Opportunities In Online Marketing

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 6400 , Published on 04 July 2012

A common test in every psychiatrist’s room is the word association test. The doctor tells a word and the patient blurts out the first word that comes to his/her mind. After the “Kolaveri” rage, across India the psychiatrists said ‘online marketing’, and anyone who dint answer Dhanush or ‘Why this Kolaveri’ were treated for major mental issues.

But then again, is that rage what online marketing is all about? Yes of course it is, if you can prove that King Cobra is the only snake in the Indian Subcontinent!  The success of the ‘Kolaveri Di’ is considered just a small part of what online marketing is all about. Actually it is something none of the marketing experts strive for but always pray for. Here is a discussion on some basic opportunities available in Online Marketing.


What is it that online marketing includes? The answer is simple – a million things. There is email advertising, banner ads, search engine optimization, Google adwords, referral marketing, etc. To talk about all these items is way beyond the scope of this article; More importantly its way beyond the talents of an average human being. Even the greatest minds on online marketing could not predict or even simulate the success of ‘Kolaveri’. To simplify things lets classify the opportunities of online marketing into three broad categories:

  • Advertising
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Earned Media


If there was an award for the most annoying part of online marketing, then advertising would definitely get the Nobel Prize. The spam mails that clog your inbox or ad pop-ups that come when you are urgently booking a flight ticket or banners that float the screen hiding the site you want to visit, or even pretty little women coming on chat all of a sudden asking you to sign up in some website. All those tedious little bits are part of some company’s online marketer deciding the best way to get a customer is by irritating the customer. It’s like branding a horse with hot iron. The horse and the customer alike hate it but it still happens. Email marketing, Google ad words, banner ads all of these are part of this.

Here is how you get back at them. Most of the time advertising online works on the simple principle of PPC or pay per click. In simple words if a customer clicks the advertisement the advertiser has to pay money to the website which publishes it. Now use your imagination and take revenge on all those online ads that clog the internet. There are more types to these payments which can be:

  • Cost per click – also called pay per click as discussed above
  • Cost per lead – Pay per Lead or Pay per Action when the advertiser pays for every referral by the publisher.
  • Cost per Sale – Pay per sale, when payment is done when the final sale is done.
  • Cost per mille – Cost of advertising for a thousand page views(mille is thousand in Latin)

There are variations and hybrids of the above and even more innovative ideas as we move from one marketing strategy to another.

Affiliate Marketing

It is something that any website or company should work hard for as this provides a win-win situation for both the publisher and advertiser. Consider a garment company that sells high quality shirts online. They have an official site at say – www.goodshirts.com. Now consider a blogger who writes good things about these shirts and provides links to the garment company’s site. Readers of the blog, who are impressed, click the link provided by the blogger taking them to www.goodshirts.com where the reader buys a shirt.

If the blogger was an affiliate of the garment company or has agreed to the affiliate program of the garment company then the blogger gets a commission for the sale. Everyone wins. The garment company sold a shirt, the blog writer got a commission, the blog reader got a shirt and he improved his reading skills too. And that is affiliate marketing.

Now, how the garment company finds out from which affiliate the sales happened is left for the technically skilled people. It involves URL ids, cookies and other science fiction magic. That’s a completely different ball game all together. But the point to be noted here is to realize how big this affiliate marketing really is as far online marketing is concerned. There are individuals who make dollars and rupees in the tens of thousands every month through affiliate marketing. They are seen in every industry and especially prevalent in web technology related industries. A perfect example of this affiliate programs can be seen in some web hosting site like www.host.in. As an example that too is just the tip of an iceberg but for a want of one that is given.

Earned Media

If the ‘Kolaveri’ Rage has to be put into any of the classifications this is where it comes. Suppose someone like Chethan Bagath writes something good about a College or School without any compensation. He found something interesting about the institution which he penned down in some article. This in turn actually gave a good name to the institution. More and more people started getting their children into this institution because of the article by Chethan Bagath. Now this is earned media. In simple words: goodwill that is earned.

In case of ‘Why this Kolaveri’ whether the song really earned all that success is still under debate because more than half the people searching for the song on internet just wanted to know what the hype was all about. By word of mouth, by facebook, by twitter, by sheer curiosity ‘Kolaveri’ became the hit of the year. Now that is earned media for you. There are CEOs who would sell their souls, if their company or product could get that kind of attention with no investment what so ever.


So next time you see some link in a site, an ad in a blog, a banner in a forum, or even a pop-up that was not blocked by firewall, remember that it was all made by a group of online marketers sitting in some AC rooms (maybe not always in AC) trying to get their web sites noticed and make some money out of it. So just click the link the dude: Its Online Marketing. You may enter too and start wishing that the others clicked your links.

This article has been authored by Nikhil Krishnadas from SIIB.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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