Most people who offer advice on how to market products on the Internet don’t know what they are talking about. Most of the advice is a rehash of advice given to people 20 years ago about using direct mail letters, classified advertising and other forms of direct marketing, and then applied to the Internet.
And most of the advice is wrong, wrong, wrong.
In a series of articles in this department, I’m going to tell you what you need to know about successfully marketing your product or service on the Internet. And I’m going to tell you why so many people fail to do it right.
Internet Marketing is a Game of Two Halves
Marketing on the Internet can be summarised with just two basic strategies – these are either Push Marketing or Pull Marketing. Here’s what I mean.
1. Push Marketing
Push marketing is pretty much what it sounds like. It is the strategy of ‘pushing’ your product ads into the faces of potential customers, hoping that if you ‘push’ enough, you will eventually find buyers. Prime examples of Push Marketing on the Internet are spam email, pop-up ads, and intrusive banner ads. All try to ‘push’ their way into your focus, and get you do something you really had no interest in doing. Most of the self-proclaimed Internet marketing ‘gurus’ advise you to heavily invest in ‘push’ marketing techniques. (Most of these same gurus don’t bother to mention that the three things consumers dislike the most about the Internet spam, pop-up ads, and intrusive banner ads – all push marketing.)
2. Pull Marketing
Pull marketing is the strategy of offering detailed content, information, tools and resources on a specific topic, which serves as a ‘magnet’ to pull visitors to your site when they search for that information in the search engine. Pull Marketing works because most people who use the Internet are in ‘search’ mode – searching for a solution to a specific problem or a specific product they wish to buy. Internet users in search mode use the search engines as their ‘find it fast’ tool – particularly Google. They go to Google, type in the item or solution they are searching for, and then view a list of sites which may offer the resource they are searching for. When they find a site offering solutions, they are ‘pulled’ to the site by the content or resources on that site. When they get to the site, they already know what they want, and if they find it there, they often buy on the spot.
The vast majority of purchases made on the web are made as a direct result of ‘pull’ marketing. A web user searches Google for a specific product, finds it on a site, and buys it. No banner ads, no spam, no pop-ups involved.
The real reason most people use the Internet is that they can find almost anything they are looking for – solutions to problems or products to buy. They start at the search engine, and are ‘pulled’ into the sites that have what they want. Pull marketing is the natural behaviour of the vast majority of Internet users.
Push or Pull?
Most of your Internet marketing ‘gurus’ will tell you to concentrate your Internet marketing efforts on different forms of Push Marketing. And most of these same people just so happen to have a push-enabling product to sell you. In fact, if you check, you’ll find that most of these marketing ‘gurus’ have never sold anything themselves except their Push products. Most seem to work on the ‘bigger fool’ theory of marketing – which is the belief that there is always a ‘bigger fool than me’ out there willing to fork over money.
If you look past the marketing gurus and start to track the success stories of small companies and individuals on the web, you’ll see that the real success stories invariably attribute their success to ‘pull’ marketing. They created resources on a specific subject or topic, the search engine gave their sites high placement for key words relating to those topics, and visitors found the site through the search engines.
The vast majority of these small sites never used spam, never used pop-ups, and never used banner ads. They just provided resources on their sites which acted as a magnet to pull visitors to their site. And it is unlikely you’d even know about these sites unless you searched for the solutions or information they offer.
I think the major reason we still see so many people get involved with the kind of Push Marketing consumers so deeply despise is that many would-be entrepreneurs have ‘Lotto mentality’.
They think that paying for a spam campaign, or obnoxious banner ads, or intrusive pop-ups can overcome having an unwanted product. And they think if they send out millions of emails, surely enough fools will fall for the offer to make the seller some money.
Truth is, it rarely ever happens. Instead, in the case of the spammer, the spam creates angry consumers who complain to the seller’s web host, and the site is taken offline. If the seller is unlucky, he will become the target of the spam vigilantes who make it a personal vendetta to cause grief to spammers.