September 8, 2010
If you attempted to take a test without studying, chances are, you’d fail. Yet, every single day on the Internet, thousands of newbies are performing the equivalent of the aforementioned test analogy, by putting up a website without having the slightest idea how to promote it. And guess what happens – they fail. No, they don’t all fail, but most do.
The point is starting a business – any business without having even basic marketing skills is putting the proverbial cart before the horse. It’s a bad move. Competency in marketing is one of the most important business skills that you can acquire. If you become proficient in the art of marketing, there is no limit to what you can accomplish in the business world.
Take the Time to Educate Yourself First
Look, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and enthusiastic. Those attributes can take you a long way in business. But you also need to be smart about how you approach things as well. Why be in such a hurry? Take some time to educate yourself first. Does it really matter if you build that website now, or a few months from now when you’re more prepared? Of course it doesn’t.
Starting a business is like building a house. You start with a strong foundation, and then you build on it. Well,in business, being knowledgeable about basic marketing fundamentals is your strong foundation. You just have to build on it.
That means taking the time to learn how to do things the right way. Be patient, and prepare yourself for success. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Study and apply basic marketing fundamentals. Read a few marketing books. To get started, I highly recommend Web Marketing All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies. It’s actually eight books in one, and is written by multiple authors. It’s perfect for newbies, and touches all the bases including,
* Establishing a Web Presence
* Search Engine Optimization
* Web Analytics
* E-Mail Marketing
* Blogging and Podcasting
* Social Media Marketing
* Online Advertising & Pay-Per-Click
* Mobile Web Marketing
Increase the Odds in Your Favor
To be clear, I’m not suggesting you have to become some sort of marketing expert, before you build your website. After all, even experts don’t know everything. And reading books certainly doesn’t guarantee you’ll be successful. But at least by educating yourself first, you give yourself a fighting chance – you increase the odds in your favor. And the Internet marketing process won’t seem like such a foreign language to you. In addition, your learning curve won’t be nearly as steep.
Conversely, when newbies rush into the process with their eyes wide shut, more often than not, they end up thoroughly defeated, disillusioned, and convinced that Internet marketing doesn’t work. Many give up on Internet marketing altogether, and never bother trying again. And that’s a shame. The sad part is many times those failures could have been avoided, if newbies had just taken the time to learn how to do the process the right way.
What’s Effective Frequency?
I’m a member of several small business forums. And one of the questions newbies ask most often is why isn’t anyone responding to their ads. Now if these newbies had taken the time to educate themselves about marketing beforehand, they would know about effective frequency.
What’s effective frequency? Effective frequency is the number of times a person must be exposed to an advertising message before they act on it. How many times that actually is debatable. However, some marketing experts believe in The Rule of 7…meaning on average, people have to see your ad a minimum of seven times, before they act on it. Does that mean people will automatically buy what you’re offering after they’ve seen your ad seven times?
No it doesn’t. Again, it’s just an average. It could be more than seven, but it could also be less. The fact of the matter is there are far too many variables involved to suggest that after people see your ad seven times they will automatically whip out their credit card, and purchase what you’re offering – not the least of which is traffic quality, competency of your sales copy, and the viability of the item being offered.
The point is by educating yourself on basic marketing fundamentals, you will learn about and understand marketing theories and concepts like effective frequency. By the way, the theory of effective frequency isn’t new. In fact, as far back as 1885, Thomas Smith, a successful London businessman wrote:
1. The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
2. The second time, they don’t notice it.
3. The third time, they are aware that it is there.
4. The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
5. The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
6. The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
7. The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
8. The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
9. The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
10. The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
11. The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
12. The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
13. The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
14. The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
15. The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
16. The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
17. The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
18. The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
19. The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
20. The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.
Indeed, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Thomas Smith’s words are every bit as salient today as they were back then.
In closing, Internet marketing is serious business – so be sure to treat it that way. Slow down, and take the time to educate yourself first. In the long run, it will be in your best interest. Because unlike the movie, Field of Dreams, where “if you build it, he will come.” In the real world, if you build a website without knowing how to promote it – nobody’s coming!
David Jackson is a marketing consultant, and the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Free, common sense marketing tips to help grow your business. free-marketing-tips-blog.com