Here by “we”, I mean small to medium-sized businesses. So the question is really “Why do small to medium-sized businesses need online marketing”.
The reason is obvious: cost-saving and effective. Instead of attending trade shows home and abroad, travelling from country to country, city to city, hoping to develop businesses, marketing online is really fast and cost-saving.

The boom of internet has brought us a whole new stage and great effectiveness. And the internet has attracted a huge number of population (called netizen). Billions of mega bytes are moving from PCs to PCs, networks to networks. People go on line to search information, communicate, and buy stuff. And industrial buyers go on line sourcing vendors. I don’t see a reason for us to stay away from the internet.

And the majority of netizen tend to use search engines to find things they need. Thus online marketing can be named search engine marketing (SEM), which is the center of the works of online marketing.

What SEM can do are:

Cost saving (of course!)

Drive targeted traffic to the website and convert

Build well maintained platform of communication for you and your clients

Improve corporate image (in E time, website often gives first impression and helps build corporate image a lot)

Quicken the buying/selling process

Better understand customer needs and wants

Shorten the customer service responding time

And there are a lot more that SEM can do to help small and medium sized businesses.

Beyond SEM, online marketing can work with offline marketing approach to bring better come outs.

In my other article, I have suggested that doing marketing research is not realistic for small to medium sized businesses due to the cost and time the research needs. However, the online marketing or SEM may help them. By tracking the visitors records, page views, buying behaviors and other online activities, we can easily obtain a view into the market. This is technically practical and relatively cheap.

Unfortunately a lot of small to medium companies mistook online marketing as website creation and running – actually they are not “running” websites, they just put the websites and leave them there. Other than that, no online marketing activities are conducted.

Nevertheless, the current bad situation of online marketing may be your advantage. You take the initiative, you may win out.