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Top 10 Internet Marketing blunders.
Sure there are lots more, but these costly mistakes are common and
they provide a good starting point for you. If you steer clear of these
Top 10 blunders, you're absolutely guaranteed to be more successful.
We are the first to admit that there are no Internet marketing geniuses
here at Link-O-Matic. Believe it or not, we continue to learn something
new each and every day. But that's what is so exciting about it -- each
time we act on our newfound knowledge our online sales increase.
You should make an effort to do the same, and this week we're going to
help you do just that by sharing with you what we feel to be The Top 10
Internet Marketing Blunders. Chances are you're making at least one of
them, so you may want to give the following some serious thought.
Keep in mind that the following really only applies if you are trying to
run some sort of business online, which most of us are. You can afford
to make a few blunders when it comes to personal homepages, but if you
are running a business online the following "rules" are written in stone.
Because the following are serious mistakes which all detract from your
bottom line, we're going to tell it like it is at the risk of sounding elitist
and egotistical. We don't want to offend anyone, it's just that when it
comes to promoting a business online there are some definite no-no's.
Blunder #1: Using free or cheapo web hosting services.
Let's get one thing straight, you absolutely can not run a business web
site using a free web page such as those offered by Angelfire, Tripod,
GeoCities, HyperMart, FreeYellow, etc. No matter what you may think,
it just isn't going to work. As they say you get what you pay for.
There is no bigger turnoff than visiting a web site that is hosted on an
obviously overloaded web server. We won't mention any names, but a
few of the free services are just terrible. Your web site is the most
important asset you have, and it must give a good first impression.
Besides, nothing is really free anyway. When you get "free" web space
you are normally required to show the hosting company's banners and
advertisements in prime locations on your web site. This is absolutely
insane if you really think about it from a business standpoint.
These days you can find a good web hosting company that will provide
what you need for as little as $20 a month. Let's be real, if you aren't
willing to spend $20 a month on a good web host how serious can you
be? Many good prospects are immediately turned off by this blunder.
And while we're on the subject of web hosting, be sure to get your own
domain name. Again, if you aren't willing to spend $70 to claim your
own private spot on the web what are your potential customers going
to think? Take your business seriously, or you will ultimately fail.
Blunder #2: Destroying your site with graphics, java, music, etc.
This has got to be the 2nd most offensive Internet marketing blunder.
If you are running a business online, your web site's most important
job is to sell your products and services. Anything that detracts from
this should be avoided like the plague. And we mean it, literally!
Unless you are a graphic designer, graphics that take forever to
load are not going to sell anything. And neither is java that crashes
your visitor's browser. Same thing for any but the most popular
plug-ins. Sound or music clips on your web site? Heck no!
Unless you are selling CDs, sound does not belong on a web site --
not yet anyway. Sure you can argue this, but the bottom line is that
it can cause your visitors problems. Fancy graphics, java, plug-ins,
sound files, etc. do nothing but make your pages take forever to load.
Don't take it from us, just look at any of the top 100 sites on the web.
Heck, look at Yahoo which is undeniably the most popular web site on
a plug-in, or listened to music coming from Yahoo's web site?
Blunder #3: Not asking for, and acting on, comments and feedback.
This is another big one, and we can personally attest to the value of
asking for and acting on feedback. One thing that many people seem to
forget is that it's the prospect who has to like what they see -- and
not much else matters. Here's a real-world example.
A while ago we launched a web site, and initially use a frames-based
layout. We were aware of the potential problems, and spent lots of
time tweaking the site to be as friendly as possible. However, after
asking for feedback we discovered that many visitors hated it.
And the scary thing is that unless we asked for feedback we probably
never would have realized this. Everything looked and worked well for
us, but a significant number of our visitors had problems with it. We
redesigned the entire site and immediately our sales increased.
You will be literally amazed at the valuable feedback you will receive
if you just ask for it. Remember that your prospects are the ones
buying your products and services, and despite what you may think,
the way they perceive your site and your business is what counts.
Blunder #4: Wasting your valuable time on unproductive activities.
As an Internet marketer your most valuable asset is time. And yes,
time is more valuable than money so spend yours wisely. Because
your time is a limited resource, you will need to learn to prioritize.
There are certain things that are more important than others.
For example, consider the amount of time you spend on various
promotion and marketing activities. Do you actually know which is
most productive for you? If you don't you're wasting precious time.
Test all of your advertising and spend your time appropriately.
Search engines are another example. One of the biggest myths that
is circulating the web marketing community is that getting a top 10
listing will make you an overnight success. Don't believe the hype,
and don't waste your time trying to fool the search engines.
One of the most important things you can ever do is to automate as
much of your day-to-day activities as possible. This includes order
fulfillment as well. To succeed online in a big way, you will need to
spend most of your time advertising and marketing your business.
Blunder #5: Not managing your email communications efficiently.
Your email communication with prospects and customers will make
or break you. Since most of the time you will never get a chance to
impress them in person, you really need to learn how to use email
to your advantage. Much of it is common sense actually.
Each and every day we receive emails from people asking us to do
business with them in one way or another, and many of them look
like they were written by a 10 year-old. Spelling errors, grammar
problems, poorly formatted and difficult to read ... you name it.
No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, but there is no excuse
for this. Get yourself a good email program, learn how to use it,
and spell-check all of your correspondence. You know what they
say, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
For email we like Qualcom's Eudora Pro, if you're using your web
browser for email now you really need to check it out. Download
a free demo at <http://www.eudora.com> It will make your life
easier in more ways than we could ever explain here.
Blunder #6: Failing to create and build an opt-in "house" mailing list.
Red flag! Alert! Serious blunder! If you do not have a mailing list to
keep in touch with your prospects and customers, you are literally
throwing money down the drain. If you get nothing else out of this
issue of CheckMate!, trust us when we say that you need one.
People buy things they want from people they know and trust. And
there's no better way to get people to trust you than to show them
that you are an expert at what you do. Starting an email newsletter
will allow you to keep in touch with your audience and do just that.
With it you can keep them informed of site updates and new products.
You'll never have to worry about them forgetting you because your
name will always be in front of them. You can even sell advertising.
But most importantly, you will build trust and relationships.
Think about it. If you wanted to become a real estate investor, would
you purchase a home-study course from a door-to-door salesman or
someone who had been sending you a free newsletter for the past
year? If you don't have an opt-in mailing list, read this article:
Blunder #7: Ruining your reputation via inappropriate advertising.
A list of Internet marketing blunders which didn't include spamming
just wouldn't be complete. Despite what you may have heard, there
is no better way to run your online business into the ground than the
act of sending unsolicited email. It is the ultimate blunder.
If you have to learn this the hard way than so be it, but don't say
we didn't warn you. For every spammer that is actually making
any money, we can show you 10 responsible marketers who are
making lots more. There is absolutely no reason to spam.
The same thing goes for posting ads in Usenet newsgroups where
they don't belong. Why hassle with the negative effects of these
questionable methods when there are so many ways to advertise
online? Forget morality issues, it just makes no business sense.
The most important asset you have as an Internet marketer is your
reputation. And spamming is about the fastest way possible to ruin
it, short of blatantly ripping people off. If you have any intentions
of being around to realize long-term profits, please don't spam.
Blunder #8: Forgetting that marketing is the key to your success.
Even if you have the greatest product in the world you will never
sell anything if you don't tell anyone about it. Without advertising
there will be no prospects, and without prospects there will be no
sales. It sounds like common sense, but it's also a common blunder.
You only have to do two things to be successful in business, and you
only need to do one of them on a regular basis. Can you guess what
it is? If your online endeavors are not as successful as you'd like
them to be, do yourself a big favor and return to the basics.
First of all, you need to develop a profitable business model. Until
it has been proven that you have a viable product or service and a
method of selling it that turns a profit, anything else is premature.
Do not waste time and money promoting a dud, testing is critical.
Once you have determined that your business model is sound you
should concentrate most of your efforts on promoting it. If you make
$10 per sale, you simply need to find 100,000 customers to make a
million dollars. Marketing is the lifeblood of your business.
Blunder #9: Thinking you're going to get rich without working hard.
Here's another blunder that isn't exactly limited to the Internet, but
it is just as dangerous as the others. If we had to pick just one, this
would probably be the number one cause of failure -- both online and
in the real world. Making money is easy, but you must work for it.
A successful online business isn't built overnight, it is the result of
many late nights. If anyone says that they can teach you to make a
substantial amount of money without hard work, run as far away as
you possibly can. And be sure to bring your checkbook with you.
The get-rich-quick mentality seems to be quite popular online. But the
truth is, there really isn't a way for the average person to do so. And
getting caught up in the hype is only going to delay true success. Save
yourself lots of grief by accepting the fact that there is no free lunch.
We're still not sure why the get-rich-quick mentality is so prevalent
on the Internet, but we do know one thing. There are no secrets, and
there is nothing mystical about making money online. With some hard
work and a little perseverance, absolutely anyone can do it.
Blunder #10: Not understanding the real power of the Internet.
The Internet is a communications tool. It was created for this purpose,
and you'll get the most out of it if you use it as such. There has never
been an easier or more cost-effective way for a business to reach its
target audience, and there never will be. So take full advantage of it.
Use the power of the Internet to reach millions of customers all over
the world. And then use it to provide them with the sort of customer
service that was impossible without it. Use the Internet to gather
information, research the competition, and network with others.
There is a goldmine of information and resources floating around in
cyberspace, but you have to know where to find it all. Learn how to
use the search engines to easily find almost any help you need and
your productivity will skyrocket. This alone is invaluable.
In a nutshell, use the Internet to communicate more effectively. Don't
forget that business is about people, and that the Internet is nothing
more than a great way to interact with them. Don't hide behind it,
get involved and witness the way it changes the world firsthand.
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http://www.amcho.com/blunders.htm - page created July 1998