Many people I know think that internet marketing is only for people who have internet based businesses. That could not be further from the truth.

Internet marketing is something that every business owner, and particularly every small business owner, should be doing. It should not be an option in your marketing plan – it should be a distinct and non-negotiable element.

There are several reasons that I say this. First, there is the fact that internet marketing has the potential to reach a far wider audience than anything you could ever do in offline media. Even the best print publications only reach a few thousand readers. The internet has the potential to reach billions.

Next, there is the cost. Traditional advertising and marketing methods are costly, and transient. The flyers you print today, or the newspaper ad you run, will only be seen by a few people for a short while. What you put on the internet might cost you nothing, and it will be seen forever. There is no better return on your marketing investment!

That should have your attention, but you’re probably wondering how you can use internet marketing to increase your business’s exposure, whether it’s a brick and mortar concern, or an online enterprise. The good news is that there are several methods, and that they are all based on a few principles.

The first thing you should know about internet marketing is that it’s all centred around key words, and the search algorithms that search engines use to categorise and rank websites. In very simple terms, search engines use the keywords they find on the content of your site, as well as your site’s title and metatags, to decide what your site is about, and where it should be categorised in searches. They also use links to your site, and your site’s traffic, to decide how popular your site is, and what page rank it should have.

Once you know those two basic facts, the goals of internet marketing should be clearer – to find, and use, the best keywords to get your site noticed by people looking for your products and services, and to build your site’s page rank by increasing links, and traffic.

Among the paid for options that you could choose to accomplish this is pay per click advertising. This allows you to ‘buy’ space on search engines and other platforms, on the first page of results, or in prominent positions, where your advertisements are displayed. There are also search directories, where you can pay for a listing for your site, along with your web address and other information, as well as other methods like in text ads, or advertising in popular ezines or on websites with high traffic.

Of course, if you are just starting out, you might not have the budget for that, which brings us to the real beauty of internet marketing: the free options, that require only time and effort to achieve.

Article marketing is one of these, and one of the most popular options. To do this type of internet marketing, you, or someone you hire, writes articles relating to your business, and using your keywords, and posts them on free article directories, or services like HubPages or Squidoo. The articles include information about you, and your site, and they are informative and interesting, whetting the reader’s appetite for more.

Free classified sites are another option, and whether you respond to ads in the ‘wanted’ sections, or post your own, they are another good choice.

Then there are services like YouTube, where you can post videos with links to your site, or social networking platforms like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and Linked In, where you can connect with individuals who may have an interest in your business.

Starting a blog, or guest blogging on a popular blog related to your industry is another internet marketing option, as is commenting on related blogs or forums, with a link to your site. (Exercise caution with the latter, however, as there are spam laws governing what you can and cannot post!)

The truth is, you could write a book about the many options available in the internet marketing arena (and plenty of people have). It is a vast platform, with the potential to reach more potential customers than any other medium in the world, and if you are not already leveraging the internet in your marketing efforts, then you are doing things the hard way!

Author's Bio: 

Andrew McCombe is the owner of Activate Your Business where they teach new and existing business owners to Start, Grow and / or Automate their business(es) with EASE, so they can live a life of EASE. For more information and to get a free copy of the 10 EASY Steps to Your Perfect Business EBook, visit