Basics: What is Internet Marketing?
There’s a common misconception about what internet marketing is. To some, internet marketing has something to do with a pyramid scheme. They‚Äôve probably had an acquaintance send an e-mail or Facebook message about how they‚Äôre making all this money doing what they love online. All you have to do to be a part of it is pay $99. This sometimes is labelled as “internet marketing,” but it’s not. It‚Äôs simply pyramid scheme 2.0. People are now just using the internet to “market” their business of selling nothing.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about what internet marketing really is. Internet marketing is just marketing, but on the internet. It’s simply the promotion of a business, product or service using online channels. The basic online channels today are made up of websites, social networks, search engines, online publications, e-mail and mobile networks. Below is a brief overview of each online channel:
While all of the online channels basically fall into this category (they’re all websites), this is primarily business websites and microsites. In the case of the company Coca-Cola, this would be their corporate website: www.coca-cola.com or a product microsite like www.cocacolazero.com.
Social network online channels are where businesses can interact with their customers and prospects with the intent of promoting their products and services. This can either be through what we call social media optimization, which is simply businesses creating and using social media accounts, or what we call social media marketing, which is simply paying to place advertisements on social networks. In the case of Coca-Cola, this would be their Facebook page or their promoted tweets on Twitter.
Search engines are another place to promote your business online. This is typically given the umbrella term of “search engine marketing” and is made up of search engine optimization and search engine advertising. Read our “Basics” blog posts on each of these to learn more. In the case of Coca-Cola, this would be their search engine advertisements or their optimization for the term “diet cola.”
Online publications serve a similar purpose to that of newspapers in the offline age. To businesses they are important because they have large audiences and wherever there‚Äôs a large audience, there’s a place for advertisements. This is sometimes also called display advertising. In the case of Coca-Cola, this would be their advertisement on an online publication like msnbc.com or Yahoo Finance.
The e-mail channel (e-mail marketing) is another internet marketing channel where a business would send marketing material to their audiences using e-mail. This would be similar to Coca-Cola sending an e-mail to consumers about their My Coke Rewards program.
Mobile networks are a fairly new frontier in the world of internet marketing. There is a growing mobile-device-using population and advertisers are looking to reach them in a variety of ways. First is through traditional advertising, serving ads on mobile websites and within mobile applications. Another is through mobile campaigns, such as offering discounts to customers who use their phone to “check-in” at their store location (this example would be a hybrid with social media marketing).
Hopefully this gives you a good overview of what internet marketing is and why it’s valuable to businesses. We believe that internet marketing is the absolute best way to spend your marketing budget because of the results (read our blog post about it here).