What is Internet Marketing?

Internet marketing is growing by the minute across the world. More and more businesses are taking the marketing strategies online with more than effective results. So then, what is internet marketing?

Internet Marketing
Defining Internet Marketing
Internet marketing is as simple as advertising products or services over the World Wide Web or internet. More and more businesses are successfully taking their marketing strategies online (link to “Online Marketing Strategies” article), advertising high quality products and services to wider audiences via the internet. Prices or services and products, it has been noted over the years, are considerably lower when being offered online. Just the same, variety and choice is far greater and studies have revealed that the general online consumer favours the ability to conveniently compare prices without having to travel to a variety of stores.

Internet marketing has begun to revolutionise the way services and products are made available to the public, targeting specific audiences in greater numbers. Since the scale of the World Wide Web virtually reaches every corner of the globe almost instantly, internet marketing is set to grow and achieve as much success as the imagination can stretch.

Internet marketing is known by the following other names or terms:

  1. I – marketing
  2. Web marketing
  3. Online marketing
  4. eMarketing

Internet Marketing Business Models

  1. E-commerce – products and services are sold directly to a targeted consumer or business
  2. Publishing – this is the sale of advertising
  3. Lead – based websites – these are organisations that generate value from sales leads from its website
  4. Affiliated marketing – products and or services are sold by another active seller in order to acquire a share of the profits made. Marketing material is generally provided by the company who owns the product or service.

Internet Marketing Approaches

  • One – to – one – internet marketers are able to specifically design and co-ordinate product or service messages to reach their targeted audience on a more personal level. Internet marketers use the one to one approach by means of search advertising. This means that advertisements are based on search engine keywords typed in on major portals such as Google, MSN and Yahoo. 
  • Appealing to an audience’s specific interests – internet marketing is orientated towards appealing to the specific behaviour or interests of their targeted market instead of a more broadly defined demographic. Internet marketers can target their consumer audience by means of activity and geolocation (real work geographic location of an internet connected computer, mobile device or website visitor etc). This approach therefore allows marketers to post advertisements on websites directly relating to a company’s specific products or services.
  • Geo-targeting – method used to determine the geolocation or physical location if a website visitor (city, region or state and country etc). Two methods include:
  • Different content by choice – users have the choice to select their own country location upon entering a website. The user is then immediately taken to a different site or article content based on their country selection.
  • Automated different content – different content is made available for website users based on their geographical geolocation, as well as personal information.

Types Of Internet Marketing

  • Online versions of retail stores – many retail stores already in business are creating online versions of their products and or services for the sole purpose of creating awareness to a broader target online consumer audience. Sales are not generated off of these websites, but instead provide product or services information to potential customers likely to buy in the real world. 
  • Online services – customer service industries, such as travel, banking and even dating are making the move to functioning online. This serves as a profitable extension to existing business operating in the real world.
  • Online advertising and promotion – routes available for internet marketers to choose from are plentiful with more than satisfactory results and benefits. Means of advertising and promoting a product or service can be done in the following ways:
  • Pay per click (PPC)
  • Keyword marketing – Keywords entered into major search engines
  • Affiliate marketing – this lucrative option allows an online marketer to join an affiliate program thereby enabling them to promote services and or products on the internet. A company markets a product or service, acquire customers and receive a portion or commission after each and every sale that is made.

Benefits & Limitations
Benefits

  1. Cost effective advertising – costs for the distribution of information and media to a more global, targeted audience are lower. 
  2. Convenience – this medium of digital media offers consumers quick results, at their disposal any time of day or night
  3. Marketing tracking – statistics can be measured easily, inexpensively and accurately using internet marketing techniques and strategies. Virtually all aspects of an online marketing campaign can be traced and therefore devise a follow up plan of action that is almost tailor made for their targeted audience.

Limitations

  1. Technology – consumers must keep up with technological advancements. Those with low speed internet connections trying to access a website, for example that has been designed as overly complicated or particularly large will encounter delays and difficulties. A “barrier” is then placed in front of the consumer and delays in content delivery will be experienced. 
  2. Digital versus tangible – online consumers are restricted in that products do not cause a sensory reaction (touch, smell and taste etc). 
  3. Online security – customer privacy is an issue that is rampant the world over. Many online businesses, unfortunately, do give away or sell customer or user information to other companies. A customer or user is never aware when their personal information exchanges hands and is not in control where permission is concerned.

In Conclusion
Internet marketing is flexible and convenient. This is its primary attraction and the underlying reasons why it’s a method that is able to achieve such success. The options for attaining success are wide open with little restriction. Business owners have the opportunity to “be their own boss”, set their own working or operational hours and even work from home if the choice is a profitable one. Marketing online has the added bonus of being able to run by itself (automated).