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What is online marketing?


Written by Niek van Son MSc on September 14, 2021

Niek van Son

Last updated June 15, 2023

What is marketing?

The position of online marketing within the marketing profession quite often leads to confusion. Therefore, here is the American Marketing Association's definition of marketing (2023):

"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."

Freely translated: Marketing is the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offers that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large.

What is online marketing?

And now for the definition of online marketing:

"Online marketing - or Internet marketing - is the marketing of a product, service or brand over the Internet. Online marketing includes all online marketing activities used to achieve various business objectives."

Visual representation of the position of online marketing within marketing

Online marketing within marketing

Why is online marketing so important?

Meanwhile, all businesses can be found on the web whether you are small or large. Besides being good for the reliability of your business to be findable on the Web, where they can read more about you who you are and what you offer, online marketing has several other advantages over offline marketing:

The ability to measure results

Google Analytics and other analytics programs make a variety of results and statistics readily apparent. This allows the effectiveness of various marketing activities to be accurately measured. Online marketing strategies can be continuously adjusted in order to permanently pursue the best results.

Effectively utilizing advertising budget

With online marketing, an advertising budget can be used effectively by targeting the most interested people. In addition, targeted ads ensure that people are approached at exactly the time when they are most likely to make purchases or requests.

Personalization of marketing

In addition to targeted targeting, marketing campaigns can be personalized. A customer's needs can be addressed directly, resulting in better customer satisfaction, more repeat purchases and a loyal customer base.

Ability to analyze purchase behavior

With video recording and A/B testing, among other things, purchase behavior can be analyzed. Thus, purchase processes can be optimized and customer satisfaction and sales increased.

Objectives of online marketing

With online marketing, several objectives are pursued. For example, online marketing is used to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Strengthen brand identity
  • Attract new customers
  • Optimize customer retention
  • Build a loyal community
  • Lead generation

There are various forms of online marketing that contribute directly or indirectly to achieving these goals. The key to effective marketing is optimizing and aligning different online marketing activities to achieve the best results and highest profitability per channel.

Forms of online marketing

Online marketing consists of a number of forms that contribute differently to your online marketing goals. We'll discuss the main forms of online marketing with you.

SEO - search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) improves the organic findability of a website. An extensive keyword research shows which keywords are most used by potential customers when searching for a certain subject, service or product. It is carefully considered which keywords contribute to better findability and a higher conversion ratio (more sales or requests). After determining which keywords will yield the best results, they are strategically implemented in website texts, blogs, landing pages, category and product descriptions. These keywords are also used in tags, photos, coding, URLs and meta information, in order to optimize the technical side of the website for search engines as well.

Google Ads - search engine advertising (SEA)

Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is an important part of online marketing. With this form of advertising, "search queries" are answered directly with catchy text ads. These ads appear at the top of the search results list, above the organic search results. Search engine advertising also begins with extensive keyword research. It looks at search volumes, but also at the commercial potential of the keywords. For example, it is important that the search terms used in the ad correspond to a commercial search question; a search question from a potential customer who is (almost) ready to buy or sign up. Then, based on the ad budget, bids are placed on the most relevant keywords, after which costs are charged per click (CPC).

Online advertising and remarketing

In addition to Ads, there are several forms of online advertising. For example, banners can be placed on websites where a large part of the target audience is with display advertising. This type of advertising is commonly used to generate brand awareness among a large audience. With remarketing, website visitors are reminded of a particular company or product by repeatedly showing them an ad on the various online platforms and websites they visit.

Social media marketing

Various social media channels, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn lend themselves ideally to increasing brand awareness, building a loyal community and generating more website visitors. Being active on a regular basis can create a vibrant community with engaged followers and loyal customers. Advertising can be done within the channels with the goal of increasing the community or directing prospects directly to a particular page or product. Advertising on social media can be very effective because the target audience can be accurately targeted.

Conversion Optimization

Many online marketing activities aim to direct potential customers to a particular page or Web site. However, when these potential customers land on the page in question, they should proceed to purchases or inquiries. With conversion optimization, a page is set up in a conversion-oriented way. The website visitor is guided towards the most important "Call to Action" with strategic texts and catchy images. Reviews, promotions, trust (e.g. social proof) and attractive buttons are used to persuade the visitor to take action. With video recording and A/B testing, the website visitor's behavior can be mapped out in order to test and optimize conversion orientation.

Email Marketing

With e-mail marketing, (potential) customers are approached in a personal way via e-mail. A company can share useful information, highlight new interesting products, offer special discounts and more. Email marketing allows someone to be approached in a personal way, responding directly to someone's needs. Email marketing is an effective way to encourage repeat customers and build a loyal customer base.

The key to effective online marketing

In online marketing it is very important that the various components are used in such a way that they reinforce each other's effect. For example, Dutch facebook ads agency may be advertised to get more "page likes," but if there is no activity on the page then the value of a new follower is quickly lost. Google Ads ads can perfectly match search queries, but if the landing page then does not match the visitor's expectation, they will quickly leave the page. Website content can be fully SEO optimized, but if the navigation and conversion orientation of the website leaves something to be desired, then there is little chance that a visitor will proceed to purchases or inquiries.

Thus, in online marketing, a comprehensive online marketing strategy is very important. An approach in which the various aspects are optimized and coordinated with each other, in order to achieve the best results and the highest profitability per component.

Outsource online marketing to an online marketing agency

As mentioned above, there are several forms of online marketing, all of which can contribute to business goals in their own way. What makes an online marketing agency special in this field is, that they have a specialist in house for the different forms of online marketing. For example, at Tasmanic we work with SEO specialists, SEA specialists, Social Ads specialists and professional copywriters. Because these individuals are experts in a specific form of online marketing, they can give your business a boost in SEO, SEA and Social Ads. Therefore, when you as a business have clear goals for your online marketing and also how it contributes to the business goals, working with an online marketing agency can help you achieve your business goals more effectively and efficiently.


American Marketing Association. (2023). Definitions of Marketing. https://www.ama.org/the-definition-of-marketing-what-is-marketing/

Niek van Son

Niek van Son MSc

Marketing Management (MSc, University of Tilburg). 10+ years of experience as an online marketing consultant (SEO - SEA). Occasionally writes articles for Frankwatching, Marketingfacts and B2bmarketeers.nl.

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