7 Ways to Wreck Internet Marketing

Ian Lurie

Seven ways to guarantee that you get zero return on your internet investment:

  1. Treat your website as an island. It’s just a web site, after all. Don’t worry about getting people to find you, or how you’ll collect and manage leads, or how you’ll handle fulfillment.
  2. Build a site you love. Use all of your favorite pictures, colors and fonts. Add some animation that has no purpose but looks nice.
  3. Think huge. Throw in every feature you might need in the next five years. Never mind that your site will likely be rebuilt four times before then.
  4. Design by Committee. Make sure you get the input of every single person on your board of directors. Nothing’s more fun than getting 15 egos to agree to a single strategy.
  5. Hide. Don’t bring anyone to your web site. Ignore search engines, paid and unpaid. Don’t announce your site, and for heaven’s sake, don’t blog! Someone might hear you!
  6. Clam Up. If someone does get to your site, don’t respond. Make it impossible to find your contact information. Hide your newsletter signup, or even better, don’t have any at all. And finally, make sure you don’t have any analytics.
  7. Babble. Finally, don’t sweat the copy. It’s only words, right? Write your site copy the night before launch. No one reads this stuff, anyway.

OK, now I’ll remove my tongue from my cheek. Here are seven ways to make sure your internet marketing campaign is on a firm footing:

  1. Plan holistically. What search terms will bring you an audience? What should they do when they get to your site? What do you need to do to handle information requests or sales in an organized, efficient manner? Your web site is one part of a complete flow that starts when someone sits down at their computer and ends (hopefully) when they become a customer. Develop a whole strategy. Then build the site. Then move to the next steps. It’s not “just a web site” – it’s an essential component in your campaign to grow our business via the internet.
  2. Build for your audience. The web site is for your audience, not for you. If you build it to satisfy your ego and tastes, chances are you’ll leave your potential customers/voters/readers shaking their heads. Build for them, not for you.
  3. Start small. Build what you know you can manage. Buy a few phrases on Google Adwords. Collect leads or orders in the simplest manner possible. Don’t reinvent the wheel. It’s the web – you can always do more later, and you should plan on it.
  4. Make a decision. Someone has to take ownership of your site and your marketing. Whoever it is should have the power to approve creative. Trust me, it’s better that way.
  5. Build for visibility. When you build your site, make it search engine friendly. When you launch your campaign, announce it where it’s polite to do so. Send out a press release. Invite current customers to have a look. And have a strategy to offer genuinely useful information to your audience, so they’ll seek you out.
  6. Connect. Provide easy access to contact information, a subscription form for a newsletter or other regular e-mail, and then watch what your visitors respond to. Adjust your site based on good analytics.
  7. Write great copy. Hire a good copywriter. A good headline can make or break a whole campaign – well written ads generate clicks, well-written page copy generates interest, and well-written newsletters draw in your audience. Pundits can bleat about video and Flash all they want. And rich media has a place. Even TV shows still have credits and scripts. Copy drives everything. Treat it with respect.
Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the 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. Sweet article Ian.
    One note about copywriters, definitely a good investment. Just make sure you hire an SEO savvy writer or at least one who appreciates SEO. I’ve run into a few ‘old skool’ copywriters who feel that being given a list of keywords or phrases to work with is sacreligious to their art. If a copywriter starts giving off anti-SEO vibes run, don’t walk, to the next agency or shop.
    And yes, the same goes for any SEO who frowns upon including a copywriter as being passé.
    If you can find both skills in one person you’ve hit upon a goldmine, but while many say they do both, the reality is uncommon.

  2. I second what Thomas said about copywriters. Unfortunately the search engine ruined good headlines so we can no longer write things like “HOLY CRAP CHECK THIS OUT”. We have to be descriptive. I wonder if there is an online copywriter specialization? It’s certainly a different atmosphere than print copywriting.

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