Check out this dictionary definition for internet marketing:
“… also referred to as i-marketing, web-marketing, online-marketing or e-marketing, is the marketing of products or services over the Internet.”
Note that nothing is mentioned about making wads of money or getting rich overnight. But this is essentially the reason why many people jump on the internet marketing bandwagon. They see it as a pathway to riches, but they fail to understand the fundamental purpose. In many ways this approach can be likened to a form of exploitation – taking advantage of an honourable profession in the pursuit of significant financial gain.
Let’s go back to the basics and analyse what we, as internet marketers, are trying to do. All marketers have the same goal in sight – to sell a product or service. In the high street every shop owner is trying to attract customers to buy whatever they have on offer. It may be a pair of shoes, a pound of carrots, or an insurance policy.
Shop fronts are made to look attractive in order to draw potential customers in, and there will be offers to encourage the purchase of goods. If the shop keeper has any business awareness then they will be looking to make up-sells or develop close personal relationships with customers.
Internet marketers have a similar approach – they have a product, such as a DVD or eBook to sell, or they offer a service such as a membership site. In place of the shop front they have a website designed to attract potential customers, and once in the site further offers will be made to encourage a purchase. What internet marketers do not have is the direct footfall. In the physical world people walk past shops and look in – the online equivalent is probably the search engine. But what a minefield that is! So internet marketers have developed various approaches to attract potential buyers to their sites.
The articles, the YouTube videos, the links on FaceBook – whatever it takes (yes, even those unsolicited emails!).
Anybody can open a shop, and try to sell whatever they like. But the physical world has potential filters to prevent financial disaster - the majority of shop owners will be seeking funds, and in order to encourage potential investors they will have produced a business plan. If the business plan isn’t financially viable then funding will not be released, and the venture will be a non-starter.
Very few internet marketers start with a clear business plan. They stumble upon some fantastic offer to set up a site with potential offers of $231,769.55 a month (why are these figures always so precise?), they part with their hard-earned cash, they follow the guidance given by the ‘guru’, and wait for the profits to pour in as promised. And they wait, and wait, and wait ….. but eventually it dawns on them that perhaps the sales pitch was just a hollow promise. So they give up, and join the other 95% of wannabee internet marketers who never make a single sale.
If you’re serious about becoming a successful internet marketer then I would urge you to take some time out for reflection. What exactly are you trying to do? How will you achieve your goal? How will you avoid the many pitfalls? Like your local shop-keeper you really do need to sit down and develop a business plan. Having written your plan, how viable does it seem? Are you being realistic or simply living in a fantasy world invented by less scrupulous internet marketing ‘experts’?
Very shortly, in my blog I will be providing a structure for your business plan. It’s time to take stock and really re-assess where you’ve come from and where you’re going. Are you ready for a bit of serious soul-searching?
If so, then I’ll be seeing you very soon!
Keep dreaming those big dreams,