The Internet Marketing DO List: Get Earning, Stop Talking

Ian Lurie

Every internet marketing decision you delay wastes money.
“But Iannnnn,” you say, “What if I’m wrong? People will laugh at me!”
It’s true, I may laugh at you. It makes me feel better. But do some math:
Decide to invest $10,000 in internet marketing campaigns.
50% are successful.
50% fail.
The failures cost you $5,000. Ouch! Fire the damned internet marketer! He’s a moron.
But wait: The successes, earning a modest 2:1 ROI, earned you $10,000. You broke even. Get a more reasonable 3:1 ROI and you earned $15,000 with a $10,000 investment.
Plus, next time around, you know what works and can spend your money more efficiently.
So make some decisions, will ya? A few tips to break the decision-making logjam:

  1. Step awaaaay from the numbers. Data will only get you so far. At some point, you have to use that sloppy gray stuff between your ears. It’s called a brain, and it’s where you actually make decisions.
  2. Compare worst cases. If you sit there contemplating your navel and never take action, what will happen? Nothing. If you take action and it’s a total flop, what will happen? Are you going to die? Get fired? Be drawn and quartered? Probably not. If you sit there doing nothing, though, your internet marketing campaign will languish, and eventually someone will notice you’re a useless mass of flesh sucking up headcount.
  3. Don’t expect guarantees. Why do people still expect guarantees from their internet marketers? You’ll sit in a $1000 coach-class seat, be abused by crappy airline service and arrive hours late without a peep, but you want a guarantee on a $500 ad buy. If you want to get something done, don’t expect a guarantee. Expect good advice and a rough idea of what ‘success’ will look like, but no more.
  4. Work alone. Committees were built to avoid blame, not make decisions. If you’re in charge of internet marketing at your organization, guess what? You’re responsible. Don’t involve 10 other people.
  5. Turn off Twitter. Gaaah. I’d promised not to write about it. But I just did…
  6. Close your e-mail software. E-mail is a procrastinator’s dream. Why make a decision when you can thank your second cousin for the 500 puppy photos they just forwarded to you? I check my e-mail once per hour, and that’s it.
  7. Embrace fear. No, I don’t mean turn to the Dark Side. If you’re just a little nervous, though, it probably means you’re on the right track. You cannot improve without some risk. With risk comes fear.
  8. Get one professional opinion. Seek out someone you trust and ask for their advice. Don’t seek out 5 people. Do you trust them all 100% equally? No. Find one person, ask them, and then make your decision.
  9. Go for a walk. Sometimes stepping away from the decision can help. But ‘stepping away’ doesn’t mean ‘doing other work’. That’ll just put your decision making process on hold.
  10. Close your browser. Staring at LOLCatz is soooo much more fun than actually thinking about stuff. But it probably won’t help your business much.

Once you start making decisions, the power is addictive. Attractive mates will fight over you. Wealth will flow your way. You’ll smile more, get a gym membership, and not let that guy cut in front of you in line at the movies.
Make decisions. Take action in your internet marketing campaigns, instead of staring at the oncoming headlines. Life will be good.

Pssst. I did a video podcast yesterday about hiring and working with an internet marketing firm.

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, 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

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  1. GUARANTEE! What guarantee? If the guarantee is so good, they will not come out with a new gadget every couple of months and cross referencing each other product even before their subscribers have the time to digest the instruction , let alone to put into good use to make some decent ROI.

  2. Man, and there was me thinking brains were green :P. Seriously though, you make some valid points, I completely agree that stepping aside and doing something different for a while can definitely help.
    You gain a fresh perspective and can often come back with renewed enthusiasm.

  3. Great Post…I love the No Guarantees bit, soo many clients not only expect it but have an unrealistic expectation on the work it will take to get what they want…like how can I be #1 on Google (Organic & PPC) …”today”. ;-P

  4. Nice one my friend. Too true about commitees. I never saw a statue to a commitee.
    Problem is most don’t know how to go through a decision process.
    Thankfully we do. Never educate a mug.
    Nice post. I’ll keep my eyes open for more.
    Cheers. The Baldchemist

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