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David Ziguras April 6th, 2009

Online marketing, also known as Internet marketing or e-marketing, is the promotion of products or services over the Internet. This has brought many unique benefits to marketing including low costs in distributing information to a global audience. The interactive nature of Internet marketing, also offers an instant response from customers.

Internet marketing ties together creative and technical aspects of the Internet, including design, development, advertising and sales. Internet marketing methods include:

– Search engine marketing seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine (such as Google & Yahoo) result pages. Methods include search engine optimisation, paid placement, and paid inclusion

Search engine optimisation is the process of improving and increasing the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” search results for targeted keywords. Usually, the higher a site ranks in the search results, the more searchers will visit that site

– A web banner or banner ad involves embedding an advertisement into a web page. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking them to the web site of the advertiser. The advertisement is constructed from an image or flash file, often employing animation or sound to maximise presence. Images are usually either wide and short, or tall and narrow hence the reference to banners. These images are usually placed on web pages that have interesting content, such as a newspaper article or an opinion piece.

– Email marketing sees electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial messages to an audience. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. Typically email marketing includes images and a catchy or branded design specific to the company or product being promoted. If performed correctly, the email campaign can also be tracked for statistics on emails open, click through rates and other important information.

– Affiliate marketing is a web-based marketing practice in where a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts, typically from a website or online presence the affiliate operates.

– Interactive Advertising is the use of interactive media to promote and/or influence the buying decisions of the consumer in an online and offline environment. Interactive advertising can utilise media such as the Internet, interactive television, mobile devices, as well as kiosk-based terminals.

– Online Identity Management is a set of methods for generating a distinguished presence of a company on the Internet. That presence could be reflected in any kind of content that refers to the company, including news, participation in blogs and forums, web sites, social media presence, pictures, video, etc.

– Blog marketing is the term used to describe Internet marketing via web blogs. These blogs differ from corporate websites because they feature daily or weekly posts, often around a single topic. Typically, corporations use blogs to create a dialogue with customers to explain features of their products and services.

– Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use preexisting social networks to produce increases in brand awareness. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive flash games, advergames, ebooks, brand able software, images, or even text messages.

– A microsite, also known as a minisite or weblet, is a term referring to an individual web page or cluster of pages which are meant to function as an auxiliary supplement to a primary website. The microsite’s main landing page most likely has its own URL. They are typically used to include a specialised group of information either editorial or commercial. The main distinction of a microsite versus its parent site is its purpose and specific cohesiveness as compared to the microsite’s broader overall parent website.

– A landing page, sometimes known as a lead capture page, is the page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement or a search engine result link. The page will usually display content that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link, and that is optimised to feature specific keywords or phrases for indexing by search engines. In pay per click campaigns, the landing page will also be customised to measure the effectiveness of different advertisements. By adding a parameter to the linking URL, the company and its marketers can measure advertisement effectiveness based on relative click through rates.

Pay per click (PPC) is an advertising model used on search engines, advertising networks, and content websites/blogs, where advertisers only pay when a user actually clicks on an ad to visit the advertiser’s website. Advertisers bid on keywords they predict their target market will use as search terms when they are looking for a product or service. When a user types a keyword query matching the advertiser’s keyword list, or views a page with relevant content, the advertiser’s ad may be shown. These ads are called a “Sponsored link” or “sponsored ads” and appear next to or above the “natural” or organic results on search engine results pages, or anywhere a webmaster/blogger chooses on a content page.

Search Engine Marketing does not simply mean ‘building a website’ or ‘promoting a website’. Somewhere behind that website is a real organisation with real goals. An Online marketing strategy includes all aspects of online activity that promotes a company online, including some or all of the above.

What’s the difference?

There are a few important characteristics that differentiate Online Marketing from “off-line marketing“:

– One-to-one vs. one-to-many approach: the targeted user is typically browsing the Internet on their own, and the marketing messages reach them personally. This can be very clearly seen in search engine marketing, where the users find advertisements targeted to specific keywords that the users asked/searched for.

– Demographics targeting vs. behavioural targeting: off-line marketers typically segment their markets according to age group, sex, geography, and other general factors. Online marketers have the luxury of targeting by activity. This is a deeper form of targeting, since the advertiser knows that the target audience are people who do a certain activity instead of just expecting that a certain group of people will like their new product or service.

– Measurability: Almost all aspects of an online campaign can be traced, measured, and tested. The advertisers either pay per banner impression, pay per click, or pay per action accomplished. Therefore, it is easy to understand which messages or offering are more appealing to the audience.

– Response and immediate results: Since the online marketing initiatives usually require users to click on the message, go to a website, and perform a targeted action, the results of campaigns are immediately measured and tracked. On the other hand, someone driving a car who sees a billboard, will at best be interested and might decide to get more information at some time.

Online marketing, as of 2007, is growing faster than any other type of media. Since exposure, response and overall efficiency of Internet media is easier to track than traditional “off-line” media, through the use of web analytics for instance.

Advantages

One of the benefits associated with Search Engine Marketing is the availability of great amounts of information. Consumers can access the Internet and research products, as well as purchase them at any hour of any day. Some companies that use Online Marketing can also save money through the reduced need for a traditional sales force. Overall, Online Marketing can help a business’ expansion from a local market to a national or international one, faster. Compared to traditional media, such as print, radio and TV, Online Marketing can have a relatively low cost of entry.

It should be mentioned that, although it may seem a relatively simple task to enter the world of online marketing, sound business strategies still apply. There is still an emphasis on business goals, when determining strategy and the overall effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

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