At one point, we’ve all asked for advice about online business tips and Internet marketing tools. This is especially true when we’re starting out. Unfortunately there’s a lot of bad information being given by the supposed Internet gurus. Following this advice can cost you both time and money.
Today I’d like to talk about 19 faulty recommendations I’ve seen in the last few years. Some of them are due to misinformation. Others are outright lies told by people trying to sell their particular product.
Read each to learn what advice might be ruining your online business…
#1 – “Do What You Love and the Money will Follow”
This is a warm, fuzzy piece of advice that people love to recommend. (It’s even included in the ever-popular book Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuck.)
Following your passion is a nice thought. We all want to create a business by doing what we love. Unfortunately there a number of hobbies that really aren’t profitable.
Example: What if you’re a guy who likes to drink beer and watch porn? Sure, that might be what you like to do. But it’s not going to make a lot of money.
Personal enjoyment is one part of the research process. You should also look at:
- How you’ll make money?
- How many people search for information?
- How will you get traffic?
- What makes YOU different from others in this niche?
It’s okay to love your business. Just make sure it’s not the only piece of the puzzle.
2 – “Think About Success and You’ll Attract It”
Positive thinking is important. So is having a list of goals. Unfortunately many people substitute hard work with wishful thinking. You can’t sit around and hope for success. Eventually you have to take action!
Don’t let books like The Secret cloud your judgment. You want something in life? Then go out and get it. Nobody makes money simply by thinking about it.
#3 – “You Can Build an Internet Business EVEN if You’re Lazy”
Warning bells should go off when you hear this statement. I’ve never heard of anyone having success by being lazy. Real results take real action. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Also don’t be confused about passive income. It takes hard work create this type of wealth.
Most people (myself included) bust their butt to increase their passive income. Successful people don’t sit on a beach and work a few hours a week.
#4 – “Anyone Can Do This!”
I see this with many Internet business products. The product owner claims the only skill you need is an ability to turn on the computer.
The harsh reality is some people aren’t cut out for this type of business. In fact, you need a number of qualities to succeed. Like:
- An ability to learn new things
- A strong work ethic
- At least 10 hours (each week) of spare time
- A decent level of writing (and communication) competence
Unfortunately not everyone has these requirements. Yes, you don’t need a computer background. But you have to be willing to learn the important things.
#5 – “You Don’t Need a Paid Website”
Holy crap … this is a horrible piece of Internet marketing advice.
Most people nowadays understand the importance of a website. However I still see a few ‘businesses’ recommend using freebie sites (like Blogger.com) for hosting.
There’s no excuse for relying on a free website. In reality, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to start an Internet business. For instance, here’s the bare minimum you should spend:
- $10 for registering a domain on Name.com
- Under $10 each month for Web Hosting
- $20 each month for an Email Marketing program
These are the exact tools I purchased for my first Internet site. So I know that’s all you really need. Honestly, the math works out to be $1 per day. Anyone can afford this amount!
#6 – “Make Money Online by Teaching People How to Make Money Online”
I see this phenomenon all the time. Many newbie Internet marketers think the quickest way to make money online is to teach others to do the same.
This is similar to the principles of multilevel marketing (MLM.) You get people to buy products about building an Internet business. Then those people get others to purchase these offers. It’s a vicious cycle where no one learns how to build a real business.
There are literally thousands of profitable topics online. None are related to the make money online niche.
Example: Over 90% of my income comes from the relationships/dating market. So I actually don’t make a lot of money from teaching people how to run an Internet business. Instead I found a profitable niche that’s ignored by the majority of Internet marketers.
All it takes is a little bit of hard to work to find a profitable niche. (Just check out my PDF “THE Affiliate Research Formula” for more on this.)
#7 – “Use Money-Making, Turnkey Information Products”
This is a nasty piece of marketing I see advertised all over the place.
You’re promised a website that’s pre-made and ready to make money. In reality what you get is a piece of junk that’s owned by hundreds (even thousands) of other people. You can’t make money because everyone is hocking the same piece of crap. Ultimately this competition drives down the price point to where people are offering a product for $1 or even $.01.
Ask this whenever you see a turnkey offer:
“If this really makes lots of money, why sell it to other people? Why aren’t they keeping it for themselves?”
Turnkey information products are marketed on the gullibility of many consumers. It’s pretty easy to get blinded by how much money you can “make” with one of these offers.
#8 – “Start with your Friends and Family…”
This is insidious offline tactic that’s become commonplace with some online businesses.
The idea is simple: You approach your friends and family with an offer. You get them to buy (usually out of pity.) Then you leverage their contacts; connecting to more potential customers. Rinse and repeat till you’re a billionaire.
Want to know the quickest way to destroy a relationship? Start asking them to purchase your worthless crap. Sure some might buy. But deep down they’ll resent you for even asking.
A quality offer should fill an existing need. Customers should come to you with a problem that your product solves. Odds are you won’t find these people within your existing network.
An Internet business shouldn’t push people to buy something. Instead, it should contain an irresistible offer that naturally attracts people to your sphere of influence. That’s the right way to do it!
#9 – “If you Build it, They Will Come”
You can’t build a website and hope people will find it. In fact, you’ll need to work as hard (or harder) to drive traffic to it. This means formulating a traffic plan – One that you follow on a daily basis.
Driving traffic to an Internet business is an ongoing process. Always think about ways to promote your site because that’s what the competition is doing.
#10 – “Stick to One Source of Web Traffic”
The online game is always evolving. What works now might not work tomorrow. This is especially true when it comes to driving traffic.
Example: In 2006, article marketing was the promotional tactic. Back then, you could write a semi-illiterate article, post it on EzineArticles.com, and have it rank well for a quality keyword.
Nowadays, article marketing has become passé. They don’t rank well on Google. And it’s getting increasingly difficult to get any article approved.
My point? Don’t rely on a single traffic method for your Internet properties. Look for different ways to promote your site. Ultimately this helps you stay on top of your niche.
#11 – “Build a Business around Google”
Always keep this in the back of your mind:
“Google is as Google does”
We all use the big G for a variety of things. That doesn’t mean you should be 100% dependent on its services. Google will always do what it thinks is best for their business. They don’t care if a new change wipes out your entire source of income.
So think carefully if you’re completely depended upon:
- Google Adsense
- Google Adwords
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
They can (and will) shut down your account with no explanation. Use their services to grow your business. But never put all your eggs in the Google basket.
#12 – “You Don’t Need a List”
Email marketing is the best way to build a long-term business. So I get annoyed whenever some guru devalues the importance of list building.
Sure there are many ways to build a business without email marketing. But you’ll leave a lot of money on the table if you’re not using this technique. No matter what, always include list building into your Internet business model.
Example: Back in the January, I sent an email to my list promoting a new product. It took me 20 minutes to write and I earned over $5,000.
Plus, this wasn’t an isolated occurrence. I regularly send emails that generate $1000+ in affiliate commissions. It’s really hard to generate this type of income without a list.
Email marketing is valuable part of any online business. So don’t let anyone convince you it’s not important.
#13 – “Email your List Every Day”
I’ve encountered a few gurus who recommend emailing every single day. In my opinion, this is the quickest way to burn a list and lose income.
Once upon a time, it was easy to keep subscribers on a list. Now people have become ruthless with their inbox. Email people too much and they’ll quickly unsubscribe from your messages.
Example: Back in the summer of 2009, I experimented with emailing every single day. The balance was about 80% content vs. 20% promotional. So overall, I was giving quality information with my messages.
The result? My open rates decreased by 20% and my overall income dropped by $2000 per month. (I know this from the extensive tracking that I do with my Internet business.)
Email people with a purpose. Don’t blast them with message after message. My *sweet spot* is around 2 to 3 messages a week. And even that is too much if you’re only sending promotional offers.
#14 – “Always Use Scarcity to Increase Sales”
Scarcity is one of the best ways to influence people. Done correctly, you can get the “fence sitters” to take action on an offer. Problem is this technique has been used WAY too often with Internet marketing.
Your credibility is more important than a few extra sales. The goal is to turn people into lifelong customers. That won’t happen if everyone see you as someone who uses scare tactics.
Think of scarcity as a rare spice. Only use it when there’s a legitimate reason for doing so.
Example: Last month, I gave a one-week deadline for my information product. This was legitimate scarcity because my course was fresh on the market and I wanted to reward my longtime readers. Of course, after the week was up I increased the course to its current price.
#15 – “You Don’t Need to Connect to Other People”
Online entrepreneurs do things on a solo basis. They start a business by themselves and work from the privacy of their homes. This makes it easy to develop an isolationist attitude.
Sure, creating an online business is an individual activity. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to talk to other people. Extending your network is how you identify opportunities that can’t be found on your own.
#16 – “You Don’t Need an Information Product”
Information products help you:
- Find people who will promote your “brand”
- Generate additional income
- Increase your authority in a niche
- Add value to your existing content
That’s why I’m surprised at how many people don’t have an info product. It’s simple. You need an information product if you’re an Internet marketer. Never let someone tell you otherwise.
For more on this, check out my free PDF: How to Build a Profitable eBook Empire in 2011.
#17 – “Treat your Audience like they’re Newbies”
Never underestimate the capability of your audience. In all likelihood, you’re being followed by highly intelligent people who know a lot about your particular topic. So don’t assume everyone is at the “newbie” level.
I’ve encountered this line of thinking with a lot of websites. The owners make the mistake of treating their audience like they don’t know a thing.
The end result is they create content that comes across as condescending or unbelievable.
Each follower is an individual person. Some might be new. Others will have expert experience. So do your best to fully explain the concepts. But also make sure you have content that contains advanced techniques/principles.
#18 – “Make Everything Perfect”
The perfectionist mindset prevents you from getting results. Many people won’t complete a project because they want it to be perfect. Ultimately this minimizes the money you can make online.
Work hard to make your products (and content) a cut above the rest. Just don’t fall into the trap of making it 100% perfect. This will reduce the amount that can be accomplished in your Internet business.
#19 – “Do Something Else Because the Internet is Dead”
Here’s a piece of Internet marketing advice I’ve seen a lot of recently. Ironically, it’s used to promote an emerging technology product. (I’m sure that’s not a coincidence.)
I’ll agree the Internet is always changing. In a few years, we might only use mobile phones and iPads. That doesn’t mean the Internet is completely dead. There are still plenty of opportunities in this industry.
My advice is to pay attention to the emerging technologies. Just don’t jump ship on the Internet simply because a guru tells you to do so.
YOUR Thoughts on Bad Internet Marketing Advice
Now it’s your turn!
Do you agree or disagree with what I consider to be bad advice? What has been your experience with these recommendations?
Also, I’m sure you’ve encountered faulty advice about Internet marketing. Probably it’s something that cost you both time and money.
In the comment box below, please post the worst things you’ve heard…To Your "Internet Lifestyle",