(Courtesy of IvanWalsh.com)
The Internet has connected people all over the world in a manner that would not have been thought possible. Since most people now have access to the Internet both at home and at work, marketers need to take the Internet into account when creating marketing strategy. Any marketing strategy that doesn’t include the Internet is bound to fail, as there are millions of potential customers online whom business owners may never meet via traditional methods of advertising.
History of Internet Marketing
The Internet has technically been around since the late 1960s; however, ordinary people didn’t have access to it until the 1990s. Once people began viewing and creating web pages in the last part of the 20th century, businesses quickly realized that Internet advertising was a potentially lucrative and untapped source of profits.
Prior to the Internet, marketers relied on print ads, television ads and radio ads to reach both local and national customers. Once the Internet became common, advertising online replaced all of these methods because it was easier to reach large numbers of people via the Internet.
Early on in the Internet revolution, innovative marketers began posting customer surveys on their websites and encouraging customers to visit those sites to fill them out. This was the beginning of Internet marketing; at that time, the Internet was new and businesses often had to explain how to get on a website and how to fill out a survey. As the Internet became more commonplace, however, these strategies were replaced by other, more customer-driven strategies.
Internet Marketing Today
Today, most Internet marketing is based on associating websites with popular keywords that customers are searching for. This method is called search engine optimization, and it’s based on the knowledge that most customers are Internet savvy enough to be able to search on their own for things they are looking for. Thus, instead of telling customers directly to visit their websites, businesses focus on getting those sites listed near the top of search engine listings for keywords related to their business. For example, a business that sells books in Raleigh, North Carolina will want people to find their website when searching for bookstores in Raleigh, used bookstores in Raleigh, vintage books in Raleigh and so forth.
Marketers increase search engine optimization in a variety of ways. They write web copy and related articles using keywords so that search engines can associate their websites with these keywords. They also work on getting other reputable websites to link to their website so that they can increase their ranking in Google and other search engines.
The Future of Internet Marketing
Internet marketing will probably change again in the near future. In the early 1990s, when the Internet began, most people accessed it from their homes using their phone lines. This slowly gave way to high-speed Internet providers, which allowed customers to be connected to the Internet without tying up their phone lines. High-speed access also affected marketing efforts because people who signed up with these Internet providers could now easily access music and videos over the Internet. Now a new revolution is beginning: the mobile phone revolution.
Many people now access the Internet primarily through mobile phones and other devices; about 55 percent of mobile users access the Internet on their phone at least once a day.. This new way of accessing the Internet provides new challenges for marketers. While using multimedia has become a standard part of Internet marketing, this doesn’t work as well for mobile devices. Mobile devices have smaller screens and lower-end devices can’t easily load videos or graphics. Thus, marketers will have to figure out new strategies to reach mobile customers. Many business owners create mobile versions of their websites in order to reach this customer base. New strategies will also come into play as mobile devices become more and more the commonest way to access the Internet.