1. Unrealistic Expectations
Internet Marketing won’t make you an instant millionaire. Many people come into internet marketing with totally unrealistic expectations that they’d never entertain in any other business. Why? I think it is because you don’t need a qualification to enter. We are so socialised that ‘what pays best’, you need the best qualifications. Suddenly, you are offered similar earnings of the ‘best jobs’, without having to do anything to become your own CEO. Well, firstly it’s going to take more hard work and commitment than anything you’ve probably done previously.
The universal laws of business apply. Of course they do! Yes, it’s going to take time and money to get started and the results won’t be instantaneous.
I’ve been an online marketer since 2017. Over these few years, I’ve seen many examples of adverts and emails pandering to the ‘get rich’ mentality of many people. Lurid claims; such as, ’10 mins work per day to earn your first million, ‘Earn $500 before the end of the month’, ‘No product, no autoresponder, no website, nothing required to be earning thousands’, ‘No knowledge required’, etc. etc.
Let me unpack some of this ‘hypey sales techniques’.
Little, if any Work Involved – I do wonder if this stems from the concept of ‘real work’ – physical labour. So, working at your computer is not really work? I’ve never worked harder or longer in all my life. However, as anybody in my circle and beyond in ethical and open online business will tell you, running your own business always, always, takes an awful lot of work to start and even more to keep going and maintain. I presume you’re starting your online journey to make money? Well, take it from me it’s a full-time job right from the very start. My friend Gary starts at 5pm each day after his day job finishes.
Easy Money – Is making money on the internet easier than doing a manual job? Physically yes, however, the number of hours you have to devote, to learn the ins and outs is not limited to a 40-hour work week. Can you make easy money? Yes, but often this takes years of steady progress before you realize that dream.
Anyone Can Do It – Yes, very true and there are no barriers to entry in the free world. Anyone can hop online and build a blog, online store, E-Comm business etc. But you obviously need an audience. You will need to slowly and surely build ‘your list’ of subscribers. You have to have the right ‘abundant mindset’ and habits, to make the decision to work hard, keep going and learn as you earn.
You Can Make Lots of Money. Yes, of course you can and I would suggest that is why you’re an online marketer. Because, you want to make lots of money. I do! There is nothing wrong in that and true success will open doors to your true happiness. It will more than likely comes from a number of successful ventures.
2. Research Before You Start (Look Before You Leap)
You will have probably heard the saying, ‘Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail’. If people are taken in by any of the exaggerated claims as detailed above, it’s clear they haven’t spent time planning their online business to be successful. If they think it’s just a matter of launching a website and putting offers on it to sell, or a shopping cart on it to get orders, they are sadly mistaken.
You have to start by knowing what niches are hot online and how you plan on attracting people to your site. Even if you managed to get traffic to your offer, do you know enough to convert those visitors into leads or customers? This is where most people fail miserably when they could have improved the chances of success simply by taking some extra time upfront to research and learn how to implement a successful online business.
Choosing a winning niche. The biggest mistake that is made over and over again is down to vanity and ego. Strong words but oh so true. Many people have a personal passion where they totally focus all their energies on, erroneously thinking customers will be equally enthralled with their topic of interest. Never forget it’s not what you like it’s what your customer likes. There is so much information online about what people are actually buying, searching for, or talking about. Why not market something that everyone already has an interest in and that don’t need to be convinced to buy? Research and plan using online tools Use online tools like Google Keyword Analyzer to find out what keywords, and thus niches, are being searched currently. Go to places like Digg.com or Technorati.com to find out what topic is tops on everyone’s mind right now. Go to eBay.com or Amazon.com and look through their top sellers. This will give you great ideas on what is hot and easily marketable, even before you take the time to develop a website or open a blog, saving you lots of time, frustration, regret and heartache.
3. Poor Branding
Branding is critical for internet marketing in the ‘attention marketing’ world we now live and operate in. Confusing, muddled branding can apply to multiple aspects of your online business. It can be as obvious as a bad domain name or it can even be how poorly you’ve designed the site.
It is essential your visitors associate your name with the brand of product or service you’re offering. Do not leave them scratching their heads trying to figure out what your site is all about. If you do, they will leave you very quickly indeed! Your domain name is very important and please see my blog, ‘7 Essential Steps’. I go into detail there about domains. One thing always remember is that a domain show pass the ‘radio test’. Read your proposed domain name to a friend over the telephone and ask them to write it down. It’s amazing and eye opening! You can now imagine how all those ‘done-4-you’ are written down and wrong! Simple but I can assure you very effective. If you are selling fishhooks online, you want to try to include that in your domain name somehow. A good domain name is short, descriptive, and tells the customer in a few words what your business is all about. Obviously, many domain names have already been bought, leaving you less choice on what to name your site. Branding and search engine optimization go hand in hand. I’ll cover that subject in a later blog.
Is your home page clear and well laid out? This will be most likely the first page people visit. If this is confused and unclear with garish fonts, a disorganized menu, a bizarre or confusing design,
and content that doesn’t equate to your business, you are going to have a number of people leaving as quickly as they showed up. The idea is to get people interested in your site and stay on it.
Make your home page as clear, concise, and descriptive as possible. There are many SEO guides re onsite SEO. Choose one you like and follow the steps. The look and feel of the website should
also reflect the brand or image you are trying to associate with your business. An office supply website will look more professional, with muted colors in blue, gray, or black, and be highly organized. A website for surf boards might try to attract a younger, funkier crowd by providing colorful snapshots of surfers riding the waves and a fun ‘catchy’ domain name.
Pay attention to content. In order for people to find your site, your content should be optimized for major search engines, using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, as previously advised.
4. Ineffective Traffic Strategy
Your site is now on the world wide web. You’ve done your SEO for the site and it’s all systems go. Or is it? You will be painfully aware that you are not getting enough traffic. So, why is that you may ask? Many, not some, online marketers believe that putting up a fantastic website, is all you have to do to get traffic to your site. There are billions of people on the internet, so it seems a fair assessment that getting a thousand eyeballs a month is not a big deal. Actually, the most successful internet marketers, promote their sites to maximise the traffic to it. Simple, but very effective.
One of the ways to increase traffic is to find sites that already have a large look alike audience and to siphon off some of those people back to your site.
Article Marketing – Create free articles and submit them to article directories. They allow you to add a resource box with a couple of links back to your website.
Try to keep the articles to topics within your niche to only attract people who might have an interest in buying your products. This is marketing the perfect product to the perfect customer.
Note to self: must do a blog, ‘The Perfect Customer’.
Commenting On Blogs – Another great way to bring streams of traffic back is to find some very popular blogs and comment (where allowed) on related topics to your niche.
Add a link back to your site, and people who may find your comment useful, will surely click on the link back to your site to find out more about you.
Joining Forums And Groups – There are numerous groups online with large audiences, like Yahoo! or Google Groups. Look through the different categories and find some relevant to your market niche, then join them. Participate in the ongoing online discussions and add a signature to your postings with a link back to your site.
Social Networking – Social networks like Twitter.com, Facebook.com, LinkedIn, TikTok etc., etc. offer innumerable opportunities to meet new people and add status updates about your online activities. Include a link and make it interesting so that you can create relationships, ultimately leading to repeat customers. And, that leads me into the next section nicely.
5. Traffic not Converted into Customers
Even if you manage to attract people to your site and/or offer, the purpose of internet marketing is to sell to them and make money. You have to monetize that traffic in order to achieve your dreams of success.
If you aren’t aware and PUTTING INTO ACTION the strategies to convert traffic to customers, you will be leaving lots of money on the table. Always keep in mind that it isn’t enough just to have a popular site; that site has to produce income, one way or another. Some of the faults may lie in poor website design, poor SEO etc. However, there are other ways that people fail to plan, to convert traffic to customers.
Features To Monetize Your Traffic Stream:
Copy That Sells – When you advertise a product or service, add in features in the copy that make the deal hard to pass up. It’s important to get in the mind of the perfect customer with the perfect product. Try to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity, that is, the product is limited and the offer will soon finish. You can do this, for example by offering your product/service for a limited time or in limited quantities.
Incentives – Offer a free eBook/Product in exchange for subscribing to a free trial membership? Don’t forget you will get a better conversion rate if you give new subscribers coupons off for your products and services?
Affiliate Programs – Affiliate programs work like incentives to allow others to sell your products and make a commission on them. This is certainly something to consider for the future.
Advertising – There are all sorts of advertisements that you can implement to increase the chances of creating income with your website copy. They can be in text advertising, links to other people’s affiliate offers, or even Google AdWords campaigns.
6. Failing to Plan for Sales
I know it’s stating the obvious but always have at the forefront of your internet marketing mind, that the whole point of internet marketing is to sell. Many marketers fail to plan their sales funnel ahead of time, so don’t be one of them.
To really exploit the power of the internet and make a living from it, you must plan ahead for sales…using a carefully thought out sales funnel. Your sales plan should include different ways of obtaining the email address of your visitors. This puts them into your sales funnel where you can market to them again. Always start by getting the contact information, creating a positive relationship and permission to contact them in the future. This is often termed, ‘double opt-in’ and is use by the autoresponder providers.
A well-planned sales campaign keeps track of people visiting and what they are buying. It may have several email campaigns running and targeting a particular category and/or demographic group.
One email list may be marketing to people who have yet to buy anything, while another may be marketing to people who are your top buyers. So planning is the key and one way to do this is to put customers into groups based on the amount of money they tend to spend. Small spenders might be marketed with low cost product lines, while big spenders are marketed with bigger packages and items. If someone starts out small and suddenly buys a large package from you, you will want to have a system in place that shifts them from the small spenders’ campaign to the big spenders’ campaign immediately. That way, you don’t lose the opportunity to market to people or to send them two offers, one from a big spenders’ list and another from a small spenders’ list.
You do this by ‘tagging’ your customers and their actions, so that they are always receiving the right offers for them. Just like a lot of other internet marketeers, I use the autoresponder email system of Aweber. This allows you to automatically ‘tag’ as described above.
7. Not Using the Right Tools and Services
When you’re starting out in internet marketing, there may be no other choice than to do everything yourself. I did and was very soon faced with an unmanageable monster. Please learn from my pain! Your lists get bigger and your products and areas of business become more varied. Add a few extra sites to manage multiple income streams and you can quickly become confused, overburdened and totally overwhelmed, as I did. The solution is to start automating BEFORE your business gets too unwieldy and you lose customers.
The email campaigns are definitely an example of an online business activity that you want to automate. As I said, I use Aweber but there are many alternatives, with different features and price bands.
Other types of functions might be a helpdesk style facility. You may wish to have a FAQ section, contact facility and very common are ‘chatbots’ and social media groups for members to post questions and get answers from other members, rather than everything being directed to you, to sort out any and all problems.
As you grow, I would suggest you use a business platform that can host and manage your business and work streams. I have very good reports re Product Dyno and Kartra to name just two. This can help you to keep track of what is selling or not across multiple sites.
8. The Money is in the Detail
After ‘failing to plan, one of the biggest faults that many Internet marketers make, is not to have a system in place that tracks, reports and gives the facts and figures re your business.
They may not even be aware that there are techniques, like split testing, that help them to define why one sales campaign works better than another. The one person who is a master of this is the great Matt Bacak. He teaches that it may be due to something simple, like a different headline in the sales copy, that can generate more sales, but having done any split testing, they will never figure that out.
It’s very important to continually track and test the results of different sales campaigns and strategies to see which ones work for you and which ones yield poor results. Don’t leave money on the table and as a mentor of mine, Anthony McCarthy says, ‘If it works, keep doing it until it doesn’t.’
Your autoresponder must not just be checked but pored over, for open rates and click-through rates for your email campaigns. If you have low open rates, you will know that the hooks and headlines are potentially uninteresting. If you have low click-through rates, you can concentrate on increasing the immediacy of the promotion to add a sense of urgency to your sales promotions.
There are a number of different things that can be tracked to give you feedback on how you are doing, even before you make a sale.
9. Disinterest or even Failure To Meet and Exceed Customer Expectations
It’s not enough in internet marketing to just give people a good deal these days. They will ‘shop and buy’ for something they want and you must give them what they need. It has to be a great deal that is perceived to be of such great value that they will not lose the opportunity to buy and choose you to buy it from. You must create value and understand your customer’s needs and wants; then exceed their expectations on what they think they can get for their money.
This is especially necessary in the pandemic economy where many disposable incomes have been hit very hard. If your customer expects to get one eBook for a set price on some topic of interest to them, and instead you offer them an Ebook, an online video tutorial, and some short reports, all for just a little more, you will have created the perception of a high value package. That’s because you not only understood what your customer wanted, but you met and exceeded their expectations on what they thought they could get for their money.
The way you ensure your customers get what they bought from you, how you handle complaints etc., is critical to meet and exceed customer expectations. If you have someone who buys a piece of software from you and then can’t get it installed, no matter what deal they got, they won’t be happy if they can’t get someone to help them trouble-shoot the installation. Keep in mind that you are going to have to add some services and business processes that keeps the customer in contact with you when they need you, so you continue to have a great online business reputation.
There’s no way you can think of everything that a customer might need or demand. That’s why you want to add some functionality to your site that allows customers to submit feedback about their experience buying from your site.
You should also have a system in place that categorizes and responds to these issues, whether good or bad, so that the customer doesn’t feel like they’re being ignored. If you listen carefully to what your customers tell you, you can generate ideas for future products or business improvements that will ensure you are always exceeding customer expectations.
10. Poor Backup Contingencies and Systems
If your site goes down, what do you do? Do you have a third party backup system in place that backs up your site regularly and you can just download a copy when and if needed? If the answer is no, then as Murphy’s Law suggests, this will happen at the worst possible time – mostly when you are rolling out one of your hottest, time-sensitive campaigns for the entire year. The impact will be immediately felt in lost sales.
If you continue to have problems like this, you will lose customers, who will judge your internet marketing business based on the facts. More importantly, you will lose lots of money.
So, Always Back Things Up. Got it? Good! There are many systems out there to help you and I use Updraft Plus as do many other marketers and once set up, it’s good to go and a great weight of you mind and your wallet will love you.
Payment processors are a typical example where an online business only offers one payment gateway, like PayPal, only to have it experience some problem that makes a sale unable to be closed out. If you offer multiple payment processors, and if one goes down, customers will still be able to pay you. I can’t emphasise this enough. Two marketers very close to me have had their PayPal accounts frozen for no reason to them and they were moribund until they set up a separate payment system.
Put these into practice and let me know how you smash it!
Here’s to Your Success,