Learning from mistakes is great. Do you know what’s even better? Learning from someone else’s mistakes. These are seven Internet marketing lessons I learned from trial and error. I hope you enjoy them and can apply them to your business.
Lesson #1: Not All Your Visitors Are Ready to Buy
When I started using the Internet to promote my companies, I wanted to sell every visitor as hard as I could. I considered myself a pretty good marketer, but I wasn’t as successful selling online as I was selling in person or over the phone.
I finally understood why. People use the Internet to RESEARCH much more than they use it to BUY stuff. Pay attention to this because this is extremely important: 99% of your visitors aren’t ready to buy.
Does this mean that you should disregard them and focus on the other 1% only? Absolutely not! You need to do two things:

  1. Help them do their research (it’s OK if you tip the scale a little bit toward your own product, but be as objective as possible and tell people what their options are).
  2. Ask people for their contact information (so you can slowly earn their trust and market to them). If they leave your site without leaving their contact information, they’re gone forever.

A great way to accomplish the two goals mentioned above is to put together a buyer’s guide and give it away in exchange for an email address (and possibly a phone number if you want fewer, more qualified leads). If you’re an interior designer, it’d be a good idea to write a white paper on how to choose the ideal interior designer.
Lesson #2: The Ultimate Question
A few years ago I read a book that helped me measure the true degree of customers satisfaction. The book is called “The Ultimate Question” and the question is, “How likely are you to recommend our services to your friends or colleagues?” Now we ask this same question to all our clients on a regular basis.

Lesson #3: Don’t Say You’re the Best; Prove It
I’m ashamed to admit that my first website (the one I put together when I was 16) said all over the place, “we’re the best”, “no other company is remotely as good as we are”. Obviously, this doesn’t work. Don’t make claims; let your customers make them for you. Use testimonials on your website.
Lesson #4: Help Your Blog Convert
If you have a blog (and you should), people are finding your articles on Google on a daily basis. Most of these people don’t know you and unless you ask them to do something for you, they’ll just read your information and go away.
What can you do about this? Let’s go back to the interior designer example. Let’s say you wrote a blog post called “How to choose the colors of your furniture” and someone finds it on Google. What you should do is to include a call to action at the end of the post along the lines of, “Do You Need Help Figuring Out the Colors of Your Furniture? Call Me Now at xxx-xxx-xxxx for a 30-Minute Free Consultation. No Strings Attached.” My tests show that about 17% of the people will call you or email you if the call to action is relevant to your blog post.

Lesson #5: Physical Giveaways Work Much Better than Digital Ones
You’ve heard it before: to get your visitors’ contact information, offer them a report, white paper or a video. Although this works amazingly well, there’s something that pulls 2-3 times more opt-ins: physical giveaways. It could be a magazine, a DVD, a CD or a small gift. If this is something that your profit margins allow, by all means go for it.
Lesson #6: Get Free Money for Google AdWords
If you want to give Pay per Click a shot, don’t just go to Google AdWords and open an account. Look for one of their partners instead so you can start with some money in your account. Every day there are new coupon codes in the market and the old ones expire pretty fast, so use this link to find valid coupon codes for Google AdWords.

Lesson #7: Don’t Give Up Too Soon
I see this every day. Someone gives email marketing a try for about two weeks. It doesn’t work, so he moves on to Search Engine Optimization. It doesn’t work either, so he tries Social Media Marketing. Two weeks later he stops that too… So many entrepreneurs give up way too soon!
Marketing takes time because very few people are ready to buy your product the first time they come across your marketing message. You need to constantly remind them that you exist and can help them. They’re going to buy your product whenever they’re ready; not when you tell them to.
Also, don’t forget the multiplying factor in marketing. When you help people and do an outstanding job, they tell their friends. Their friend will probably call you when they need what you sell, but they might not be ready to buy it now.
The bottom line is: commit to something and work your butt off to make it succeed. If something doesn’t work after a year, try something else. But, giving up and going after the “last marketing tactic” if something doesn’t pay off in a week or two doesn’t make a lot of sense.