The subject of electronic marketing will not be complete without at least
mentioning the network or all computer networks, known as the Internet.
Founded over 20 years ago by the U.S. military, and managed in part by the
National Science Foundation, the Internet has 20 to 30 million users worldwide
People who use the Internet include, entrepreneurs, executives, researchers,
educators, technicians, consumers, activists, students, and military
personnel. Most use the Internet to exchange e-mail, pursue special
interests, search databases, and conduct business.
One of the most popular uses of the Internet allows you to send and receive
messages to and from people around the world from the comfort of your home
computer. These messages, which are free to send, are almost always delivered
faster and more accurately than regular mail. You can send messages to anyone
who has an Internet address. This includes members of most online services.
It is estimated that over 4,000 e-mails per minute go through the Internet
What this means to you as an information marketer is that you can conduct
"direct mail" through the Internet to existing and potential customers.
This will eliminate your postage and printing costs. It will also reduce the
amount of time needed to process your mail.
The Internet also has mailing lists to which you can have your e-mail address
added. These mailing lists are made up of groups of Internet users with
similar interests. The users send messages back and forth to each other
regarding relevant topics. For example, if you are selling a publication on
gardening, you might want to join a mailing list of users interested in
outdoor hobbies. Whenever someone sends e-mail to this mailing list, the
e-mail goes to everyone on the mailing list. Sometimes the mailing list is
monitored by an administrator. If this is the case, you may be limited to
the kinds of e-mail you can send. If you can't find a list that has to do
with your publication's topic, you can start your own mailing list and wait
for others to join.
Once you join a mailing list, usually for free, you can receive 1000's of
e-mails from users you have already selected based on their interests.
You can then respond by sending an e-mail to each user's e-mail address.
Your e-mail might be a short message where you mention how your information
products can help them. Rather than responding to each e-mail individually,
you may be able to respond by sending one e-mail to the entire Internet
The Internet also has what is called, USENET newsgroups. This aspect of the
Internet allows users with specific interests to forms groups and share
information with each other, usually by posting messages that others
can read. Unlike mailing lists, you do not need to send or receive any
e-mail. You simply connect to the Internet, locate a USENET newsgroup, and
read or post messages to that particular group.
Marketers can also use USENET newsgroups by finding a newsgroup that focus
on interest of specific advantage to the information products being sold.
You can do this by scanning the messages that have been posted. By recording
users e-mail addresses, you can compile a mailing list to which you can
e-mail information describing your product.
The Internet also has 100's of free databases that can be accessed to gain
information on practically any subject. These databases are indexed so that
you can search for information using key words or phrases. Most are run by
volunteers, but, just about anyone can start one. Publishers can use these
databases for two purposes. First, they are an excellent source of current
information. This information can be used to help you write your publication.
Second, experienced publishers can create their own database. Once created,
the database can be accessed by millions of Internet users worldwide. Your
own database can contain your publication(s), much like your own BBS.
Finally, the Internet, like many online services, is scattered with 1000's of
interesting computer files that is accessible free of charge to Internet
users. These files are usually located in areas called special interest
groups (SIGs). There are over 5,000 SIGs on the Internet.
Information Marketers can upload free reports, announcements, press releases,
etc., to these SIGs for others to download. This process is known as file
transfer protocol (FTP).
Using this process, Internet users can send and receive computer files
all around the world. These computer files may contain more complex
information than contained in standard e-mails. These computer files can
contain text, graphics, sound, or they may be actual programs. They have all
been created, saved, and stored by a computer connected to the Internet. You
can send and receive advertisements, small reports, or entire publications
using the File Transfer Protocol.