Point of Clarity: Thoughts on E-Marketing vs. E-Business

For some time now I have been struggling with differentiating what separates an e-business vs. any other type of business in today's world. The brick-and-mortar test is faulty. It is easy to say that a McDonalds restaurant, dentist's office, or Zara Retail store is not an e-business by virtue of having the brick-and-mortar, offline world presence. But even before the internet, there were millions of businesses that had no locations or even physical office space. Some examples include magazines and mail-order services, along the likes of GQ or Lands' End.

Now, all of these types of businesses have heavy online operations and presence. Many spend huge sums of money on improving their websites, executing effective pay-per-click advertising campaigns, and so on. But, this does not mean any would qualify strictly as an e-business. At the end of the day, they are still offering a real product or service. I would propose that even if an operation such as a magazine or newsletter recruited all or a majority of their customers from the internet, they would not qualify as a e-business.

In today's context, I believe an e-business qualifies as a venture that is comprised of the following:
  • The only product/value offered to the website visitor being information
  • Revenue derived solely from online advertising (think Google Adwords)
  • And/or revenue from the sale of affiliate products
  • And/or revenue from the sale of info-products that are delivered electronically (E-books and pamphlets, for example)
 I preface this definition with the words "today's context" because everything I can find regarding starting an e-business in this point in time, whether it be get rich schemes or legitimate guides, revolves around the above.

Almost any publication or starting an e-business starts with identifying good niche keywords that don't have too much competition on Google. From here, the plan is to create a informative blog or website that caters to this keyword, and monetize it through advertising, the sale of affiliate products relevant to the targeted keywords, or more information surrounding the keywords for a price. The marketing of these types of ventures relies around a few techniques that I will enumerate below. The heavy use of these techniques and their growing importance in the world are what originally confused me as to what truly counts as an e-business.

Now I realize that these techniques, that I will collectively call e-marketing, are necessary for ALL types of businesses. In today's age where it has been proven over and over by academia and practice that new e-marketing techniques are starting to be or are completely more effective in bringing in customers at a better ROI than traditional media, e-marketing and the business-world are inseparable. To current and future entrepreneurs, it is important to know that the following e-marketing techniques are not just for e-businesses, but for everyone. To not be left in the dust, you should begin to familiarize yourself with the following:
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • The importance of Keywords and Backlinks
  • Pay Per Click Advertising
  • Social Media and Related Advertising
  • The Growing Influence of Bloggers and the Blogosphere