The Fatal Flaw in Internet Marketing

by Mike on December 30, 2009

A Sure Path to Failure

Do you call yourself an Internet marketer? Really, what does that mean?

Thinking that you are an Internet marketer or are marketing on the Internet will doom you to focusing on the wrong things. It puts focus in the wrong place. Instead, think of marketing products and services on the Internet.

Marketing products and services starts you thinking about products and services first. The Internet is a platform built around content and if your content is related to the products and services you’re selling, then you are on your way to success in marketing those products and services.

Wind the clock back 15 years. Many businesses marketed by advertising in the Yellow Pages, newspapers, on radio, in magazines. If you had the resources, you might run direct mail campaigns. Some used telephone marketing. The major focus was marketing your product or service not on the medium you were using.

The other thing about the “older” methods was that you knew the cost going into the program. Now, with low cost hosting, blogs, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and other free or low cost platforms, you don’t know the cost of your campaign. You continue to invest time in efforts that may or may not product results. You may pay a lot of money for programs and information from Internet Marketing Gurus.

Your resources are now information and knowledge, but if you don’t have clear products or services, how do you focus and apply that information?

Are You Really in Business?

If you haven’t decided on your products or services, I submit that you don’t really have a business. Where has my focus been? For the last 13 years, it has been in marketing Daytona Beach real estate services to sellers and buyers. I create the leads and prospects and my wife and son are the agents. I do the marketing part-time. They are full time.

How Do I Know?

In the beginning of our real estate business, we successfully focused on print advertising in the local newspaper and real estate magazines. Then when pay-per-click (PPC) advertising became available, we spent about $2,000 per month on that method. It was returning six dollars for every dollar spent.

When the real estate bubble burst, PPC advertising was like throwing money down the drain. It just wasn’t working any longer. At that point we stopped and were left with no viable means of web based advertising and marketing for our services. We didn’t focus on natural SEO because we didn’t need to.

Then, we decided to focus heavily on natural SEO in preparation for the market to return. I invested a lot of time and about $20,000 in programs and coaching to learn the process. I applied what I learned to our real estate business.

Our real estate business survived in 2006 and 2007 with property management – renting and managing homes and condos for others. That’s a hard business and takes a lot of work all hours of the day. We needed to get back to selling homes and condos.

In early 2008, we started marketing our real estate service, focusing on search engine rankings. When we started, we were nowhere in the Google rankings. Within three months we were ranking anywhere from 20 to 190 for our major search terms. Within another three months we were within the top three pages for our targeted terms. Within a year, we were first page for our major search terms. We focused on contents and links, but all our content was directed to our target clients.

Our business went from about one million dollars in sales in 2007, to four million dollars this year. That’s nowhere close to the $10 million we were doing in 2004 and 2005, but we raised our sales to four times the before natural SEO period. 95% of our marketing dollars go to marketing our service on the internet.

The point of this rather long story is that we were in business and used the internet as a tool to market our business. We had a well defined service and business processes. If we didn’t have the focus of the existing business, we would have had nothing to market.

Do You Have Anything to Market?

Really, do you have a product or service? Do you have a business? If not what are you going to market? You can make money on the internet. The question is whether it’s going to be for you or others. I am completely convinced that if I didn’t have a business to work with, I would have completely wasted the time and money spent on learning SEO.

This point has grown rather large so I’m going to end it here. I hope I’ve given you enough to think about. I will post a lot more on this subject over the coming weeks.

The Plan

I am starting a new business to help small businesses market their products and services. I have the technical capability, but our joint success will be based on the strength of their business and their product and service offers. I am still focusing on the final details. I will take my own advice and have solid products and services before I start marketing.

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