Ever since the web opened up to the world, businesses have had to stretch their marketing campaigns to include online marketing, in addition to the traditional offline marketing, to sell their goods and services.
Online marketing is also referred to as Internet marketing or web marketing. However it is known, online marketing is implemented to drive traffic to a website, generate leads and drive sales through the web. Since the web and access to it through mobile gadgets have made online marketing a necessity to reach target audiences, effective programs or channels such as link building, snazzy websites, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) can determine a company’s success.
Online marketing requires a whole team of experts to pull off, such as web designers and developers to create fully functional websites, graphic artists who can design attractive online visuals, content writers and editors to provide informative material for prospective buyers to digest, and online marketing specialists. This team can make possible online tools such as shopping carts, contact forms, a clickable online promotion, social media presence on Twitter, FaceBook and Instagram, and the myriad other forms of online marketing.
Because consumers’ very broad adoption of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices) has even increased their propensity to search and discover information and products online, those who relied purely on offline marketing have had to plunge into the dynamic world of online marketing. In fact, offline and online marketing have to be integrated for a business to prosper—many different programs have to be implemented to complement each other.
Among the advantages of online marketing is that it can be personalized and can be activated quickly. For example, if a store has slow-moving items, an online ad can be sent out over social media or can pop up on websites announcing the special limited-time-only sale. Of course there are merchants that only sell online, such as Amazon or the group-buying sites such as Groupon. However, some products don’t lend themselves well to exclusive online marketing, such as clothing. Many consumers prefer to try on items or even to touch the fabric.
Still, even if offline marketing methods (brick and mortar promotions, direct mail, etc.) will be staples for the foreseeable future, online marketing will continue to spread and evolve in the coming years.