What is Internet Marketing?
What is the difference between marketing and advertising? And what does it have to do with a home business?
This article provides a brief overview of marketing and advertising as applied to an online home business. Focus will be on market research and public relations.
First of all, marketing is considered a process that identifies, forecasts and satisfies customer requirements profitably. The marketing process consists of market research, product development, pricing, distribution, sales strategies, advertising and public relations.
By the definition of marketing, you can see that advertising is a component of marketing.
Advertising is the production and broadcast of persuasive information designed to promote a product or service to current and potential customers. Advertising takes the form of banner and text ads, video ads, email ads, social media and others. It also includes determining where, when and how often to place advertising.
Once you have made the decision to start a home business, you will need to collect additional information about your potential customers. Market research is the collection of information. You will want know about your target market, who your customers are and who your competitors are. For example, there may be very few companies selling snow skis to 80-year old women.
What information do you need? You want people with money, time, need and ability to make a decision.
- Someone who has no money or the ability to get money cannot buy your product or service.
- Time refers to customers’ schedules and the availability of time to use your product (relates to services). For example, if you offer rug cleaning service, does the customer have time for you to be in their home.
- A customer must have a need for your product or service. The need should be urgent or soon verses years from now.
- And finally, the customer must have the ability to make the purchase decision. How often have you said you needed to check with your spouse? I know it is a dodge to get away from a sales representative. That’s one of the reasons, home repair companies want all decision makers present during a meeting.
The information can be detailed or not. When it comes to information, General Colin Powell said, “Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired. Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut.” In other words, you are shooting from the hip if you don’t have enough information. And it may be too late if you wait for perfect information.
Where do you find information? Internet search engines is a great way to collect information. Everyone has heard of and probably using Google or Bing. An alternative is Dogpile. I use Dogpile because it returns the best results from leading search engines including Google and Yahoo!
Public relations and social media
Public relations and social media is a key element in internet marketing because the focus is on engaging with other people and building relationships. People are “turned off” by blatant product promotion. Social engagement is about interacting with others sharing information or creating a dialog. It is about helping others solve problems or fill a need. Many businesses use social media to engage and stay in contact with customers. Very few websites these days don’t have the “share,” “like,” or “tweet” buttons on them.
Part of the public relations segment is the building of trust. Customers buy from businesses they trust. The easiest way to start building trust is avoiding anonymity. Add company/personal information and contact information to your website. An “About Me” page and contact information are essential.
In summary, internet marketing is important in creating a successful online home business. The strategy of building a content loaded website is an effective marketing strategy providing useful information helpful to customers.
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