10 Common misconceptions about marketing on the Internet


 10 Common misconceptions about marketing on the Internet

Misconception #1: Marketing on the Internet is difficult
The Internet is a powerful tool for marketers. You can reach an international audience of potentially millions of people in seconds, directly from your desk. What's more, you're never too far from the next great idea—a coveted strategy that only costs a few cents to implement and can often return substantial results. But creating and implementing an effective marketing campaign on the internet is not as easy as it seems at first glance; there are many obstacles to consider before you get started.

#2: Marketing prospects are free or cheap
No one wants to buy anything they don't know about, so having a cohesive marketing strategy in place is essential for reaching any potential customers. Effective marketing online starts with developing a comprehensive list of prospects, and this is not cheap. Depending on the size of your business and where you are located, addressing potential customers may involve sending out hundreds of emails in terms of both quantity and quality. Then you must have a plan to answer those questions and provide useful information regarding your products or services.

#3: Marketing on the Internet is free money
You can't buy customers for free. Your marketing campaign needs to include a cost-effective strategy that will generate a return on investment (ROI). For example, if your cost is $100 for an email blast, but 1% of your market responds, that's only $1. Traffic is different for each website, and this can also change over time—if you're not prepared to adjust accordingly. For example, if you discover that your email blast is producing only $1 in sales per visit, you must take that statistic into consideration.

#4: Marketing on the Internet is too expensive
To some people, the thought of spending money on marketing seems like a waste or unnecessary expense. Don't let your marketing budget rule your business decision-making. As well as being incommensurate with the true cost of providing quality customer service, it's also very possible that you are underpricing yourself and passing up opportunities for selling more products or services.

#5: Marketing with the Internet is easy
It's never too late to start a marketing campaign. There are many different strategies for doing so, and each has unique benefits and limitations. Before you brief your staff members to deliver a list-based campaign to contacts in their contact lists, it's important that they understand the intricacies of your company. If you're new to marketing on the Internet, be sure to discuss all relevant costs and benefits of the different approaches with your staff members or team members. A clear understanding of your marketing goals will help you determine which platform is best suited for reaching potential customers online, and which tone will provide the best result.

#6: Marketing on the Internet is anonymous and impersonal
The Internet is an impersonal medium. If you build your marketing strategy around a list-based campaign, it's very difficult to keep track of who's replying to your letters. Not only does this make it difficult to reply to your customers personally, but it also may have an impact on their feelings toward you. Never use the internet as a way to conduct personal business or reject any legitimate emails that could be viewed as potential leads for your company.

#7: Marketing on the Internet is instantaneous and disposable
Not every business can afford a constant stream of social media updates or email marketing campaigns. If you're not prepared to measure the impact that these updates have on your company's online reputation, it may be a disadvantage. For example, if you simply push out irrelevant updates on Twitter about how happy you are with your new promotion, or mention a product or service that's no longer available, it could end up being rather detrimental to your business. However, when done correctly the right social media updates can help stimulate interest in your company and generate new leads.

#8: All sites have a video advertising platform
You don't need to be part of YouTube to use its video platform for marketing purposes. Many sites now offer a video-sharing platform for their users, and using it effectively for marketing purposes could be the most cost-effective way of creating an effective campaign.

#9: Marketing on the Internet is only about promoting products or services
It's possible to use online marketing to promote your company as a whole, rather than just your products or services. A site called Lorem Ipsum, for example, uses its name to market itself as an innovative business that offers a vast range of different products and services. This is an interesting way to develop customer loyalty, encourage extra sales and differentiate your business from competitors.

#10: Marketing on the Internet is bad for your business reputation
If you push out a lot of irrelevant updates and can't be bothered to respond to legitimate inquiries from your customers, it could have a highly detrimental effect on your company's online reputation. The internet is faster than at any other time in history, so don't shoot yourself in the foot because you're too lazy to do proper marketing research. Never launch a campaign without checking its potential benefits in terms of the quality of leads generated and impact on your website's search rank.

Understanding the Marketing Process

Marketing is not an exact science, but it does need to be treated as a strategic business process. This process, at its most basic level, consists of five stages:

Figure 19.1 - Marketing Process

Planning (identifying objectives and creating a business strategy) The first stage in the marketing process is to plan your marketing campaign. The best marketing campaigns are created with a clear goal in mind, so start by identifying what you want to achieve. For example, your goal may be focused on increasing brand awareness or driving more traffic to your website. Then it's time to create a strategy that fits in with your company's ethos and provides useful information for your customers. One of the most valuable tools for planning any campaign is your business's goals. These are the objectives that you want to achieve in the future, and they are directly connected with the direction in which your company is moving. For example, if you want to grow your company's customer base, you need to make sure that your marketing activities are connected with this goal. A business strategy is a collection of guiding principles that represent how you intend to achieve your goals. If your goal is to develop high brand awareness, you should think about how this can be achieved before creating a strategy for doing so. As part of your overall business strategy, every marketing campaign needs a clear idea of what its goals are and what its function should be within this broader context.

Promotion (getting the message out to your customers) The promotion stage of the marketing process is about getting the right message to your customers in order to achieve your overall business goals. There are many different ways for doing so, including press releases, targeted email campaigns and social network updates.

Prospection (building relationships with potential customers) Prospecting is one of the most interesting stages in any marketing campaign because it requires you to build relationships with potential clients. There are several different strategies for achieving this, including list-based campaigns and using social media tools.

Conclusion (processing feedback) The conclusion stage of your marketing campaign is about processing feedback from potential customers and taking action based on this information. Your company plans may involve a certain level of flexibility in deciding how you will use this information to take action, but you should definitely consider the benefits of using customer feedback to change a part of your business.

Figure 19.2 - Marketing Process

How to Use Marketing as a Tool for Organizing Your Work Load

Although there are many different marketing tools available, one tool that every business needs is an effective workflow process in order to keep their work load on target and make sure that everything they do is coordinated in the best possible way.

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