Marketing on the Internet is asking your prospective customer to purchase something sight unseen. The prospect needs to be given every reason to buy, every benefit detailed, every objection countered. Sure, he can see pictures of the product, but his buying decision will ultimately be made without seeing the physical product itself.
There are advantages to marketing on the Internet that other mediums can’t match. For one, there aren’t any space limitations. It costs a company more or less the same amount of money to have a one-page description of a product as it does to have a 10-page sales letter. Not so in snail mail, TV, or other forms of print advertisement. And it’s the same thing with e-mail marketing. Compared to mailing out, say, a magalog, e-mailing promotions to prospects costs virtually nothing and could include all the promotional opportunities you could ever think of.
Here are three other distinct advantages marketing on the Internet has over other forms of media:
- It’s as Cheap as You Can Get — While it costs traditional marketers up to sixty cents to put a direct mail promotion into a prospect’s hands, you can reach the same person on the Internet for a penny or two — and in many cases, for free.
- Information, Information, and more Information — Internet promotions provide you with some things that traditional packages can’t, including what point in your promotion the buyers actually made their buying decision, or better yet, at what point non-buyers decided to abandon your promotion. Having this information is huge because you can simply repair or replace the weak link in your sales copy and offer, and continue testing until you have a winner.
- Faster Money — The U.S. post office takes two to three weeks to deliver bulk mail, which is generally the manner in which direct response packages are sent out. The Internet, on the other hand, allows you to deliver your sales message and begin generating sales instantly. Plus, when you promote on the Internet, it’s simply a matter of your buyer clicking on an order button and entering credit card, debit card, or PayPal information.
The Pitfalls of Internet Marketing
Unfortunately, it’s not all wine and roses. Today’s Internet marketer had better be prepared to fill a number of potholes that will likely be encountered along the way. Here’s the biggest three from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama:
- Delivery Disasters — Due to the fact that email marketing is cheap—or even free, in some cases—our in-boxes are filled with more junk mail each day than the U.S. postal service delivers in a week. As a result, all the major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) now screen your mail and block as much obvious spam as they can. This kind of erratic delivery can kill the response to your promotions.
- Competitive Challenges — Remember when Amazon was the only major bookseller online? How about when eBay was the only online auction? The point is with rising competition comes rising costs for advertising. With search engine optimization costs, Pay-Per-Click advertising, and Google Adwords, to name a few, the cost of getting your site noticed is increasing and will only get costlier as the number of websites on the Internet continue to explode in the years to come.
- Credibility Factor — The Internet is like a lot of major cities and tourist attractions: There are some lovely sites to see and great places to visit, but there are also some neighborhoods you want to steer clear of. (E.g. the Nigerian inheritance scam!) Is it any wonder that people have become jaded when it comes to Internet marketers? Unfortunately, the bottom line is honest marketers take the hit along with the unsavory swindlers out there.
So there you have it—the good and bad (and some ugly) of Internet marketing in the 21st century. But even with all the challenges that the medium presents, it’s still swinging the biggest hammer when it comes to reaching a targeted audience. And thus, it presents amazing opportunities for your marketing efforts.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles