Also referred to as online marketing, internet marketing is the process of promoting a brand or business and its products or services to customers through digital channels such as search engines, email, websites, and social media. It’s used to help drive traffic, leads, and sales for the business. The term is all-inclusive and includes a wide range of types, strategies, and tactics to engage with customers.
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Types of internet marketing
There’s a myriad of internet marketing types that encompass different tactics and strategies, and the types listed below are not exhaustive. These types of marketing complement one another and are most effective when used together.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of adjusting a website and digital content to improve its organic or “natural” placement in search rankings. The higher a webpage ranks, the more likely it is to be viewed by a potential customer. Search engines (specifically Google) use crawler bots (sometimes called spiders) to crawl the internet and build an index of the content available online. When a user searches for a keyword, the search engine will provide the most relevant information.
There are two types of SEO: on-page and off-page. On-page SEO is the manipulations made directly to a web page to increase search engine ranking. It involves optimizing HTML code, content quality, and content structure. Off-page SEO is the SEO practices that take place outside of the website itself, such as backlinks, link relevancy, and social signals.
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of relevant online content in a way that’s strategically designed to attract and convert consumers. It focuses on communicating with customers rather than selling and is usually better received. Forms of content marketing include blog posts, infographics, ebooks, podcasts, case studies, and webinars.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to improve customer engagement and promote a brand. It doesn’t necessarily drive sales, but with the help of social media marketing tools, one can increase engagement, builds links, and expand brand awareness. Popular social media platforms used for marketing include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
One of the newer types of internet marketing, influencer marketing uses influencers, or someone with a large social following, to promote their product or service for a price. This can be highly effective if the influencer is in line with a company’s values and resonates with the company’s customers.
Email marketing is the process of using email to send direct marketing messages to consumers in an attempt to gain new customers and retain existing ones. It’s one of the most cost-effective types of marketing and can be used to reach both a wide network of customers or a very niche one.
Affiliate marketing describes any revenue-sharing plan where an online automated marketing program lets bloggers and website owners place an advertiser’s banner ads, buttons, or other advertising media on their own website. This could also be in the form of promoting a product through a blog or video. A payment is received for every sale made through a link.
Paid advertising is when advertisers pay to show their advertisements on search engines and other online platforms. This is often referred to as Pay Per Click (PPC), meaning advertisers will pay a fee each time a user clicks on one of their ads. However, advertisers are now charged in different ways depending on their marketing objectives. Other means of charging include cost per thousand impressions, cost per view, and cost per action.
Internet marketing strategies
A strong internet marketing strategy can attract new customers and create consumers who are loyal to your brand. Strategies include investing in creating a user-friendly website, optimizing your website for search engines to increase traffic, creating social media campaigns that build customer engagement, and writing press releases to increase online coverage.
Consumer-Driven Internet Marketing
The landscape of internet marketing has changed over the past few years. Consumers no longer want to be directly sold to. Most buyers prefer low-pressure sales strategies. Nowadays, many customers are often already at the researching or the pre-buying stage when searching for products or services to buy. They will often conduct a good amount of research about specific software, products, or services that they are interested in before deciding to buy it. This type of marketing allows brands to showcase features and benefits to consumers in a new and powerful way.
Consumers today take the time to be well-informed about their purchasing decisions. Often many people do not want to be inundated with excessive ads when browsing social media or websites. According to the Hubspot blog, by the end of 2019, there were over 763.5 million ad blocker users worldwide. As recent as 2021, nearly one in four internet users have and use an ad blocker program on their internet browsers.
Brands have also shifted marketing to match their target audience and customers in the more consumer-driven internet marketing atmosphere. They focus on strategies that create trust and rapport with consumers and create their marketing content with the goal of teaching, inspiring, guiding, or solving a problem. This approach creates a loyal following and customer base for the brand more organically. Content-based internet marketing allows for website or social media page visitors to move from a prospective buyer to a buyer by creating content surrounding the features, benefits, and value of what the brand offers to customers.
Effective internet marketing examples
There are many effective methods that brands can use for internet marketing. Below are five examples of internet marketing that can grow relationships between brands and consumers.
- Blog: this type of marketing content is a great way to build an audience on top of a customer base for businesses. It allows brands to leverage their expertise in an industry while also covering content that includes their services and products offered.
- Case studies: this type of content allows you to illustrate and explain how you achieved success in a specific situation. For example, a good case study often involves interviews and research with customers on how a product or service of a brand improved their business and provided solutions to their problems. It demonstrates exactly how you achieved your results and gives the evidence to support it.
- Infographics: these data visualizations, such as charts, graphs, and text, give an easy-to-understand topic overview. Infographics also help brands utilize simple content and statistics to offer their audience and customers a visual understanding of complex topics.
- Video: companies have turned to platforms like YouTube to market their products and services. It allows them to create videos featuring their products and services while creating a video audience following.
- Podcast: this audio recording format allows companies to tell their story and establish authority in an industry while creating advocates for the brand.
Internet Marketing Software
There are countless internet and email marketing software programs on the market today. Here are some of the more commonly used ones for businesses:
- ActiveCampaign is marketing software designed for customer experience automation. It combines email marketing, marketing automation, sales automation, and CRM tools to market to customers.
- HubSpot Marketing Hub is an all-in-one hub for businesses to handle their marketing. Hubspot Marketing offers landing pages, CRM tools, email marketing, paid ad tracking, social media marketing integration, etc.
- MailChimp was created as an email marketing automation software solution. This tool assists businesses with the creation and management of email subscriber mailing lists and email marketing campaigns to send to customers.
- Google Analytics is a free resource designed to help businesses advertise and track the performance of marketing campaigns on their sites.
- Sendinblue is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) relationship marketing software for businesses focusing on email marketing, marketing automation, CRM, landing pages, SMS marketing, and Facebook ads.
- Constant Contact is an email marketing tool that allows businesses to create email marketing templates, automate and manage campaigns, build contact lists, and nurture customer relationships.
- Zoho Social is a software program designed for businesses and agencies to manage their social media, increase their online visibility, and grow their brand.
- Omnisend is email and SMS marketing software for e-commerce brands that assists with email and SMS marketing automation.
- Smartlook is marketing software that features a visitor recording tool. This allows businesses to see their website through the eyes of their visitors and customers, which then enables them to create a design that markets more effectively.
- Loomly is a calendar-based content creation tool for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to market on social media. The software features a page where companies can view and adjust posts as they would appear on large social media websites and apps.
- Sprout Social is a social media marketing tool that allows marketing automation, post scheduling, and tracking of social media ad campaigns for more effective marketing.
Learn more about top internet marketing solutions here.
This definition was revised and updated in May 2022 by Amanda Scheldt.