The Internet represents some truly powerful developments, on a global scale. Consumers can now communicate better, reconnect with others in their lives and research products and services from numerous companies. However, the Internet is not beneficial only for consumers. Businesses can also harness the power of the online environment. Small businesses, in particular, can find tremendous value with online marketing. Of course, you’ll need to know what the best marketing options are for your small business.The first rule is to set up a professional, dynamic, interactive website. Do not be satisfied with a placeholder website, as your customers most certainly will not. You need to ensure that your website is compelling, that it invites your customers to come inside, rather than stopping at your homepage. “Bounce” visitors are not good for business – you need to encourage conversion from a visitor to a paying customer.One of the best ways to do this is by using an opt-in mailing list on your website’s homepage. What’s an opt-in list? For consumers, it represents a way to stay informed about the goings on with your company. Perhaps they want to know about new products or services when they come out. Maybe they want to know about new initiatives your company is starting. Regardless, an opt-in mailing list ensures that your customers are able to stay up to date on what’s happening with your company.Of course, for your small business, an opt-in mailing list represents much more than this. It is an open line of communication, directly to your customer’s inbox. In addition, because it’s an opt-in list, you don’t have to worry about being labeled as a spammer – the customer actually signifies their willingness to receive this information through your online form.In addition, an opt-in list provides you with a tremendous way to build a customer database. You can ask for several different types of information through the signup form, including email address, phone number and physical mailing address. Along with your customers’ names, this information provides you with the means to market directly to a targeted, interested market. Of course, you can certainly imagine the power that this puts directly in your hands – gaining access to such, a list traditionally costs a considerable amount of money. The fact that you can do it at no cost to you is an exceptional benefit of online marketing.