What is Online Marketing?

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I have found that people are often confused over what is meant by the term Online Marketing and so the reason for this blog post is to try to address this confusion. In order to answer the question ‘What is Online Marketing?’ I think we need to look at what is meant by the term Marketing. Many business people understand the general concept of Marketing but I thought it would help to recap what we mean by Marketing in our everyday lives.

The following is not intended to be a complete list of Marketing Methods, instead the aim is to provide an introduction of a much larger topic.
So here goes …..

What is Marketing?

There are many textbook definitions of Marketing, none of which we will look at here. Instead I want to consider what Marketing means in real terms. I want to look at what it means to us on a normal everyday basis.
One definition I particularly like to use is:

Marketing describes the way in which we advertise or promote a product / service / brand.

Think of how we get the word out about our business, think about how we advertise our products and services. Consider all of the products and services we use everyday – from the shampoo we buy, to the cereal we decide to eat at breakfast, to the car we drive and to the mobile phones we use. Why do we have the brands and models that we have? Whether the reason be budget, functionality, trends or dietary needs, our decisions will somewhat have been affected by marketing.

We might have seen our shampoo brand in a magazine, it might have been on offer on a point of sale stand in the supermarket, we could have seen a television commercial or perhaps a friend recommended it. The car (or van, or scooter, or pushbike) might have been purchased because we liked the added extras that were featured on an advertisement in the cinema, perhaps the manufacturer is known for its reliability and after-sales services.

If we look around us, we will see marketing material – brochures, leaflets, branded packaging, company logos, business cards, banner adverts ….. The ways in which we advertise and promote our products and services can be endless but not all marketing methods are appropriate for every product and service. We need to carefully choose which method is appropriate for the products and services we are trying to promote and the target audience we are trying to reach.

What is Online Marketing?

Now that we’ve answered the question ‘What is Marketing?’ we can look at what we mean by Online Marketing.

Online Marketing, Internet Marketing, Digital Marketing, Web Marketing, Electronic Marketing, eMarketing … there are many terms and phrases floating around that all sound the same. Confused? I don’t blame you if you are.

So, what exactly do they all mean? The short answer is – the same thing. They are all terms that are related to marketing on the web. We can sum them up as:

the ways in which your market your business on the Internet

Online Marketing describes all of the methods that you implement to build your online presence and all of the ways you reach your target audience on the World Wide Web. It’s basically marketing (as outlined above) but in an online context.

Think about how we personally use the Internet. If we were visiting a new city for the weekend and wanted to find a restaurant, what do we do to find one? We might look at an online map of the area in which where we are staying to see if there are any restaurants listed. From there, we might then look for some reviews or recommendations via forums or directory listings. Once we’ve found a restaurant that we like the sound of, we will probably look at their own website to see a sample menu and then we may take a look on Facebook or Twitter to see what recent customers have to say about their experiences.

Or consider the example of redecorating a room in your house. We might start with looking for ideas from magazine style interior design websites or images of others’ homes on Pinterest. Perhaps we want to do much of the decorating ourselves and so we gather research from decoration expert blogs where tips and tricks are shared about how to get the right finish and be cost effective with our materials. Once we have our ideas, we will then start to look at what furniture items are affordable in our budget – we can start to look at manufacturer and retailer websites for prices, to keep an eye on their sales and to look at reviews from other purchasers.

Online Marketing uses the principles behind Marketing but applies them in an online manner. General word-of-mouth amongst friends, family and colleagues becomes word-of-mouth amongst online friends where we are part of the same online community. Newspaper reviews and articles becomes online reviews and blog posts. Telephone book listings have become online directory listings.

To summarise, Online Marketing is Marketing on the Internet. The same principles apply with Online Marketing as they do for Marketing but instead we use slightly different methods and techniques. There is no need for there to be any confusion over understanding what online marketing is. The same basic idea of trying to advertise or promote your product, service, or business still applies.

If you are still a little unsure or would like some help with understanding how to improve your Online Marketing, please feel free to get in touch and we can arrange some consultancy for you.

Lianne Dale

Online Marketer. WordPress Trainer. Project & Office Manager. Social Media Advisor. Marketing Director. Co-founder of The SeedMill. With an almost obsessive need to be neat, tidy, organised and structured, I am responsible for ensuring that all the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed. Having worked in a variety of roles in a wide selection of sectors, from large public organisations to local SMEs, I have a deep understanding of how different businesses operate and the struggles that they face. Passionate about learning new things, and sharing this knowledge, I thoroughly enjoy helping others succeed and empowering them to help themselves. I firmly believe that knowledge is the key to a successful future. Random fact: I love the beach but I hate swimming in the sea.