“Thoughts From A Survivor – 19 Tips To Avoid The Perils Of Internet Promotion”

The Internet and Internet promotion gets lots of ballyhoo nowadays, whether you’re small business or large. However, this is only the latest of a long line of cure-alls that some carny pitchmen tout for every known communication problem.

So, be careful out there.

As usual when a new medium enters the market, some boosters always insist it’s the ultimate solution to every promotional woe. “You have to have one!” And, of course, that guru is only too willing to help you get it.

In fact, the latest round of advertising hype makes it sound as if your business will fail if you don’t have a website and Internet promotion. Not so.

Many local businesses will do nicely – and are – without Internet promotion, thank you.

That’s one of the reasons this website is dedicated to “brick & mortar” businesses. These traditional businesses like yours will not disappear any time soon.

However, standing brick & mortar businesses who are adding websites as an adjunct to their “real” business show great promise. Early evidence indicates these businesses may be the ones who benefit most from websites. That’s the main reason I’ve included this article here.

Let me caution you early, however, that you won’t replace your traditional media with Internet promotion.

Don’t you believe it when someone tells you traditional media (radio, newspaper, TV, direct mail) are dead or that you can’t afford them. That’s simply a negative sales pitch and the pitcher has an agenda. You can almost bet he wants to sell you something else. Those traditional media are going strong and they’re bigger than ever.

Then why does some frustrated manager hit me with, “I’ve tried the standard media and they didn’t work. So, I’m searching for something that will.”?

Don’t get me wrong. He has every right to make this common complaint. Those media probably didn’t work. But, they can and will when you open the door with the right methods. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have been successful with “those media that didn’t work”. So can you.

Just in case that’s your situation, invest a few minutes to click over to the article, Need a Marketing Idea? Eight Secrets to Success. Then, come back here and continue on.

Internet promotion does a creditable job in certain circumstances. This article explores four situations where it may help. You need to decide if your business fits in one of them.

Circumstances in which Internet
promotion may work for you

  1. Do you have a special or unique consumer product for which people have an important need, but that need is limited to only a few people in each geographic area?

    If you have that product, a number of companies are gaining sales steadily – 10%, 15%, 20% per year with such Internet promotion. Some even sell all around the world with it.

    Since only a few prospects need the product usually in any given area, the Internet acts as a yellow page listing that circulates to far more prospects than local yellow pages ever could. And, it offers some extra bells and whistles yellow pages cannot. Craig’s List has made a virtue of this approach.

    Do you have a product that fits the above specs? When you build a website, hook up with someone who can help you discover “keywords”. With the right keywords, Internet search engines can help bring people to you. One I have found, Site Sell, offers excellent help to determine keywords.

    Another who’ll help you with all kinds of ideas in putting up a website, including key words, is a computer genius named Rich Hamilton. Rich helps you plug in for as little cost as possible.

  2. Do you sell products business-to-business over a market wider than your city’s defined trade area? A website lets prospects to search you out instead of casting about aimlessly. In such a case, they often search for the product and include geographic parameters in their search definition. When you fall in those parameters, you odds go up for being called.

  3. Would it be an advantage for prospects to learn more about your product or service before they get to you? For instance, prospects for your plumbing service may be asking, “Who’s a good, reputable plumber?”

    With this approach, you keep your regular media advertising. You continue to present a good sales argument in the media and then direct people either to your local address or to your website (in case they’re not yet ready to contact you directly), to build and cement your budding relationship with them.

    Pat Murphy has one of the best service business sites I’ve seen at Shamrock Plumbing in the little town of Grants Pass, Oregon.

    In this scenario, be sure to load up your site with lots of helpful information potential customers can use. Give them valuable how-to’s. But, of course, make sure your how-to’s relate to your particular specialty.

  4. Offer your product through Internet promotion as an adjunct or a helpmate to sell locally from your physical location. This application is “iffier.” Investigate the “Local” button on Google and Yahoo. List your business there just like you do in the yellow pages . . . only this one’s free.

    If your product(s) are easily available in many places locally, you may find the Internet does little for you. You may be better off applying the dollars to mainstream media and sell directly to local prospects.

    Remember it takes time to maintain a website, compose sales messages, and post them to your site. How much time do you have? How much time can you afford to spend with one more method of communication?

    When you inject Internet promotion into your local media mix, you automatically create a two-step selling proposition instead of the standard one-step with broadcast or print media, and that makes your sale harder to consummate.

    One-step means your prospects get your first message from mainstream media and can come straight to you. If you’re using Internet promotion, they go to another medium (the Internet) for more information before coming to you. Many prospects won’t take time for it, which means you lose them.

    Don’t expect local people to go directly to your website without promoting it with local advertising. Too few have the desire and they probably wouldn’t know how to find your website if they did.

    Evaluate this carefully. Would you have more success if you invest more time in one-step messages directly to prospects in radio, TV, or newspaper?

Don’t make the mistake of
giving up on traditional
media – they’re far
from dead

Local companies that sell retail, easy-to-find products generally have more success with traditional media. Unless you offer a unique product not found in the immediate area, go with radio, newspaper, direct mail, and television.

Maverick uses all types of media from Print to Broadcast to Internet.

With this wide background, I’ve observed many managers get into the Internet with the hope it will be a “savior” because traditional media haven’t worked successfully for them.

The usual problem: they’re still trying to buy a “little black box” they can simply plug in and have the black box do it for them. Never happen.

No matter what medium you use, you still must construct advertising sales arguments that drive customers through your door! Sorry, but without them, none of your advertising will work well on any medium.

Either you must learn how to construct those messages or find somebody who can do it for you.

Can you do it? Of course. Here’s a little secret most advertising people would rather you not know.

When you know your product and can sell person to person, you already have all the basics you need to compose advertising sales messages that sell. You simply need to know how to translate your selling expertise into advertising messages.

An ad is simply another form of sales presentation. It takes a bit different approach to learn the ingredients of a good ad, but you can do it.

For instance, a four-and-one-quarter million-dollar Montana drug & medical equipment store used those very ingredients to break the five-million-dollar mark last year – during our recession.

If you’d like a thorough look at the job of advertising – along with instruction in how to build a basic advertising sales message that works, click here for the Maverick Advertising Seminar.

If you want to go directly to the nuts and bolts of how to make your advertising sales message work in a specific media, take a look at Newspaper–Plain & Simple.

The Radio Tool Kit, which covers specifics of radio advertising has become the “bible” for many a radio advertising sales rep.

This course does two things for you.

  • You learn quickly and easily how to design effective radio sales messages and plan your advertising.

  • It gives you the bonus of an insider’s viewpoint so you also learn what radio people know about radio advertising.

If you’ve decided to go ahead and pursue Internet promotion, we’ve learned from hard experience these . . .

Nineteen tips that encourage your
Internet promotion to really
sell something

  1. People come to a website for information. Remember always – it’s not pictures that sell. Words sell. In nearly every case, pictures simply get attention. You already have their attention when they come to your site.

    So concentrate on your information content. Don’t try to “flash up” your site with lots of graphics and pictures. Pretty pictures do no good. Worse yet, they congest and slow down your website navigation.

  2. If you do use pictures, forget wide-angle shots, except perhaps for your first one that gives viewers an orientation. For everything else, use pictures that get in close and show detail.

    Computer screens only give your viewer about a foot of viewing space. Even though your TV is at least four times as big, TV producers learned long ago to minimize wide-angle shots.

    If you use pictures, purchase or get use of a digital camera so you can take pictures and …

    Show your product (your merchandise or your finished service) with people in them. Show people enjoying the use – the end benefit – of your product.

    Insert a caption under every picture. People read the words in captions to get a better idea of what the picture is all about. Use your caption to get across an important point.

    Let me say it again. Don’t use too many pictures and graphics. They often slow your site to a crawl and viewers will leave you.

  3. Use letters and comments from satisfied customers. Work them right into your sales letters on your site. They’re very powerful.

    When you get a comment or testimonial, also get written permission from your customer to quote him/her in publication.

    Don’t just ask to use his comments. Listen to what he says and write his words up into a little paragraph. Have him sign off with the statement, “I give (your company) permission to use my comments in publication.” File the statement for reference, if needed.

  4. Insert written articles on your site about new techniques you use to render better service.

    Tell what your product does and what it does for the customer. Saves time – saves money – saves labor – gives them more for their money – makes their rose-colored glasses even rosier. Use specifics in those points: “Saves you up to 20 minutes.”

  5. Include your press release postings about an event, a new product on your website.

  6. Is your product new? Are you using a new material, a new ingredient? Tell ’em what it is and what it does for them.

    Even if it’s six months or a year old, it’s still new. The average person outside your industry usually will be unfamiliar with it so you have a talking point. Use it just as you should in a sales presentation.

  7. Write your own or get permission to use other people’s pertinent written articles on your site. Articles about new techniques, new products, how to do a better job in your specialty. Anything that helps customers understand what it takes to do a better job and how you do it.

    Don’t be concerned that prospects may want to learn how to do it themselves. Only a few will want to, unless the job is such an easy one it takes no time and virtually no expertise.

    Most people would rather have you do it. The extra information you give them builds their confidence you know what you’re doing.

    How to set up a website for
    Internet promotion

  8. You can engage website builders but, don’t expect them to compose the all-important content. Usually, they cannot because they don’t know to write selling copy (Don’t feel bad. It’s common among Internet techies and even among professional advertising people).

    Don’t expect too much. Few techies have the capability to both write and engineer beautiful websites (I believe the terms often are mutually exclusive). They’re great at constructing a site but abysmal with professional selling).

    Which means you have to do it yourself or find someone who can.

    A man named Joe Robson has collaborated with another man named Ken Evoy to construct one of the best Internet writing books available. You’ll learn more about how to write content for your website from it than anything else I’ve seen.

    I use it myself. The book is inexpensive. You can take a look by clicking here. It’s called Make Your Words Sell (MYWS).

  9. Several do-it-yourself site-building methods are now available, but I have yet to find one that’s simple enough for the non-tech-savvy person like me to actually do it.

    One of the best I’ve found, after investigating several companies and getting a couple of false starts, is a group called “Run Your Own Website”.

    They put up your site for you and show you exactly how to maintain it, post material on it . . . in other words, how to totally run your own site after you build it, except you don’t have to get into all the mind-numbing detail of setting up from scratch.

    They do all the technical work, intall your first pages for you, show you how to set up your E-mail so you can send out group E-mails, and how to set up E-commerce if you have things to sell.

    You need know virtually nothing about the technical end. That leaves you free to concentrate on your business and what you want to say and/or sell on your site.

    RYO (Run Your Own Website) charges a little more than the totally do-it-yourself website companies, but I found it ideal because I haven’t the hundreds of hours required to start from scratch.

    If you are in the same situation, click here and look at Run Your Own Website.

    Tips when you construct a website.

  10. Selling content is the most important part of your website (the words).

  11. Use serif type (type with little feet on it, e.g., “Georgia” or “Times Roman” font). Do not use sans serif type even though your website builder will probably insist on using it because it looks “nicer”.

    • This is an example of sans serif type
    • This is an example of serif type

    Serif type has little “feet” on the bottom of each letter. Sans serif does not.

    Sans serif looks pretty but it’s hard to read. It’s hard to read on a printed page. It’s even harder to read on a computer screen than a printed page because characters are generated electronically. You need to pay even more attention to your type style on the computer screen.

  12. Stay away from ornate sites with lots of graphics. They load too slowly and graphics do almost nothing to help your website get results.

    Let me repeat: Graphics do little to help your website get results.

    The words do the selling. (You probably won’t believe this until you actually own a site. By then, you will have spent a small fortune like I did. But I’ll tell you anyway in hopes I can dissuade you from investing thousands of extra dollars needlessly.)

  13. Refrain from using your industry’s jargon. The average person who goes to your site won’t understand it. If you use an abbreviation or initials, be sure to spell it out and/or explain what the abbreviation or initials mean. “Buzz” words are forbidden.

  14. Avoid using “hype.” What you or anyone else offers is not the greatest, best, etc., unless you can PROVE it. Instead, just explain features and their benefits and you’ll be accepted more readily.

    Hyping is overselling and your skeptical site visitor can click out of your site in an instant.

  15. If you promise something, deliver it.

  16. If you find another product or service on the Internet your customer can use, link the site to yours and suggest your visitor hit the link and see it. Some of these sites even offer what’s called an affiliate program in which they pay you a commission when someone comes to their site through you and buys.

  17. I have chosen some examples of the best and worst sites. They may surprise you. Anguilla Beaches and Silk Flowers are relatively new but they’re already rated among the top sites on the Net.

  18. Then, look up AdMaverick.com. This site looks gorgeous but it sells nothing. I should know. It’s my first site. It cost about $5,000 and I learned later that I got off cheap at that.

    Note how plain are the Anguilla Beaches and Silk Flower sites. They focus on imparting information. Builders of AdMaverick.com got caught trying to spice it up with graphics. Graphics don’t sell. They simply get attention – and sometimes get so much in the way they destroy the sell in your words. Information sells.

    After my first experience, I still care less about the technical end of websites. I focus on using a site to help people with marketing and advertising expertise. I leave the technical end of Internet promotion to others with more know-how.

  19. Rich HamiltonRich Hamilton is a real pro who understands better than few others about what it takes to do your own Internet promotion. He offers a complete page of Resources you can learn much from. Before you launch into building a website, check into Rich’s website here. When you get there, click on Resources for great ideas.

Here’s another great resource: SellBetter ToolBox.

Do you belong to a trade association or have a company with several locations?

You and your managers can learn a whole proven system that eliminates guesswork and increases your success odds mightily. Click here for the Maverick Executive Advertising Seminar. You’ll learn all about it and get a free Speaker’s Kit to show your group.

If you like this article about Internet promoton, get the Maverick Strategy Newsletter. Just sign up at the top of this page. The newsletter comes free of charge & I never give your name to anybody else.


Rod Rademacher
Maverick Strategy
4148 S.W. Emland Drive, Suite 7
Topeka, Kansas USA 66606
Phone: 785-783-7756 or
Email us here

P.S. If you’d like to explore more helpful articles about Internet promotion and many others for maverick managers, click here for the Table of Contents.


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