As a business owner, you know that one of the keys to a successful year is promoting your business. No matter what size your business is, marketing and promotion need to be addressed. Marketing has become a daunting task with the increasing number of online start-up businesses. And now, along with the traditional offline marketing methods, there are many online marketing tools and methods available.Online Marketing is also known as Internet Advertising, web marketing, web advertising or e-marketing.There are many benefits to marketing your business online. Here are a few.Lowering Your CostsA recent eMarketer article sites that “in the wake of the global economic downturn, marketers worldwide are shifting more of their budgets into cheaper, more-measurable categories. In most cases, that means online.”Your marketing budget is only so big and online marketing can stretch it even farther for you. TV and radio spots are expensive, printing costs for corporate and product brochures are expensive and traditional mailings cost not only in materials and postage, but deplete the environment as well. Why not direct potential customers to your website for information on products and services? Your website is your brochure, a marketing tool available 24 hours a day to prospective customers. Your revenue potential will increase while your costs diminish.Offline marketing ads for newspapers, TV and radio are for a limited time and you pay for the time slot and space. In online marketing, your ads potentially can stay up longer and over time you end up paying less. Using article marketing, you could either write an article yourself or pay someone else to write it. When that article is distributed online, it stays on the Internet for many years. For a small cost, you’ve placed a marketing proposition that stays around indefinitely pointing potential customers to your website and your products and services.Compared to traditional marketing or telemarketing, email marketing costs very little. These targeted messages will go directly into the homes and offices of your potential or existing customers.Reaching a Larger Market and a Targeted MarketThe Internet allows people from all over the world to do business with each other.From another recent eMarketer article, in 2009, more than 65% of Americans are Internet users. They’re not only checking e-mail and Twittering, they are shopping for products and services.With traditional media, your ads are restricted to a specific location for a limited time. When you promote your business online, you reach a larger audience than you would ever be able to reach otherwise since your marketing activity is not restricted by location. More potential customers always equal more sales opportunities.Online marketing allows you to target specific demographics such as age, location, gender and income levels and in many cases allows you to track the behaviors of these groups as they interact with your online marketing.It can also bring a branding campaign to life in a new way. This unique consumer interaction with your brand can leverage emotional links to your brand. Instead of a brand talking to a customer, your customer can interact with and experience your brand. This is intelligent brand marketing. You can influence people at the perfect time – their time, right when they are looking for information, comparison shopping and possibly buying.Flexibility and Tangible TrackingOnline marketing can include email, newsletters, blogs, microblogs, podcasts, video and social media sites. All of these outlets have the ability to be flexible. An ad placed in a magazine or newspaper can’t be changed until the next submission. With online marketing you’ll know very quickly if a campaign is working and you can change wording or graphics and adapt product information to match changing market conditions.The Internet also removes any guesswork from measuring campaign results. Using web analytics you can measure the number of visitors that a campaign brings to your website, how long they stay and the average number of pages they visit. This important information along with the flexibility, allows you to improve the conversion of your campaign and to increase your return on investment.Instant Conversion AbilityOnline marketing allows you to convert a shopper to a customer instantly. A potential customer reading a traditional newspaper ad does not have the ability to click a mouse and buy your product or service immediately. Offline marketing involves more time and money to convert a shopper into a sale.Online ads allow direct response. Consumers can click to learn more about a product, sign up for a newsletter or RSS feed, or buy right then and there. This will in turn create a database for you, which, with email marketing, will allow you to reach people who have already expressed an interest in your product or service. And online marketing allows you to sell to anyone, anywhere and at any time. You’re not restricted by time, geography and location considerations.Internet marketing includes strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click marketing (PPC), article marketing, blog marketing, online brandcasting, social media marketing and many more interactive marketing services.While these strategies may seem daunting at first, with a little research, you can use some of these tools to help you optimize your website and increase web traffic. Or, if you have it in your budget, there are companies that specialize in many SEO services.There are many benefits to both online and offline marketing. A mix of the two might be just what your business needs to grow.