The 6 Myths of Internet Marketing... and Why You Shouldn't Fall for Them!

The Internet — Hoopla, Hype or Really Great Marketing Tool?

5-mistakes-featuredCan you really sell to 45 million people on the Internet? Is advertising allowed? Is anybody making any sales? Can customers find you if you set up a World-Wide Web site?

Myth #1: Nobody’s making any money on the Internet.

Many Internet entrepreneurs won’t say how they’re doing financially. Often, that’s because they’re doing quite well and they don’t want to tip off the competition.

I’ve seen reports by business people complaining that they have “tried the Internet and it didn’t work.” Maybe they bought into some of these myths. Maybe they failed to apply sound marketing principles in establishing an Internet presence. There are principles of marketing in cyberspace, but to learn them takes research, participation, and time.

Of course, all the mistakes that people make in the real world are being duplicated on the Net. Here are a few of the biggest mistakes they are making to hurt sales on the Internet.

  • Too large graphics
  • Poor design concept
  • Website which is nothing more than a glorified brochure
  • Too much focus on YOU instead of the customer’s problems

Will your company benefit from marketing on the Internet or the World-Wide Web? No one can guarantee that. It’s too early, and the medium is changing too fast to make predictions. A product should meet at least one of these criteria to be a good candidate for direct sales over the Internet now:

  • Appeals to the technologically savvy
  • Appeals to a broad segment of the Internet user base (typically, but not exclusively, educated males under 40)
  • Appeals to a wide geographic audience
  • Is a specialty item otherwise difficult to locate
  • Is an “informed purchase” — the buyer responds to information rather than hyperbole
  • Can be purchased over the Internet less expensively than by other channels
  • Can satisfy the customer’s need for information.

Myth #2: Nobody can find you on the Internet.

A variant of this idea is that it’s difficult for you to find anything on the Internet.

The Internet is big. The World-Wide Web, dominated by commercial companies, is growing fast. To a beginner, the Internet can seem huge, scary, and labyrinthine.

But the Internet is becoming easier for beginners to navigate. The World-Wide Web (WWW) has made a lot of difference. As long as you have the URL (Uniform Resource Locator, or World-Wide Web address) of a site, all you do is enter the URL and your software will connect you to the site instantly. Once you find a site you like, you can easily add it to the “hotlist” or “bookmark” list in your software. This way you can call it up anytime without having to re- type it. So you can very quickly become your own expert navigator.

Now to the next step: Many WWW site owners have set up directories, indexes, search tools, and resource pages with instant links to useful sites. Some of these “teleportation sites” provide general listings with many subject categories and entries. Examples are:

Alta Vista (http://www.altavista.digital.com/)

BizWeb (http://www.bizweb.com/)

Commercial Services on the Net (http://www.directory.net/)

The Lycos Home Page: Hunting WWW Information (http://lycos.cs.cmu.edu/)

The NetCenter (http://netcenter.com/)

NlightN (http://www.nlightn.com/)

Thomas Ho’s Favorite Electronic Commerce WWW Resources (http://www.engr.iupui.edu/~ho/interests/commmenu.html)

WebCrawler Searching (http://www.webcrawler.com/)

The Whole Internet Catalog (http://gnn.com/gnn/wic/index.html)

Yahoo — A Guide to WWW (http://www.yahoo.com/)

Enter these “top-end” sites in your own hotlist, and you immediately gain all of their capability. These directory sites and search tools will continue to get better and easier to use, so that even new users will quickly become crack navigators.

It might take a little work but you can quickly learn how to find your way around on the Internet — and people can find you — if you set things up right.

To help people find your business site on the World-Wide Web, set up plenty of “pointers.” Negotiate links with other sites. Make sure you’re in the directories and navigation lists, many of which are free. You can figure out how to make the announcements, postings, and listings yourself, or you can have an Internet presence provider do it.

And be sure to promote your Internet presence through conventional offline channels — ads, mailings, brochures, press releases, company stationary, business cards, and packaging.

Myth #3: You can advertise to 50 million people over the Internet.

Many of you might have received junk claiming to help you cash in on the Internet. They have proclaimed fancy slogans like: “ADVERTISE TO 90 MILLION+ FOR JUST $20 PER MONTH.” That’s just one of many wild claims I’ve read about how many people you can reach on the Net.

Nobody really knows how many users there are because there’s no central authority over the Internet. No one owns it. It’s a massive interconnection of computer networks, communication lines, and switching equipment.

The Internet has been growing at 100 percent a year since 1988, so the numbers change fast. By October of 1995, the Consumer Internet described by the survey should have reached about 27 million. So what do you think? 50 or 55 million by October 1997? Think of it that way, if you like.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you will reach millions of Internet users with your marketing message. Nor should you try to. The Internet is not a mass market. Don’t try to send out mass unsolicited messages to Internet users, whether through e-mail, mailing lists, or newsgroups. People will be very annoyed and will let you know. There’s nothing to be gained, and you’ll do much better by targeting your audience and making use of the Internet’s interactive capabilities.

Myth #4a: If you try to advertise on the Internet, you’ll get flamed.

No, you won’t. Not if you do it right — by respecting the Internet culture, participating in the online community, advertising appropriately, and being a real resource for others.

I regularly get thousands of visits to http://www.salesmall.com/, my corporate website. I do that because I tactfully sell myself in the newsgroups and discussion lists where my prospects congregate.

Sometimes a carefully worded Signature can get all kinds of people coming to you. A signature is simply a few lines (not more than 4) which describes you and what you do.

Myth #4b: You can’t advertise on the Internet.

The Internet is really a mosaic of many smaller virtual communities, each with its own history, culture, standards, rules, and values. In some of those communities, the words “advertising” and “marketing” have taken on meanings different than in the mainstream business world. To people in some areas of cyberspace, the word “advertising” is a four-letter word, but “marketing” is perfectly acceptable.

I would offer this statement: Certain methods of advertising are not tolerated on the Internet.

I say “tolerated,” because there’s no central authority to allow or disallow anything. However, some Internet communities will not tolerate unsolicited advertising messages. They’ll respond vehemently if you try. In some moderated newsgroups or discussion groups, the moderator will filter out promotional messages.

One of the best Internet marketing approaches is the “soft sell.” Depending on your business, you might try:

  • Participating helpfully in newsgroups while casually letting people know what you do. Tacking a “signature” with contact information at the end of your e-mail messages and discussion group postings.
  • Placing lead-generating messages in electronic malls and directories.
  • Preparing e-mail sales messages to send out to those who express interest in your services.
  • Setting up a World-Wide Web site that offers useful information and resources along with information about your business.
  • Offering a FREE Special Report that helps your prospects is always a good idea.

Myth #5: You can make a pile of money fast on the Internet.

Don’t buy anything from anyone who tells you this. In any business effort, making money requires planning, strategic marketing, a good product and offer, good customer service, considerable shrewdness — and much hard work. Maybe you will make a pile of money on the Internet. But you won’t do it by buying into a get-rich-quick scheme.

Of course, many people have had meteoric sales quickly on the Net. Usually however, it requires a lot of learning and hard work.

Myth #6: You can make lots of sales without working the Net.

If you think for a second that you can simply put up a webpage or a gastly classified ad and think you will strike it rich, you’re not only deceived, you’re nuts.

Success online (or otherwise) requires effort. You need to devote a certain amount of hours every week to learning about the Internet, online marketing, what your competitors are doing etc.

The other thing you need to do is budget time for promoting your website. You will need to attract prospects. They just won’t show up because you put up a site with some pretty pictures of yourself or your product. You will need to get involved in telling others about your site. This involves such things as newsgroups, discussion lists, press releases, networking etc.

As Bill Gates said at Comdex, “The Internet is a gold mine, where there really is gold.” You can find it if you work at finding it and avoid the mistakes so many seem to be making today.

Copyright (c) 1998 Gerry Robert. All rights reserved.



Gerry Robert is the international bestselling author of The Millionaire Mindset and five other best-selling books. Gerry has an inspirational story, going from from poverty to earning millions in a single year. Today Gerry is mentor to some of the highest income earners in the world. He has spoken and addressed over 3 million people in his various live events and has worked with many fortune 500 corporations like IBM, ReMax, Royal Bank, CIBC, Air Canada, Investors Group, Prudential, Malaysian Airlines, General Motors and many more.

Have you ever considered writing a book? Gerry has taught millions of ordinary people to use a book to boost income and sales. His world-famous Publish A Book & Grow Rich Weekend Bootcamp is specifically designed for Authors, Coaches, Entrepreneurs, Business Owners and Speakers. Find out why there are over 3 million happy graduates of this bootcamp and how you can attend for FREE. Click here!

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