Internet marketing is still a complete mystery to a large majority of Internet users. For many users, internet marketing is seen as some foreign area of the web, populated with silly get-rich-quick schemes and unsavory characters ready to rip off the innocent and uninformed consumer at the click of a mouse.
In reality, Internet marketing is populated mainly with hard working professionals promoting and selling high quality brand products by many of the world's Top 500 companies.
Worldwide there are now over a billion Internet users, representing one large global consumer base or marketplace. The total amount of goods sold online has been steadily increasing each year as the Internet gains in both popularity and familiarity. Studies have shown people shop online because of lower prices, a wider selection of products, easier comparison shopping, and many just prefer not having to travel to stores to make a purchase.
Still Internet marketing has gotten a raw deal.
If you mention to any group of professionals that you're an Internet Marketer and that you work full time on the Internet... you will receive some very skeptical looks and more than one arched eyebrow of disbelief.
Regardless of this lingering skepticism, Internet marketing has become a viable alternative for many disgruntled professionals dissatisfied with their working hours or conditions. It has become a viable alternative for many people from all walks of life. From the college student to the bored housewife to the retired doctor... all are enjoying a part time or full time income from the comfort of their homes.
And since the Internet is now practically available to everyone, anywhere in the world - Internet marketing is a level playing field. There are many forms of Internet marketing. There are many online business models you can follow. There are countless ways to earn a good honest income from the Internet. Which path you take will be largely determined by research, work habits, and the time you are willing to put forth.
Here's a quick rundown of the most popular forms of Internet Marketing:
1. The Brick and Mortar Store Online . Most major companies and retail stores have created online versions of their brick and mortar businesses. Even if consumers don't buy online, many use these sites for gathering product information before buying in the real world. A factor many savvy businesses are exploiting in their overall marketing strategies.
2. Online Services . Many service industries have moved online, everything from travel to banking to dating! Again, the Internet can be a profitable extension for any service company.
3. Internet Gurus ... Internet marketing has a whole history of pioneers who have forged the methods and techniques of marketing online - opt-in lists, mini-sites, article marketing, pay-per-click advertising, joint ventures... a brief history populated with such names as John Reese, Marlon Sanders, Ralph Wilson, Yanik Silver, Corey Rudl, Ken Evoy and countless others.
A whole new industry has grown around 'How-to' market online, info products, workshops and web seminars - teaching people how to market on the Internet. A marketer creating his own product can prove very productive - as seen by John Reese's 2004 launch of Traffic Secrets, which earned over a million dollars in one day. (Without a penny of paid advertising!)
4. Online Advertising and Pay-Per-Click advertising such as those offered by Google Adwords and others, presents another viable marketing route. Keywords (the exact words typed into a search engine) fuel a large portion of the web's activity. Keyword marketing has become a major driving force behind most of the economic transactions on the web. This is a very lucrative sector for those Internet marketers who know exactly what they're doing.
Then there is the whole section of SEO experts and consultants who command high prices for positioning companies or products in the top positions on the major search engines. Acquiring organic Top 10 search results will greatly determine the profitability of your online product or company.
5. Affiliate Marketing . One of the least understood, yet one of the most profitable forms of Internet marketing is affíliate marketing. An online marketer can join any affíliate program and promote its products or services on the Internet. You market the products, find customers for the company and receive a commission for each sale you make from your marketing efforts. These commissions can run anywhere from 2% to over 75%. One affíliate click can earn you anywhere from a few cents to several hundred dollars.
Major third party affíliate programs or companies such as Commission Junction, Clickbank, LinkShare, Amazon, Shareasale... act as a brokerage or go-between, representing thousands of Top Brand companies such as Sony, Apple, Dell... to online affíliate marketers. Marketers can join a program such as Commission Junction or LinkShare and be able to promote and market hundred of top quality products or services online. They can consolidate their affíliate marketing through these third party programs.
Perhaps the most common business model for the majority of online marketers is the last example, or a combination of advertising and affíliate sales. Many work-from-home professionals have adopted this business model. They have created a site or sites on the topic that interests them and of which they have or have gained some expert knowledge.
Once these sites become established and gather a large amount of targeted web traffíc each day, making a nice income can only be a matter of putting the Google Adsense code on their pages and placing a few appropriate affíliate links on their sites.
The more traffíc these marketers deliver to their sites, the more income they earn. The more unique content they create, the more income they earn. The more web sites they design, the more income they earn.
What many people outside of the web marketing field fail to realize is that the Internet is a 24/7/365 business. The Internet is always on and working for you. It is automatically producing income for you 24 hours of the day - while you're sleeping, while you're enjoying a nice meal with friends, or even while you're on vacatíon.
Internet marketing can provide you with a lifestyle that is totally liberating - you can live and work anywhere in the world. You can be the boss, set your hours and work from the comfort of your home. Plus your whole online Internet business can be automated so it basically runs itself.
Internet marketing is totally flexible. You can adjust your workload to suit your work habits. Internet marketing is scalable, once you have learned how to make your first dollar; it is only a simple matter of repeating and scaling up what you did to earn that dollar. Computers and the Internet make it just as easy to handle a thousand sales as it is to handle one sale.
As Internet marketing becomes better known, it will gradually earn more and more respect. It will become a well recognized profession that many will aspire to and follow as a life long career. Mainly because Internet marketing will give you the freedom rarely seen in any other profession.
It offers you mobility, a high standard of living, and a working environment that can't be beat. It gives you the freedom to follow your interests and hobbies; all the while turning those interests into viable revenue streams that supports the lifestyle of your choosing.
When it is all said and done, earning a living just doesn't get any better than this.