Internet marketing is a multi-dimensional thing with many facets and types but there are a few big names that immediately come to mind. Social Media Marketing, SEO, PPC, and Email Marketing are the ‘big four’ of online advertisement, and for good reason.

Unfortunately, most of us who aren’t pros have no idea which can benefit our business, or why. Here’s the short and skinny on all four, and why you should and should not use them.

1. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing or SMM is something of a new kid on the block compared to the other marketing methods here but it’s also quickly becoming one of the most popular. SMM allows a small business (or a large one) to get in touch with their fans, to create a social brand and to make sales through conversion.

As a marketing type, it offers almost limitless potential to the company willing to invest or work hard for it. Most importantly, you don’t necessarily have to be an expert to pull social off, you just have to be consistent, interesting and keep your content related to your niche.

2. Search Engine Optimization

Many blogs and small businesses only used SEO up until a few years ago. With no real need to be on social, most completely ignored this facet of the web in favour of creating more content and topics.

Today, social is an integral part of SEO, but the basics still stand. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is quite simply the process of optimizing content to appear in search. Hummingbird, Google’s latest update, uses question based semantic keywords, quality and author to decide which content shows up first in search.

As there is also a great deal of technical aspects including link building, and back end optimization, SEO is often more complex than most people expect. Because Google still dominates an estimated 66.7% of search, and being on the top of their search results can turn into thousands of clicks, SEO is still very important.

For the most part, modern SEO is about talking about a topic naturally, being helpful, offering quality content, and then presenting it to your audience.

SEO is hit and miss for making sales, because people who look up topics aren’t always planning to buy what they are looking up. For this reason, SEO is a good primary tactic for blogs, but not for businesses who rely on making sales.

3. Email Marketing

Email marketing has always been one of the most respected types of online promotion because it requires the person who receives the email to sign up for it. This allows for targeted emailing and promotion to persons who have shown interest in specific products or services, allowing for a higher conversion rate.

In fact, email currently trumps social conversion by some 12%, which is nothing to laugh at in the world of making sales. Emails are good for most types of promotion including sales, driving traffic, introducing new products or services, and even asking customers and clients what they want to see on your site.

Email marketing can go drastically wrong for those who don’t invest the time and the money to do it right so hiring a professional like the ones at is the best way to utilize your campaign to its best effect.

4. Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click or PPC is a loner in the crowd of internet marketing in that you pay for what you get rather than what you could get. While with SEO and SMM you pay one set price to have a service performed, you pay for each single click you get with PPC. This can offer more value per penny spent if done right, but can also quickly add up to a costly mistake for those who use the wrong keywords.

PPC is all about targeting ads to the right people so that the right interested parties click and make a purchase. PPC is not appropriate for anyone who will not be directly making money off of each click because clicks can add up quickly.

Most search engines including Google have a PPC program and the ‘Paid Click’ can appear in search results, in ads on websites who run search engine ads, and even in text links on blogs and websites with participating programs.

The plus side of PPC is that you can generate very real sales and interest but the downside is that in most search, users are more likely to click on the organic results rather than the paid ones.

Return On Investment (ROI)

While any of these marketing programs should be great for your business, especially if you use them together, you should pay very close attention to your ROI. A PPC campaign that generates less money than it spends is a waste of time (and money).

An SEO campaign that doesn’t leave you on the top of Google may also be a waste of time. Remember that choosing your battles wisely and investing where you can make money is the best way to go, especially if you’re on a limited budget.

Finally, you should keep in mind that if you’re not having any success on your own, bringing in the pros can also help you make more sales and more conversion.

About the author:  George Torres is a pro marketer that specializes in email marketing for companies of all sizes.
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