Defining Internet Marketing
Internet marketing is the activity of both advertising and selling goods and services online. This type of business is constantly growing in popularity, with millions of people now buying things on the internet. Internet marketing started in the early 1990s as mainly a means of product identification, consisting mostly of written descriptions. As technology grew, internet marketing quickly grew to include photos and other rich graphics as a means of advertising for products and services. After taking notice of the incredible possibilities of this avenue of selling, internet-based businesses began to open their virtual shops for business. Unlike what is happening in what are now known as “brick and mortar” businesses, these e-businesses extend their merchandise to a increasing number of buyers, conducting almost all of their transactions in the virtual stores of the internet.
There are numerous kinds of marketing online. These include: article marketing, blog promotions, e-mail sales letters, search engine marketing (to include search engine optimization), banner ads, pay-per-click ads, and pop-up advertising. It is imperative to know that each of these methods captures the attention of the target customer in a unique way, and some work better than others depending on what is being sold, the target audience, and the method and goal of the business marketing itself. Among the things that may require using a varied method are customer service, sales, public relations and information management.
Internet marketing has also become an important part of many “brick and mortar” businesses, but online-only companies have offered some competition in the area of retail sales. Still other online-only businesses have spread out into newer methods such as online auctions. There are even places that allow the consumer to set a price and others that help the consumer find the best deal. Affiliate marketers have appeared, adding another avenue for online marketers. These businesses work on what is called pay for performance. Even the home-bound crafter has a place on the internet to sell creations.
Online marketing offers many benefits. A person can shop anytime, anywhere as long as there is a place to connect to the internet. Partnerships enjoy a greater chance of working. Online shopping has added efficiency and speed over the old way of doing business. Even costs have been dramatically lowered. Sales taxes have yet to catch up with the internet and most times these added charges to consumers are non-existent..
Online security and the sometimes unreliability of internet connections are two disadvantages of internet sales. Progress is slowly being made to rectify both these problems and it is a sure bet that the progress will continue until solutions are found.