25 internet marketing facts

Ian Lurie

Facts word bubble
A bunch of random facts about internet marketing, all of which are worth knowing, regardless of their randomness:

  1. Internet marketing is hard. Really hard. It’s not something that easily succumbs to a ‘miracle system’. Guys like Shoemoney have it right – they have systems, but they don’t say it’s easy.
  2. Internet marketing can’t be done by a computer.
  3. You’re still marketing to human beings. That’s why #2 is true. As long as we’re selling to humans, we’re going to need humans to handle the marketing.
  4. ‘Internet’ marketing is more of a medium than a method. Marketing is a method/technique. Internet where we now do it. Yes, the techniques have changed a little, but not as much as you might think.
  5. It’s measurable. While you can’t automate internet marketing, you can measure it. If you aren’t measuring each click, sale, interaction and citation for you and your business, you’re losing a lot of data.
  6. Data is gold. That data (see #5) is solid gold. It’s the stuff you interpret, in part, to develop a strategy. Without it, you’re doing seat-of-the-pants marketing, which isn’t bad, per se. It’s just not as targeted.
  7. Data is turd, unless you interpret it. You have to use data to make it worth something. Leave it lying around and it’s untapped potential. Sort of like cow pies.
  8. Internet marketing takes time. A lot of time. There are aspects of it that can feel like a real slog if you’re new to marketing.
  9. Internet marketing is the fastest marketing. To those of us who started out in 19coughcoughmumble, internet marketing is the fast forward of marketing. You can change something and see a result in less than six months?!!!! Holy CRAP!!!…
  10. It’s two-way. Duh. I won’t beat this one to death any more.
  11. If you try to learn it all at once, your head will explode. I figured out that I’ve spent a hair under 30,000 hours in this profession. I still have huge gaps in my knowledge. If you’re planning to buy a book (even even this one) and learn it in a week, you’re in for a rude awakening.
  12. Internet marketing is the most accessible form of marketing ever. You can reach more people, faster, for less money than in any other type of marketing.
  13. Access does not imply expertise. Anyone can launch a web site and try to sell something. That doesn’t mean they’re qualified to do it, any more than my access to a sharp knife means I’m qualified as a medical examiner.
  14. Your web site is a hub, not the universe. You’ve got a web site? Great! Now you need to attend to all the other stuff. The web site is just a landing place. All the conversations swirling around it in search engines, social media, etc. are where the real marketing happens.
  15. Internet marketing is distracting as hell. Twitter. E-mail. The most recent person saying SEO is dead. You could spend all day just reading about the field, and never doing anything.
  16. You need focus. Only the most focused succeed. If you let the distractions pull you away, you’ll be lucky to launch a MySpace page.
  17. You can’t fire-and-forget. If you’re a CMO, or a small business owner, you can’t just hire an internet marketer and then forget the whole thing. It requires your input. You at least need to check in now and then. Otherwise, crappy results are as much your fault as your consultant’s.
  18. User generated content is a blessing and a curse. Everyone’s babbling about user generated content now. Great. Did you know that the average American reads at a 7th grade level? What kind of content do you think you’re going to get? I’m not slamming anyone. I’m just saying you need to be aware of the limitations.
  19. You are never an expert. I’m not an internet marketing expert. Every day, I’m learning something new. It never stops, and you’re never an expert.
  20. Relationships make or break campaigns. Your relationships with clients, colleagues, bloggers and others will drive your marketing. Relationships lead to recommendations, retweets, blog posts and a thousand other subtle citations what make internet marketing work. Don’t neglect them.
  21. Ego can kill you. Ego-driven internet marketing can ruin the best campaign. Don’t let it. Pick your SEO keywords based on your audience’s questions, not yours. Design your site for your visitors, not for your family.
  22. Ego can save you. At the same time, understand you’ll spend a long time shouting in an empty room. Be confident that what you’re doing will work. Otherwise you’ll end up in the modification toilet bowl of death, making one change after another, and getting no results.
  23. One-year plans are doomed. You can’t write a detailed step-by-step plan describing how you’ll be spending money from now until next year. Well, you can. Just be prepared to feed it into a shredder in a month. Your audience is too dynamic to fit that kind of plan.
  24. Those who talk, fail. If all you do is meet, talk and plan, then you’re not doing any marketing. You’re going to fail. Probably before you even launch anything. Meet briefly, if at all. Work hard, in bursts, then talk to the team, then go again. Always be launching a new initiative.
  25. You have to write. I know, you think a YouTube video or two will do the trick. Plus you can hire 30 people at $5/article to write all your content! Wrong. If there isn’t a really, really good writer behind your internet marketing campaign, it will be a big, fat fail. Even your YouTube video requires a description and a script. There are times when you just have to pay for good copy.

What would you add?

I’m speaking tomorrow at SEMPDX Searchfest. The topic: Reputation Management. Hope to see you there!



Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. Such good advice. It’s lamentable that even after hearing/reading it we force ourselves to learn most of these things only from experience. The points on relationships and being confident ring especially true. Thanks for taking your own medicine and cranking out solid content.

  2. Love #6 and #7!
    If I had to add anything it’s that results are never guaranteed. Just because a technique worked in one niche doesn’t mean it will work in another. You have to test, measure, and tweak to figure out what works for you

  3. Gave me a giggle, absolutely agree these are worth knowing. It’s unbelievable how many people think you can hire writers for $1 per 400 word article and expect it to make sense! Have you looked at freelancer.com recently? Full of ’em!

  4. Thanks for such an honest and refreshing post! You’re so right. People fall for the scams that promise overnight riches and success but true success takes hard work. Quality content, a well designed website, good time management, and lots of discipline will take you far!

  5. Absolutely agree with you. I’d add a few to the list.
    #26 – You can’t put all your eggs in one basket, choose your marketing activities wisely.
    #27 – Listen to the conversation. One way marketing online is dead.
    Great article.

  6. Hi Ian!
    I think my favorite/least favorite points were 5-7. I don’t ever really know if I should be excited about results of any statistic- I sort of take all of them with an entire shaker of salt. As far as statistics go- is there a benchmark?
    Thanks for the post!

  7. @Brindey You’re right to take data with a shaker of salt. There is no one benchmark. Unfortunately, all you can do is keep a skeptical eye and see if the stats make sense. You have to start somewhere. If the statistician’s lying, the stats will, too.

  8. In internet marketing one man’s food may also be another man’s poison. you cannot develop a ready made strategy. #25 – that is what is really happening in the marketing world. how can some one else think for you?

  9. Yes! For a small business like ours, #6, #7 is part of our DNA.
    A person with an idea and no data is just another person with an opinion.

  10. While I agree with all points. #19 is my favorite. All those gurus who claim to be an expert need to check their knowledgebase – things in this area are always changing, right? So why not continue to learn.

  11. Great points you have here, Ian. Internet marketing is a continuous journey and not just a destination. Everyday, there are new things to learn and apply. It stops at nothing, even if you have reached the top spot.

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