates mention the merchant on their websites, and embed a special affiliate link.
  • Readers visit the affiliate’s website, view the post and click on the affiliate link.
  • If a purchase is then made by the visitor, the merchant logs a credit for the sales commission to the affiliate, according to the terms of their agreement.
  • At the end of a given period (usually a month) the merchant sends the affiliate a payment for all commissions earned.

Affiliate marketing works best when there is a trust relationship between readers, the affiliate and the merchant. When affiliates promote quality products, their readers continue to trust their recommendations. Promoting the wrong product can result in a loss of that trust.

Marketing Through SEO

Regardless of a business’s size, if it has a web presence, it can benefit from search engine optimization (SEO). SEO means creating web page that contain the elements needed for the most popular search engines to find it, index it and rank it highly in the results pages. SEO can mean the difference between ranking high and not ranking at all on search engine results pages, which can make or break an online campaign.

Ranking high for a particular keyword phrase also requires well-written, unique content that contains that specific keyword or phrase. It’s also important to get other sites to link back to that content. When a search engine sees high quality sites linking to a business’s website or blog, it will consider the link to be an endorsement from the high quality site. This will help the site to move up in search engine results. Links build credibility.

Finally, a business owner or content publisher should learn how to incorporate keyword phrases into the site’s title tags, domain name, description and image tags, blog posts and other onsite content. It will take some time to see a website begin to rank higher in search engine results, but with consistent effort and quality content, it can happen.

Using Social Media to Promote a Website

Popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest have become important channels for promoting a business on the web. Social media requires a constant, consistent effort – it’s not something you can do once in a while and expect to see any results. The first step is to develop a social media strategy: determine where your most promising prospective customers and influencers “hang out” on the web, and build a strong presence there. Be sure to stay current with new trends, networks and tools, or you’ll soon fall behind.

What Social Media Marketers Should Know

  • How to use social media metrics to measure and evaluate interactions and browsing behavior.
  • The importance of influence in social media.
  • How to use tools that support testing, reporting and analytics.
  • How mobile devices have changed the face of social media.

Strong social media skills are a must-have for Internet marketing professionals, entrepreneurs or anyone involved in marketing today.

Internet Marketing Education and Preparation

When hiring for Internet marketing positions, most employers require a college education, along with related experience. Professionals in this field usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, journalism or a related field.

The specialized knowledge that comes with obtaining an advanced degree may be required for many high-ranking Internet marketing positions. Employers may show preference to candidates with master’s level degrees, such as an MBA with a Specialization in Marketing, which teach:

  • How to build effective online marketing strategies.
  • Tracking and measuring techniques for online marketing campaigns.
  • The various emerging technologies that can build and promote a web presence and improve performance.
  • How to implement B2B and e-business strategies.

It’s possible to land an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree, and then work toward an MBA while working in the field. Some employers offer tuition-assistance programs to employees who wish to advance their educations.

Other Qualifications Internet Marketers Need for Success

In addition to the right educational background, successful Internet marketing professionals generally have the following qualifications:

  • Analytical Skills – The ability to analyze data showing browsing and buying habits of customers, along with trends and campaign results.
  • Interpersonal Skills – Working on a team and dealing with a wide range of personalities is important in this field.
  • Decision-making Skills – Determining which way to go on a strategy or tactic can mean the difference between campaign success and failure.
  • Creativity – Staying ahead of the competition takes imaginative and creative ideas.

The MBA with a Specialization in Marketing Degree Program

Florida Tech University Online offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Specialization in Marketing degree program 100% online, so marketing professionals can learn the latest Internet marketing techniques and strategies.

This MBA specialty program combines core business principles with proven Internet marketing strategies that employers need now to remain competitive in a crowded, complex marketplace. The MBA in Marketing curriculum includes courses such as:

Each course in this innovative program is offered 100% online, so busy professionals can take advantage of career-enhancing education, no matter where they are. Classes are available 24/7 and delivered through a dynamic online video platform.

Boost Your Internet Marketing Efforts and Your Career

Internet marketing is a solid way to grow traffic and revenues – but only by using proven techniques and strategies. As social media, affiliate marketing, SEO and technology continue to change quickly, demand for skilled Internet marketers should also continue. If you’re computer savvy, enjoy analyzing data and are interested in helping businesses grow through the Internet, you may be a great fit for this rewarding career. Check out Florida Tech’s MBA in Marketing program, and get started today.

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