Often when you ask what is internet marketing? people will tell you it is SEO (Search engine optimization). And if you ask what is SEO? You will get something like Links, links, and more links. Both answers are wrong yet they are so widely spread there is now a common misconception about what internet marketing really is. The danger here is that people can end up focusing all their energy and time on SEO and missing every other form of internet marketing.
So what is internet marketing?
Internet marketing is essentially the same in principle as traditional offline marketing. The idea is about promoting a business, its products, and services to an audience of potential customers. The objective is to utilize different methods and mediums to expand a business’s brand exposure and increase sales.
When you think about traditional offline marketing, many methods come to mind: tv, radio, print ads, telesales, direct mail, and many many more. So why would anyone think internet marketing is about just one thing (SEO)? The truth is marketing is just like marketing offline, there are so many different methods and mediums a business can utilize to expand its exposure and reach a new audience. SEO is just one form of online marketing.
SEO refers to the process by which one can improve the rankings of their website on search engine search results. It is very important because search engine traffic is highly targeted people using search engines to find a product or services that have a genuine interest in that product or service. Businesses who appear at the top of search engine results are viewed by these potential customers first thus have the best chance of making a sale.
There are many free classifieds websites where businesses can advertise for free and reach many potential customers. The advantages are that it is completely free and the business can target an audience in a specific location. The disadvantage is that classifieds ads usually expire after a set time e.g. 3 months and the business will need to repost the ads.
Business Networks (B2B, B2C)
There are many business networking websites, where businesses can create a free profile and get found by potential customers. These networking websites let users search for manufacturers, wholesalers, and distribution partners and contact them directly via online messages or even live chat to create new business opportunities. A business profile will also appear on all search engines, giving it a huge amount of free exposure to high-quality search engine traffic.
There are many online business directories, where a business can get listed for free. Many of these directories specialize in business listings within a specific business sector or location. Potential customers can use these lists to make shortlists so it will provide the business with some valuable targeted exposure.