Internet marketing is the business of both advertising and selling goods and services over the internet. This form of business is ever-increasing in popularity, with millions of people now making purchases on the internet. Internet marketing began in the early 1990s as primarily a means of product description, consisting merely of text descriptions. As technology progressed, internet marketing rapidly advanced to include pictures and other rich graphics as part of advertisements for products and services. After realizing the remarkable potential of this means of marketing, internet-based companies started opening their virtual doors for business. As opposed to what are now known as “brick and mortar” operations, these e-businesses offer their products and services to a growing number of consumers, conducting all, or nearly all, of their business in the virtual world of the internet.
There are many forms of marketing on the internet. Among them are article marketing, blog marketing, e-mail marketing, search engine marketing (to include search engine optimization), banner ads, pay-per-click ads, and pop-up ads. It is important to note that each of these forms catches the attention of the target market in different ways, and some may be more effective than others depending on the product or service, the target market, and the strategy and goal of the business marketing itself. Among the business functions that may require use of different means in their strategies are customer service, sales, public relations, information management, and others.
Internet marketing has also become an integral component of many “brick and mortar” operations, but online-only businesses have offered some challenge in the arena of retail sales, an example of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, business-to-business (B2B) marketing, and peer-to-peer (P2P) marketing. However, other online-only businesses have specialized into newer approaches, such as online auctions, sites that allow you to find the best price on what you’re shopping for, and also sites that allow you to name your own price. Further, affiliate marketers have emerged, offering marketing solutions to virtually all types of business. These firms typically receive what is called pay for performance. Even home-based businesses now flourish thanks to internet marketing.
There are many benefits to the concept of internet marketing. It allows consumers to shop and conduct business from the comfort of their own home, any time of day or night, or from virtually anywhere provided they have a connection to the internet. Businesses work much more effectively with partners. Efficiency and speed have increased dramatically as business and shopping have moved to the internet. Even costs have been dramatically reduced. Furthermore, at this time, it is rare that you must pay any tax for the items you purchase online.
The most noted disadvantages to internet marketing are the sometimes slow or unreliable internet connections that occur, and online security. Technology is diligently pursuing solutions to both problems, and progress is being made. Also, with the attention of the government on identity theft, it is clear that security and reliability will continue to improve over time.