Small Business Online Marketing, also referred to as Small Business Internet Marketing, web-marketing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), or e-Marketing, is defined as the promotion or marketing of products or services throughout, over, or across the Internet (or World Wide Web).

Online Marketing is an absolute necessity for virtually every Small Business to achieve success because it is critically important to be where your customers are – online! According to recent surveys, over 81% of people search online before making a purchase.

The “live” and interactive nature of online marketing offers the opportunity to elicit instant feedback from a global marketplace of potential customers about your marketing initiatives, as well as to build virtual communities of customers and others interested in your goods and services.

Internet marketing is relatively inexpensive in comparison to the cost of other media to reach your target audience, customers, and to conduct marketing tests and surveys.

In many ways, online marketing represents a “great equalizer” between large multinational conglomerates and small internet startup businesses. Indeed, when Google filed its Initial Public Offering (IPO) for a public stock offering, the founders of Google alluded to the desire to build the company in such a way that it that would foster fair competition for search engine rankings between all publishers of web-content. The secret algorithm that Google uses to rank search and “sponsored listing” (i.e. AdWords) results is constructed so as to reduce the impact of large advertising budgets.

Small Business Online Marketing can be conducted in a myriad of ways, including websites (web pages), blogging, Social Media (Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Tagged, Yahoo Answers, Yahoo Profiles, Windows Live, etc), Affiliate Marketing, Local Internet Marketing, paid advertising (Pay Per Click, Pay Per Action, sponsored text links, etc), article publishing, email marketing, user forums, and more.

Small Business Online Marketing techniques have been dramatically affected by improvements in the telecommunications infrastructure (i.e. widespread adoption of broadband – reportedly accessible by over 90% of U.S. based households as of 2010), as well as continual advances in personal-computing power (i.e. better, faster, and less costly technologies widely available, and easily accessible to consumers).

Key Benefits of Small Business Online Marketing include:

· Ability to build and strengthen customer relationships through the conduct of “virtual dialogs”.
· The ability to perform geo-location specific marketing campaigns (e.g. Local Search Marketing – Note: 1 in 3 searches are now “local based”)
· Ability to develop Customer Communities using Social Media.
· Customer-Centric dynamic content delivery (i.e. the delivery of user-targeted marketing content based on individual user search and other online behaviors).
· Demographically targeted marketing content.
· Rich media and interactive content delivery
· Low cost barrier for participation and “entry”.
· Abundant opportunities for highly effective “no cost’ marketing campaigns.