When you market a business online, you have a lot of tools at your disposal. At times it can be very confusing to try and understand how they all fit in.

Here are 5 categories for the new tools of online marketing. Understanding these 5 categories will help you plan and budget for your online marketing.

Keyword AnalysisHelps you pinpoint exactly what your prospective customers are searching for. Provides insight into their buying intentions and helps target your online marketing efforts.

Keyword analysis tools and databases are available that report on popularity of keywords and competition.
Content MarketingPublish content that helps solve a problem, and build an audience that includes prospective customers. A content led strategy builds trust and generates targeted prospects for your business.

Content marketing tools include blogs, forums, articles, social networking participation, press releases and eBooks.
Search MarketingMany people turn to search engines like Google as the first port of call to research products and services. Find the most effective blend of paid and organic search marketing strategies to attract visitors to your online business who are interested in your products and services.

Pay per click and pay per action search options are available from the search engines themselves. There is an entire industry that has built up around organic search consulting and tools.
Email MarketingA lot of prospective customers will not buy from you on their first visit to your site. Some of them will sign up to receive information or education via an opt in email list. Email marketing is a great tool for building an ongoing conversation with prospects.

Email autoresponders are at the core of email marketing.

Affiliate MarketingDo you want other businesses to help sell your product or service on a commission basis? Or other online businesses to help build your email list? Affiliate marketing lets you broaden rapidly your online marketing activity.

There are affiliate marketing networks you can use to access networks of affiliates, or website plugins you can use to run your own affiliate programmes.

I’ve used this categorisation for some time now, and its pretty useful. There are other marketing tools online that don’t fit that neatly into this model – feel free to suggest how you see those tools either fitting into these categories, or requiring new categories of their own.