What is online marketing? Definition, types, and benefits

A woman in an office uses a laptop to work as a professional online marketer.

Whether you’re in marketing or a related role, you’ve probably heard of online marketing. You might wonder if there is a difference between online marketing, digital marketing, and internet marketing and what exactly it all entails. Or you might want to know if it’s right for your business and how to get started.

If your business is just now looking into online marketing, you’re in good company — 60% of marketing leaders say their companies are only beginning to visualize and build a digital marketing organization. These marketers are all headed online because that’s where the consumers are — and the sales. US adults spend more than eight hours a day consuming digital media, and nearly 30% of US retail sales happen online. That’s a huge share of the market you’re missing out on every day that you don’t have an internet marketing strategy in place.

Online marketing and ecommerce make it possible for the entire customer journey to happen digitally. Potential customers can discover a brand, engage with a brand, make a purchase, and finally advocate for that brand — all online. Plus, digital media can be less costly to produce than print or other mediums, and it can reach a much wider audience.

In this article, you’ll find a definition of online marketing, an explanation of its benefits, the different types, and some tips for getting started.

What is online marketing?

Online marketing, also known as digital marketing or internet marketing, is a form of marketing that uses the internet and technology to connect with potential customers.

Traditional marketing channels include billboards, radio, print, and television, while online marketing shows up in social media, websites, emails, and other forms. The methods, strategies, and channels that fall under the umbrella of online marketing are diverse, but they all seek to use the internet to connect to larger and more targeted audiences.

Online marketing benefits

In the same way that the internet has changed how we live, think, and communicate, it has opened up new possibilities and new benefits to marketers. In addition to offering a wider reach, online marketing is:

Online marketing offers businesses the opportunity to connect with large audiences, often efficiently and affordably, in real time.

Types of online marketing

There are many types of online marketing, and just as the internet continues to change and evolve, the way businesses use it to market their products and services will change along with it. You don’t need to use every type, but successful marketers will select at least a few that complement each other and work best for their goals.

Common types of online marketing include:

Get started with online marketing

For businesses, a good online marketing strategy isn’t just an advantage — it’s essential. That doesn’t mean you need to give up the familiar marketing tools that work. It’s a great idea to use online channels together with traditional ones. And it’s also a great idea to make sure that all your online marketing efforts are integrated.

Evaluate what your current online marketing strategy looks like. You might already have a website, social media accounts, and an email list. The next step is to evaluate how well each of these channels is working for you. You can quantify your answer by calculating the ROI of each digital marketing campaign. Identify the business goals that your digital marketing strategy should support, and then identify your digital marketing goals. Make a list of which aspects of your current online marketing strategy are working and which are not.

Adobe can help

Adobe Marketo Engage is a complete toolkit for all your online marketing efforts. This marketing automation software can help you reach larger audiences at a lower cost, manage new leads, and keep a growing customer base engaged with personalized email campaigns. Be prepared for growth with technology that is scalable for businesses of any size.

To learn how it works, watch the overview video or take an interactive tour.