Internet marketing can generally be defined as generating sales and/or capturing leads from potential customers that are surfing the Internet.
Traditionally, this has meant trying to get your website into Google (and others) search engine rankings so that it shows up when a potential customer of yours types in a “keyword phrase”. There are specialists and consultants that make their living working with companies to try and get their sites on the first page of Google’s search engine results for the keywords that everyone thinks will generate sales and leads. This consulting service is called search engine optimization.
Internet marketing has grown to include pay per click advertising. These are ads (when you do a Google search, they show up on the right hand side of the page) that are written by advertisers to be triggered when certain keywords or phrases are searched on. Each time a person clicks on the ad, they are sent to the advertiser’s website, and the advertiser is charged for that “click”. This is how Google makes billions of dollars.
The future of Internet marketing will be the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Here, the most efficient advertising will be “viral” and more “virtual word of mouth”. The most effective types of targeting for these advertising vehicles will be demographic targeting rather than keyword targeting. This is much more complex than search engine optimization and pay per click advertising, but has the potential to be much more profitable!