Marketing on the Internet involves online advertising to reach out to potential customers. It requires creativity like designing, development and technical aspects like marketing and advertising. Affiliate marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing and interactive advertising are all different facets of Internet marketing. It also includes sales, public relations, information management and customer service. Ever since the advent of Internet, it is widely used for all kind of purposes. Among the advantages of Internet, some helps in doing business, shopping, etc, from the comfort of the house. According to a research, a quarter of the Internet users shop online. It has also helped grow electronic commerce and Internet marketing is a part of electronic commerce.
Direct marketing techniques like radio and television commercials, mails, and newsletters are the inspirations for Internet marketing, which involves direct response marketing strategies and is rapidly growing. Business-to-business, also known as B2B, and business-to-consumer, also known as B2C, are the two business models to which Internet marketing can be linked. B2C companies were the first to start when Internet marketing originated. They are companies that sell directly to the customers. B2B companies are meant to do business with each other.
Websites built for Internet marketing are slightly different than others. There are peer-to-peer modeled websites which are used to exchange products and services between each other. Other is name-your-price, where the customers have to specify their price range that they can spend and select products that fall in that price range. Priceline.com is an example of such a website. Amazon.com is a website which is based on find-the-best-price model, where customers can find the lowest prices. Last are online auctions sites, where items are bid. Ebay.com is an example.
The companies who use Internet marketing are at an advantage. They don’t need to put in huge amounts of energy and time in Internet Marketing like other traditional methods. With the help of only few resources national and international markets can be reached. Because of very low investment, even small businesses are turning to online marketing. Websites and blogs have been developed for this purpose. Internet marketing is advantageous in the sense that the data is easily available on the Internet. Newsletters can be directly sent to customers and if it doesn’t contain the information they are looking for, they can search for information about the product online, make a decision and purchase it online itself.
One of the factors that hinder the growth of online marketing is delayed loading of the page. The web pages that take a lot of time to download test the patience of the consumer. To add to that, if the businesses design complex web pages with lots of graphics and animations, it will slow down the speed even more. Another minus point of online marketing is that the customers cannot feel, taste, smell or try products in order to make a good decision. To over come this, some of the online stores have created liberal return policies with the help of which the customer satisfaction is guaranteed.
Another biggest threat of online shopping is identity theft. Paying online using credit cards, e-checks are susceptible to hackers and information can be stolen and used. Many hackers and websites have been caught who were involved in buying and selling of personal information. Most of the websites have taken measures and incorporated good security on their websites. One of the best methods is encryption. When the data is being transferred between two computers; there is a possibility of a hacker intercepting it. So the data is changed by applying some encryption algorithm and is sent through the network and upon receiving, the decryption algorithm is applied to bring back the data to its original form.
Online selling is influencing all kinds of businesses like banking, advertising, music, etc. Instead of going to a store for buying cassettes and CDs, music can be bought online. Bank transactions like depositing, withdrawing, transferring funds, and paying bills are all performed online. Billions of dollars are invested every year in online advertising alone.