What Is Online Marketing?

What You Need to Know About Online Marketing

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Online marketing takes advantage of digital networks and electronic devices to promote a product or service.

Learn about different types of online marketing and how you can use them for your business.

What Is Online Marketing?

Online marketing is the art and science of selling products and services over the internet.1 The art involves finding marketing strategies that appeal to your target market and translate into sales, while the science is the research and analysis necessary to measure the success of those strategies.

Alternate name: Digital marketing, internet marketing

How Does Online Marketing Work?

Online marketing uses a variety of digital, online, and electronic means to push a message to current and potential customers. The message might be crafted as an image, a piece of text, or a video, and distributed in any number of places. It could be as simple as a social media feed or it could be as complex as a wide-ranging and comprehensive strategy that encompasses multiple modes including social media, email newsletters, websites, and other channels.

The type of online marketing that will be right for your business will depend on the nature of your business, the habits and demographics of your target market, and your budget, among other things. Market research will lead you to the right strategy or mix of strategies for your offerings, and detailed performance measurements will indicate which are most successful for you.

For example, a hair salon that wished to incorporate online marketing might add an Instagram feed featuring photos of hairstyles completed by its stylists to show off their talent. A Facebook page could highlight rave reviews from happy customers and display a link to the salon’s website, where prospects could find information on reservations, available services, and photos of the salon’s interior.

Do I Need Online Marketing?

Online marketing is increasingly important to small businesses of all types.

In the past, internet marketing was something that local brick-and-mortar businesses could ignore in favor of traditional methods. However, consumer habits change, and shoppers are much more likely to research their purchases online before buying. In fact, they’re likely to research a product online even while they’re standing in the store.2 Generally, all businesses should include some online marketing in their marketing mix or they risk missing out on business.

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