Internet marketing is an all-inclusive term for marketing products and services online. This includes a variety of methods and platforms for communicating with customers, such as website, email, social media, and online advertising.
Learn more about internet marketing, its role and importance in business, and how to use it to your benefit.
What Is Internet Marketing?
Internet marketing refers to the strategies used to market products and services online and through other digital means. These can include a variety of online platforms, tools, and content delivery systems, such as:
- Website content and design
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Online ads
- Sponsorships and paid promotions
While internet marketing's apparent purpose is to sell goods and services, or advertising over the internet, it's not the only reason a business will do it.
A company may be marketing online to communicate a message about itself building its brand or to conduct research. Online marketing can also be an effective way to identify a target market, discover a marketing segment's wants and needs, build long-term relationships with customers, or establish authority and expertise within an industry.
- Alternate names: E-marketing, web marketing, digital marketing
You can use email for sending direct mail electronically, rather than through the post office. Collect customer emails either through purchases or website sign-ups, then use emails to share important information, encourage purchases, and build relationships.
Email allows you to reach customers individually and personally. A 2019 retail study looking at more than one billion shopping sessions found that email marketing had a conversion rate of 2.5%, compared to only 1.1% for social media. (The highest conversation rate was direct referral, at 3.0%)11
Most consumers use some kind of social media, though the type you will focus on will depend on the behavior of your target market.
More than 90% of 18 to 29-year-olds use social media of some kind, and while use decreases with age, it can still be used to reach consumers in all age brackets. More than 60% of those over age 65 use some kind of social media, and those numbers are likely to keep growing.
Older consumers are more likely to use a platform like Facebook, for example; millennials often use Instagram; and younger consumers are more interested in video platforms, such as TikTok or YouTube.
Find out where your ideal customers spend their time and focus your efforts there.
Blogging allows you to increase your website's SEO by adding articles and posts around certain targeted keywords. This increases the likelihood that customers will find and visit your website as a result of online search.
You can also write for other people's blogs, magazines, or websites. This can increase your audience and put your business in front of more potential customers.
Video and Podcasting
Some creators who make videos or podcasts use that as their sole business. Other times, businesses use these platforms to establish expertise, connect with others in the industry, and create a funnel for new customers to find and develop an interest in their products or services.
Podcasts especially are growing in popularity. More than 100 million Americans listen to podcasts every month.3
Online ads can take a variety of forms.
Pay-per-click advertisements placed in search engines target particular search terms that potential customers might use. Targeted ads on social media designed to reach specific segments of the platform's users who might be interested in your business's products, services, and promotions.
You can also place sidebar ads on other people's websites or in their email marketing. Online ads are most effective when they are "congruent," or relevant to where they appear or what the target audience is searching for.
Personalization can also increase the response rate to online ads, especially at the early stages of consumers' decision-making process. However, personalization is most effective when ads appear in congruent locations.