I have been involved with the Internet for over 14 years and was one of the first in my organization to get online; I even remember the advent of the first browser!!! How things have changed since then. Even though I have been at times a webmaster, web manager, web user and web consultant, I have to admit that I have never had to promote or sell using a website. Telling people what is wrong with a website is far easier than doing it.
Having run a successful consulting business locally I decided to broaden my scope and market my services over the Internet. This is where I hit the proverbial marketing brick wall. My first attempt yielded minimal traffic (under 10 unique visits per week), and so I had to begin to understand the complexities of marketing on the internet. If you do a search on “internet marketing”, you get two types of results, the traditional web design companies and those websites offering their services as “secrets to success”. Many claim that they have made millions and you can too. The hype is incredible and the relative sophistication of these offers (or pitches) is very low, akin to a carnival atmosphere, promising the gateway to easy fortunes with no effort other than putting money into their hands.
The attraction to these types of sites is that they offer a solution that appears to be inexpensive and will return results quickly. You can also self pace your learning and obtain an understanding of what is involved, always a good thing no matter which route you take.
What they don’t tell you up front is how hard and how much effort is required to follow their advice. Yes if you persevere and follow each step, you may actually succeed, after all they probably did, selling you the advice. One also wonders which one to believe since the hype rarely reveals the actual process.
The popularity of search engine optimization (SEO) and number one ranking is one of the primary selling features, but SEO can’t work if your website is poorly designed or your strategy is weak. The key assumption is that your business objectives are crystal clear and the purpose of your website is well defined. Let me tell you getting to that state is hard work.
If you are well prepared and know what you want from your website, following the steps provided in these programs will help, just don’t expect them to do it for you. Think about how much these programs are charging and then compare how much your time is worth to your clients. For example if you pay $300 for a complete marketing program, and you would normally charge say $700 per day for your services, then you should expect about ½ a day of solid actionable advice. If one breaks this down further, the written material is worth about half of the value, intellectual property and all that, then if you can get at least one hour of direct consultation with a Internet Marketing expert, if your prepared, you could get your money’s worth. Otherwise consider a web design company which will be significantly more expensive but at least you can talk to them. As well they would be able to design and implement the website and technologies you may need. Just be prepared to pay for this service. To benefit most from this approach you need to prepare yourself ( see Your website has expired – be prepared to meet your developer).
I have actually purchased one of these programs and even though I didn’t learn anything new, it provided a process to follow and some interesting insights. If you would like to know the details send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One thing that is certain there are no short cuts, you can’t miss a step in the process or you will end up getting stuck or not getting the results you wanted. However there are ways of speeding up the process and focusing on the things that matter. If you can find an ebook that actually has a workable process ( and not the one secret to happiness) try to ignore the hype and see if there is value that you can use. An alternative is to search the internet to find helpful articles which you can use.
The bottom line that the guru’s don’t tell you is that it takes a lot of work and guidance to build a successful business and no matter which direction you chose, you have to be prepared to do most of it yourself.