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What is Internet Marketing?

When I describe myself as an “Internet Marketing Consultant” people assume that I build Web sites, which I do not. It takes a bit more explaining to convey exactly what it is I do.

My Definition of Internet Marketing

Internet Marketing is a phrase with broad meaning, and I suspect that any group of Web developers or consultants would offer a variety different definitions. I define Internet Marketing as follows:

Internet Marketing is the process of planning and implementing campaigns that results in the acquisition of well-targeted Web traffic and the conversion of Web site visitors.

Visitor Acquisition

There are many methods, both online and off, that can be used to bring visitors to a Web site. Common online techniques are:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Paid Search Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Link Building (an element of SEO)
  • Email Marketing
  • Banner Advertising
  • Affiliate Programs
  • Remarketing (the reason you see ads that may seem unrelated to the site you’re on, but are directly related to a site you visited previously)

Of course, any advertising channel can be used to increase the awareness of a Web site.

Successful acquisition campaigns focus as much on the quality of the traffic (how well targeted the visitors are) as they do on the number of visitors. Higher quality traffic yields a better conversion rate. If you spend money on acquiring traffic but have no idea how well your site converts those visitors, then there’s a good chance you’ve thrown money away.

Conversion

Every Web site has – or should have – clearly defined goals. We can classify Web sites into some basic categories:

  • Online Commerce – sites that sell products, services, or information
  • Advertising – sites that attract visitors with content, enticing some to respond to advertising
  • Lead-Generation – sites that present information about a product or business with the intent to identify and gather contact information from qualified prospects
  • Customer Support – sites that help visitors answer questions about a product or service

Visitor conversion occurs when a key actions is taken, such as a purchase, an ad click, a lead, or a problem solved. Many sites, though, are not designed with conversion in mind, or the conversion focus occurs on only a few pages, not on every page. A site design that maps Web site goals to content and key calls-to-action is more likely to be successful.

The Job of the Internet Marketer

The Internet Marketer’s primary tasks are to establish channels from which high-quality visitors come, and ensure that the site is persuasive enough to convert those visitors. The Internet Marketer also develops measurement processes and uses analytics tools to help evaluate the results of the strategies in order to deliver continuously-improving results.

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