No business, online or traditional, can exist without marketing. In fact no human endeavor can ever get out of its conceptualization without it being marketed in one form or the other.

It matters not whether the end is to make money or just to propagate an idea, a principle, a belief, it must still be marketed to be known, and accepted, by the audience it is intended for.

Marketing is a very broad subject. Something a newbie can easily get lost in. Before the Internet, marketing was simpler but expensive, its coverage largely limited. Now it has become more complex but cheap. And it can be spread quite easily all over the world at the press of a key.

But before a newbie gets into its complexity, these marketing tidbits should prepare him for what is to come:

What is marketing?
Generally, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Sorry, if I got you a little confused with that.

To put it simpler, “Marketing is a product or service related set of activities. To be effective, it must create the strategies, sales techniques, business communications and developments.”

Prior to the Internet, this was commonly done through printed and broadcast media (word-of-mouth, radio and TV). Now, the power of the Internet has made it possible to reach out to a broader base of potential customers in a variety of ways.

Common forms of online marketing:
The Internet has spawned a very wide variety of online businesses. By necessity, this gave way to a variety of marketing methods as well. Here are a few a newbie must know:

– Affiliate marketing:
This is a marketing type used by companies with affiliate programs where affiliates promote the company’s goods and services. Payment schemes vary, i.e., direct commissions for goods sold, or for bringing in other affiliates or by viewing sites.

Affiliate marketing occupies a huge chunk in the overall online business marketing.

– Display advertising:
This is a marketing method where companies display their banners, logos, widgets in other people’s websites. This increases awareness among a broad range of viewers which, hopefully, will visit the company and buy its products.

– Email marketing:
In this marketing method, companies or individuals send promotional emails to targeted customers. It is fast, simple and cheap.

The downside is that unless done the right way, you could be banned for spamming.

– Interactive advertising:
This is similar to display marketing but uses animation and computer graphics rather than static banners to get viewer attention. Definitely more lively, it is also more expensive to set up and manage.

In some interactive advertising, viewer participation is required.

– Search engine marketing:
In this marketing method, companies use keyword-rich ads to increase their odds of being viewed by people searching the Internet for items of interest.

Search engine optimized ads use the services of high-flying copywriters for their expensive marketing campaigns.

– Viral marketing:
This is a “pass-it-along” kind of marketing. Companies using this type encourage viewers to pass the information along to friends, relative and associates by offering incentives like a free report, a free e-book, and subscription to a newsletter, a free website, a mailing list, etc.

This is heavily used in affiliate marketing as well.

Regardless of method, online marketing is convenient, affordable and fast. It also allows advertisers to track marketing results. Because it is cheap, practically anyone can do it from their homes.

The downside of online marketing is the inability of customers to touch, smell, taste, and “try on” the tangible goods they are buying – things considered important for most people.