Internet marketing, or online marketing, as it is also called, means simply to market over the Internet. It may include learning about the market that you are going to target; online advertising and/or other means of persuading customers (essentially creating consumer awareness) to buy a product, use a service or sign up for something; selling and distributing; and direct sales.

An Internet marketer may have a brick and mortar business, such as a sporting goods store and use online marketing to build a larger customer base through methods like having customers order online. Alternately, an Internet marketer may conduct every aspect of a business — from product creation to distribution — online. Either way, the definition of Internet marketing and the scope of this book will always include using the Internet to create consumer awareness and to influence the sales of the product.

In some ways, Internet marketing is a lot like traditional, offline marketing. For example, Internet marketers and traditional marketers share the common objective of creating awareness of their product or service and influencing consumers’ decisions.

While the main goal is the same, the business model, method and strategies between traditional marketing and Internet marketing are numerous. For example, traditional marketing may use direct mailings, printed brochures, and demonstrations at trade shows, networking through community groups, sales representatives or store employees, a good physical location, a nicely decorated store, local advertising through radio, newspaper and television, and many other methods.

On the other hand, Internet marketing may use strategies such as website design, search engine optimization, persuasive sales copy on the site to convert traffic to sales, automated emails, multimedia presentations, pay per click and banner advertising, viral marketing, free digital products (such as reports and newsletters), social networking sites, blogs, and several other methods. We’ll be talking about these online marketing strategies throughout this text.

Since learning something new, such as Internet marketing, does require some concentration and time on your part, as well as patience with yourself, here are a few excellent reasons to continue moving forward with Internet marketing:

Lower operating costs. For example, you won’t need to hire sales representatives with Internet marketing techniques. If the entire business is online, you will save a great deal of money in the way of rent and utilities. You may also save by not needing to commute to a traditional brick and mortar business.
The ability to reach more potential customers/clients. Online marketing means that you can reach people on an international level, and interact easily and quickly with them.
Many opportunities for free and low-cost marketing. Blogs, social networking, and free to use advertising services, as well as advertising that is paid for only when certain results are achieved (pay per click, for example), are all options with online marketing. This marketing venue also eliminates the expense of radio, TV and/or newspaper advertising, as online advertising is taking over the market share.
The convenience and comfort of working at home. If your entire business is online, you can work at home or wherever you have a laptop and Internet access. Moreover, though, you will get home business tax write-offs.
Low start up costs. Informational and other digital products do not involve shipping or printing costs. If you join a network marketing group, you don’t even need your own product.
Scheduling freedom. If you run your business completely online, you can set your own hours.
Market analysis is made easier with the interactive powers of the Internet. For example, an Internet marketer can easily measure the effectiveness of paid advertising when using pay per click (PPC), pay per impression (CPM) or pay per action ads.
Behavioral marketing can be easily applied. For example, the Internet marketer can target advertising to various groups of consumers based on activities they enjoy, such as those reading blogs about search engine optimization or downloading cooking videos, etc. By doing so, you can also reach across demographic gaps of age, gender and location to influence far more consumers than you would with traditional marketing.