What is Internet Marketing?Depending on whom you ask, the term Internet marketing can mean a variety of things. At one time, Internet marketing consisted mostly of having a website or placing banner ads on other websites. On the other end of the spectrum, there are loads of companies telling you that you can make a fortune overnight on the Internet and who try to sell you some form of "Internet marketing program".
Today, Internet marketing, or online marketing, is evolving into a broader mix of components a company can use as a means of increasing sales - even if your business is done completely online, partly online, or completely offline. The decision to use Internet marketing as part of a company's overall marketing strategy is strictly up to the company of course, but as a rule, Internet marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of nearly every company's marketing mix. For some online businesses, it is the only form of marketing being practiced. Internet Marketing Objectives
Essentially, Internet marketing is using the Internet to do one or more of the following:
- Communicate a company's message about itself, its products, or its services online.
- Conduct research as to the nature (demographics, preferences, and needs) of existing and potential customers.
- Sell goods, services, or advertising space over the Internet.
Of all of the components of Internet marketing, prospective customers and clients expect a business to have a website. In fact, not having one could raise a red flag to a prospect. Online usage has become so pervasive today, many prospects might easily choose to do business with a company that they can get up-to-date information on 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Even a business that only has very local customers, such as a single location restaurant or shoe store can benefit from having a website and engaging in online marketing. And, those businesses whose customers are not restricted to a geographical area might have a difficult time finding an alternate method of attracting customers that offers the reasonably low expense and worldwide reach of a Web presence.
Because of the "virtual" nature of most home businesses, websites, if not an absolute necessity, can certainly provide benefits to a home business operator. Since most home-based businesses don't have a physical location, a website provides an inexpensive means for prospects to get to know what you do or what you sell and can even be a "storefront" for selling goods and services directly.
The Internet has greatly enabled home businesses to prosper because of the reasonably low cost to start and maintain a web presence. Therefore, Internet marketing should be part of your business plan and your marketing strategy.