Internet Marketing and Its Advantages
Internet marketing (IM) is the basic marketing of products and services over the internet and World Wide Web. It is also known as e-Marketing or online marketing and has grown out of the nature of the web. The Internet offers tremendous economy of scale allowing marketers to distribute vast amounts of information to the entire web community – whether targeting locally, nationally or globally. Another unique selling point of IM is the ability of the targeted consumer to respond instantaneously; indeed bring out these responses is in itself an aim of IM
IM links together the creative and technical theatres of the web, including design, development, advertising and sales. IM methods range from the highly technical such as search engine-marketing, viral marketing etc to the more prosaic and easier to manage email marketing and reputation management. There is also the affiliate marketing and promotion through social websites; in fact, the IM limits are pretty much over the horizon as far as the standard market seller is concerned.
At its most simple form IM is the process of developing a business or organization through use of the Internet alone. Most internet users have within their capability the skill to build a website; IM is the promotion of the ideal behind that website. In fact, the website is the most basic form of IM; but the real art is in the design and skill additional strategies and products that promote the original idea. These further strategies can include anything from viral campaigns on YouTube to online press releases.
IM can embrace a wide range of organisations and business models: e-commerce (where goods are sold directly to consumers); publishing; advertising and lead-based sites. These are the basic categories, but of course in an environment as diverse as the internet the spectrum is as broad as the number of individuals and organisation that wish to self-promote.
IM, beyond the website, is the placement of associated and/or promotional media at any pint in the likely customer engagement cycle. Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Banner Ads on specific sites, email marketing and Web 2.0 strategies are the most common forms of this basic IM – if you are selling car insurance it is a simple step to ensure that your company appears when “insurance” is typed by a web user into Google or Yahoo! This, compared to possible reach, is a fantastically inexpensive method of advertising and promotion.
However, IM is no Cure-all for poorly performing business and misguided strategy. It still requires intelligent planning and execution. The results and effects must also be carefully analysed.
What makes IM unique in the history of advertising is ability of specificity. An advertiser or seller can interact at any scale they wish; but the core communication is invariably at the 1-to-1 level. Once a specific keyword is entered, the user will be presented with specifically targeted promotional material. This level of personalisation is impossible for offline media where a one size fits all strategy is often employed – beyond the standard breakdowns such as type of newspaper/magazine TV show etc.
IM is also inherently behavioural in its targeting. If you advertise on TV you are limited to the type of programme that is likely to attract the demographic most likely to buy your product. IMers have the luxury of targeting by activity. This is a more profound form of targeting, since the advertiser knows that the target audience are people who do a certain activity (blog, download music etc) instead of hoping that a certain group of people will affiliate with their service.
Along with this is the ability to receive highly accurate statistical breakdowns of their promotional success. Number of visits after the beginning of an advertising campaign, number of pay-per-clicks reciprocal payments etc. This allows the marketer to see the effectiveness of their promotion strategies almost instantaneously. Which leads into the prospect of immediacy in terms of results; it is possible that someone on line could see a product advertised and buy it within minutes – an advert read on a train can never has this immediacy.
These advantages make it very easy for the clever and resourceful marketer to target their prospective customers specifically and allow holes in the market to be filled promptly. It is therefore vital that any prospective organisation has an understanding of IM and is willing to maximise its use.
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