So What Does the Term Internet Marketing Really Mean in Todays World?

When you use or hear the term Internet Marketing what pops into your head? Terms such as get rich quick, make money online, spam & scam tend to be the first things people think of.

It’s a shame that over the years the term has gathered such a bad reputation, as it’s an incredibly effective way of growing a business.

However, even I, as an online marketing specialist, go out of my way not to use the term Internet Marketing or Internet Marketer in any of my content or products because of the negative connotations.

The official definition according to Webopedia is

“Internet marketing, or online marketing, refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce, in addition to sales leads from Web sites or emails.”

So what am I getting at here?

The reason I’m writing this blog post is because I recently sent out a survey to my subscribers and one of the comments I received on the survey said Is it really possible to make money online?

As I considered that question it reminded me of my hunger back in 2010 to quickly and easily make millions just by following a video training program by one of the many IM ‘gurus’ and clicking a few buttons.

The reality of course some 4 years later is very different and I wanted to address the true meaning of ‘Internet Marketing’ and ‘Making Money Online’.

Simply put Internet Marketing is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s marketing on the internet. The same is true of ‘make money online’, it basically means making money from your products or service on the internet.

But here is where I believe the confusion comes in. People (through no fault of their own) view Internet Marketing as a complete package. Internet Marketing equals Make Money Online.

They’re looking for the magic button that turns the term Internet Marketing into money in their bank.

The truth of the matter is that IM is simply a tool. It’s a strategy for generating more leads to your product or service. It’s only a part of the puzzle not the entire jigsaw.

You must have a product or service to market, whether that’s your own or someone else’s.

For example;

  • Perhaps you have an ebook or a digital course of some kind that you want to promote using IM strategies;
  • Perhaps someone else has a super good product that pays you commission if you sell any and you want to promote that using IM strategies;
  • Perhaps you’re a lead generation expert using IM strategies and so can consult / coach other businesses how to do the same;
  • Perhaps you have a physical product that you want to reach a global market using IM strategies;
  • Perhaps you’re an established offline business who wants to expand it’s reach using IM strategies;

and so on.

Can you see that the Internet Marketing part is simply the strategy to help you reach a wider audience and generate more leads & sales. It’s not the business itself. You must have something tangible to start with.

However this is where the second part of the confusion pops up. The fact is in todays social media, blogging and content fuelled world, you actually don’t need something tangible right at the start. That can come later.

These days you can market yourself or your brand first without having anything to sell. In fact you’re taught that over and over again by people who believe list building comes first and selling products comes second.

The challenge with this model is that you can very quickly become disillusioned and disappointed when your seemingly hard work at creating content and garnering likes & follows etc results in no returns – “because you haven’t got anything to sell’!

It’s like inviting a hungry crowd into an empty chocolate shop.


The fact is whether you start with products or add them in later, you have to start with your business in mind.

  • What problems do you solve?
  • What is or will be your business offering to your target market?
  • What’s your vision for your business in 6 months, a year, 5 years etc.

Stop thinking in terms of finding your niche and start thinking about ‘What’s My Business’.

Over the last 4.5 years I have worked with WordPress trainers, product creation specialists, dog trainers, hairdressers, social media managers, fitness experts, raw food educators, art & painting trainers, art sellers, speaking coaches, children’s entertainers, graphic design teachers, arts & crafts creators, chicken experts, football coaches, ecommerce sellers, photographers and many more varied businesses.

So you see, Internet Marketing is not all about selling how to ‘make money online’ to people who want to know ‘how to make money online’.

It’s all about how to take your product or service (or that of someone else’s) and market it online in order to generate more leads and increase your sales.

Action Steps

    1. If you’re new to marketing online or have been struggling for some time to get your business off the ground, the first thing I want you to get absolutely crystal clear in your mind is;What is my business? What am I in the business of?
    2. Understand and recognise that Internet Marketing is simply a series of techniques to help you get the message about your business out to a wider audience.
    3. Stop looking for a magic button and know that like any business this takes a lot of work, moving out of your comfort zone and down right hard graft.
    4. Look out for my follow up blog post – “Setting Your Business Goals”. I think you’ll find it a lot of help.

Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear your views and comments below. What’s holding you back from getting your business off the ground, How can I help?

I look forward to chatting!

Jo :)


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