Marketing is nothing more than presenting something to people who may be interested in buying it. The marketed item can be a product, service or idea. Online marketing uses the Internet to accomplish this, but it does this in ways never before possible as well as traditional ways adapted to the online world.
Interactive Online Marketing
The very biggest difference between traditional marketing and online is the interactive capabilities. Nearly all online ads are “live.” That means they contain a link which a viewer can click to go to a website which provides a lot more information about what the online ad was pitching.
No other media offers such an immediate way to get more information. Even in a store with products on display, there are no customer reviews to be seen.
Online marketing lets the buyer get addition information about what’s being sold with just a few clicks of the mouse.
This is nothing more than the kind of ads seen on TV, read in print outlets and heard on radio. The Internet allows all these delivery methods to be combined at one time.
A display ad for a website can feature a video with or without an audio track, stationary or scrolling text and an audio component. You can watch, listen and read at the same time. This appears to be exactly like TV, but has a major difference. You control the ad. You can stop it, repeat it, mute it or scroll past it without missing what you wanted to see on that page. TV does not give you the combined options. If you turn away from the commercial, by the time you come back the show you were watching may have started again and you missed part of it. You cannot back up and start the commercial from the beginning in case there was something you really wanted to see.
Display ads on the Internet can be banners with or without animation. Think of billboards on the highway for an example. They can be block ads along the side of a web page or popup’s that open automatically along with a web page. As more and more web browsers have popup blocking applets, this kind of advertising is becoming increasingly less common.
Another form of display advertising related to the popup is when another browser window opens in addition to the website you intended to open.
This is also called classified advertising because ads are group according to categories. Think about the classified ads in a newspaper or in the back pages of a magazine. The ad is a few lines of copy announcing the product, maybe a small picture and contact information.
Craigslist is the number one website on the Internet for line advertising. Ads there can be quite long, but on average they are short announcements. Bulletin boards and forums often have advertising sections for members to buy, sell and trade.
Gmail, the email service offered by Google, has line ads appearing at the top of the main email page. These short ads are always linked to something mentioned in recently sent or received emails.
Targeted Online Marketing
Targeted marketing offline is most common in magazines that generally have a well-defined demographic. For instance, fishing magazines will have ads dealing with angling and the outdoors. That’s what the magazine audience is interested in.
Radio also targets audiences. Rock and roll stations will carry ads that appeal to people in ages between teenagers and young Baby Boomers. Rap stations have advertising aimed at people in the hip hop culture.
The Internet allows this targeted marketing to be refined even further. The above-mentioned Gmail line ads are targeted marketing. Google’s servers scan emails for keywords and then place small ads at the top of the email listings. For instance, an email discussing a planned vacation in the Bahamas will generate Bahamas-related advertising in the Gmail window.
Word of mouth or viral
Among the most effective of all forms of marketing, word of mouth is a personal recommendation from one person to another. This does not have to be good. A person who complains about a restaurant’s poor service to friends will make those friends less inclined to visit that particular eatery.
Through social media, the Internet has expanded word of mouth beyond a group of friends who are close geographically to a cadre of friends across the globe. Using sites like Facebook, one person in Washington State can reach out and personally tell hundreds of friends about a good or bad experience in a few moments. That recommendation can be further spread to other friends not part of the original circle.
Businesses have capitalized on this by making pages on social media. Now a person can “like” a brand, product, service or something as specific as a particular make, model and year number of an item. The company can now target the person with special announcements, sales and offers. The business knows the customer already has a favourable impression. This kind of targeted marketing also has a very low associated cost compared to other forms of advertising.
Since friends can also see the “like” they may become more inclined to “like” the business as well. This further expands the business’ potential customer base at little expense to the business.