What Is Internet Marketing?

Internet Marketing Has Changed the World of Commerce

Internet Marketing
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Definition:

Internet Marketing (also known as emarketing, web marketing, or digital marketing) is an all-inclusive term for marketing products and/or services online – and like many all-inclusive terms, internet marketing means different things to different people. 

While the obvious purpose of internet marketing is to sell goods, services or advertising over the internet,  a company may be marketing online to communicate a message about itself or to conduct research.

Online marketing can be a very effective way to identify a target market or discover a marketing segment's wants and needs.

Essentially, though, internet marketing refers to the strategies that are used to market a product or service online, including:

It's Time to Get Marketing Online

If you're not using internet marketing to market your business you should be. An online presence is crucial to helping potential clients and customer find your business - even if your business is small and local. Online is where the eyeballs are so that's where your business needs to be. 

According to Forrester Research, U.S. online retail sales are projected to reach $370 billion by 2017, so online marketers are constantly devising new internet marketing strategies in the hopes of driving more traffic to their websites and making more sales.

According to Strategy Analytics, in 2015 digital advertising accounted for approximately 30% of overall spending on advertising, or $52.8 billion. This still puts it almost $30 billion behind advertising spent on TV. However, online advertising grew by 13% in 2015, the fastest of any category.

How Important is Internet Marketing?

According to Link Humans, as of 2016 more than 3 billion people worldwide have internet access.

This gives a marketer an unprecedented number of customers to reach with product and service offerings, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The interactive nature of the internet facilitates immediate communication between businesses and consumers, allowing businesses to respond quickly to the needs of consumers and changes in the marketplace.

Online reviews have become one of the most important components in purchasing decisions by consumers in North America. According to a 2013 survey conducted by Dimensional Research which included over 1000 participants, 90 percent of respondents said that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions. Interestingly, negative reviews typically came from online review sites whereas Facebook was the main source of positive reviews. Forrester Research predicts that by 2020 42% of in-store sales will be from customers who are influenced by web product research.

The Impact of Social Media

According to Statistica, 76% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile and by 2020 the number of worldwide users of social media is expected to reach 2.95 billion (650 million of these from China alone). Of the social media platforms, Facebook is by far the most dominant - as of the end of August 2017 Facebook had approximately 2.5 billion active users worldwide, comprising 26.3% of the global online population (Statistica).

Mobile devices have become the dominant platform for Facebook usage - 68% of time spent on Facebook originates from mobile devices. Other popular social media platforms for marketing include Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.

From a marketing perspective social media is becoming more and more important, however many businesses are unsure whether embracing social media has improved the bottom line as it is difficult to correlate social media marketing activities with increased sales. According to Business 2 Community:

  • 90% of adults aged 18 to 29 use social media (compared with 35% of those over 65)
  • One third of millennials say that social media is their preferred way to communicate with businesses
  • 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions

  • All 100 of the top global brands maintain at least one company YouTube channel, and more than half (27 of 50) of CEOs in top global companies have appeared in a company video

  • Despite the lack of metrics or executive involvement, the share of overall marketing budgets devoted to social media marketing is expected to increase from about 10% on average to nearly 25% by 2021

Getting Your Business Online

If you’re new to internet marketing and wish to get online as quickly and inexpensively as possible you can start with a social media platform like Facebook - you can create a business Facebook page in less than an hour. However, if you want more control over your online presence, a customized website is more appropriate. Ideally you should have both a website and a social media presence, with each linking to the other.

For more information on marketing your business online see:

5 Step Internet Marketing Plan

Marketing Online: Basic Strategies Any Business Can Use

How to Create a Social Media Plan

How to Promote Your Business on Twitter

7 Tips on How Best to Use Pinterest for Your Business 

Also Known As: Web marketing, website marketing, online marketing.