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How the Rising Use of the Internet Affects Marketing

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This paper explores the importance of the internet in marketing and branding today. Internet marketing is an increasingly important part of nearly every marketing mix; companies need a comprehensive, effective, less expensive way to make their products or services known to consumers. This paper will show that the internet has tremendously changed the way people communicate and interact with others, with the ability to reach more consumers and potential consumers than any marketing medium, except for television. Various sources explain how media marketing can help a business increase activity around top internet marketing, including: website traffic, user behavior (external and internal tracking), sales tracking, increasing positive brand awareness, maintaining brand image, and reaching a wider customer base. According to the sources, the manner in which companies interact with current and prospective customers has been altered. By using the internet, customers are able to control the media content they experience, therefore reinforcing the importance of digital media in marketing.

How the Rising Use of the Internet Affects Marketing

Marketing is an ever changing, yet extremely important aspect in any business. Internet marketing is a broad blend of components a company can use as a means of increasing sales regardless if business is done completely online, partly online, or completely offline. Internet marketing refers to the placement of media along different stages of the customer engagement cycle through search engine marketing ads on specific websites, e-mail marketing, blogs, and Web 2.0 strategies. Digital marketing is the practice of promoting products and services using digital distribution channels to reach consumers in a timely, relevant, personal and cost-effective manner. Social media involves the activities and communications between people, both consumers and businesses, who gather on the internet to share ideas, thoughts, opinions, experiences, etc.

Companies rely on carefully planned marketing campaigns to ensure that the company is offering customers the products or services they want, at a price that the customer feels is reasonable, at the time and place that the customer wants the product or service. Important concepts in internet marketing include blogging, search engines, written content and building relationships with the client.

Traditional ways of developing media strategy will not necessarily work any longer. Instead of studying demographics about the audience, the marketer must instead go out to the internet and talk with customers and potential customers. What are their issues, opinions, and needs? How does this information fit with the business' branding? The company must find out which individuals or groups drive the conversations or who has a strong influence over their peers. These individuals often possess the authority, respect, or experience to shape other people's opinions.

Online usage has become so all-encompassing; many customers would quickly choose to do business with a company that they can get up-to-date information on 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Even a business that only has very local customers, such as a single location restaurant, can profit from having a website and engaging in online marketing.

There are 4 main types of websites: 1. Branding: This is an area in which most companies spend thousands of dollars, and then they continue to pour money into the website; but may not actually update it for years. This is the web page where prospective contacts should be sent. 2. Sales Page: This is usually a one page site that should aim to highlight the benefits of one product or service. Not many companies have this type of site, but it can be effective when it is used in combination with an email based marketing campaign or when a visitor is already aware of the company. The sales page is focused and its purpose is to get the sale. This is the page where is would be acceptable to ask a customer to buy products. 3. Blog: This is a diary/journal-like website that keeps anyone who visits up-to-date with what the company is doing. The blog should also update visitors on developments in products or services. Articles can be posted here. 4. Landing Page: This is the most important page the company will need to must develop, and very few companies do develop a page of this type. Those that do are often the companies that are more successful. The purpose of the landing page is to link visitors to the sales page and to enable the company to post a blog daily so that the website will get high search engine rankings. Blogging is a critical element for relationship building and Google search rankings, and is a part of, but not a replacement for, landing and sales pages.

The main focus of a company website should be to get visitors to take action. Words are the most powerful marketing tool a company possesses. The right words will turn visitors into customers. The wrong words will cause them to click away and never return. Words are the entire foundation of the business. The product, the web site and the marketing strategies all depend upon the company's words. Fancy graphics don't make sales: words do. Every word, sentence and headline should have one specific purpose: to lead potential customers to the order page. Web site copy should be written as if talking to just one person. A problem should be identified and the customer's need for a solution to that problem should be validated. Customers need to be told exactly why the product will solve their problems and how. Benefits to the product over others should be stressed.

Companies whose customers are not limited to a geographical area might find it difficult to discover an alternate method to the internet of attracting customers that results in reasonably low expense and worldwide reach. An increasing number of people worldwide are turning to the internet to find and purchase items that cannot be found locally. Websites provide an inexpensive means for prospective customers to get to know what the company does and what they sell.

A 2007 McKinsey survey of marketing executives from around the world shows that in marketing, trends are starting to change: companies are moving online across the spectrum of marketing activities, from building brand awareness to after-sales service. Businesses are beginning to realize that online tools are an important and effective component of their marketing strategies. Companies that do not currently have a Social Media Strategy in place will most likely fall behind their competitors. The decision to use internet marketing as part of an overall marketing strategy is strictly up to the company. Unfortunately, those businesses that do not



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