Getting The Most From Your Internet Advertising Budget (written August, 2002)

The Internet isn’t all it is “hyped up” to be. It is certainly wise to have a web presence, because it will definitely enhance what you are doing, but if any of you believe that by just putting a website up is all you need to do, then I feel sorry for you. Though I think the Internet is more hype than bite, I definitely still believe you need to have a web presence no matter what business you are in! But there are a few common mistakes people make with their website promotion.

Common Mistake #1 is thinking that just because you are on the web, people will see you. Nope! Many of you don’t realize this, but there are probably a billion sites on the web. How would a potential prospect find you? They won’t. It’s like opening up your own hardware store on 3rd and Maple and not telling anybody where it is. How would they find you then? You need to advertise, right? Same with a website. Just having a website means absolutely nothing unless you plan on advertising in print media and promoting it. You can run an ad like “Make a Million Dollars. For Free info. Contact me at (Your mailing address) or you can visit my website at www. Your web address).” See how simple it is to promote your site? See how simple it is to get people to visit your site? See how simple it is to avoid this mistake?

Common Mistake #2 is having the belief your website needs to be professionally done by web experts. Web experts will sell you on the idea that some fancy exciting flashy website is what you need. Why? Because they make more money. The fancier the website, the more money web site expert designers make. You don’t need anything fancy. You need something simple that will download fast for your potential prospects. Contrary to pubic opinion, I believe there are no web experts. The web is only a few years old and most of us are still tinkering on how to use it. All you need is a simple website, which anybody can do with a program called FrontPage 2000. If you feel you can’t figure out how to use this simple program, you certainly can hire a guy at a substantially reduced amount for a simple, yet effective website.

Common Mistake #3 is thinking that you need a computer to have a website or it is complicated to have a website. Nonsense! Just because you are not knowledgeable about the web or a computer doesn’t mean you have to be gauged by a so-called expert. When I first started investigating the web back in January of 1998, I thought the web was beyond my train of comprehension. I thought the only people on the web were experts and I better keep my distance. Nonsense. Think of the web as a big shopping mall. You need people to find their way to your store. How? By giving them directions. The directions are your advertisements in print publications. Simple.

Common Mistake #4 is thinking that you don’t need a website. That’s crazy. 80% of my customers visit my website before, during and after they speak with me to confirm what I am saying and to see if I a real person. Personally – I do the same thing. Being on the web legitimizes what we are doing. It enhances our promotions and it definitely will increase sales combined with print & telephone contact.

Don’t make these major mistakes. Another major mistake made by many advertisers is in thinking that after they place their ad on line, they can sit back and just wait to get rich. By now we all know this does not happen. Advertisers can help increase the success of their website by promoting it. The ideal situation is to combine your web advertising to enhance your print media advertising and vice versa. Utilizing both advertising medias enhance the other. The difference is that an ad on the web will not work if you do not give it print advertising support, but print advertising will work without web support.

Another thing to avoid like the plague is spamming. I personally rented a million names from a company who told me all these people “double opted” in to receive my offers. After emailing to the first 150,000 of these names, my ISP canceled my service and fined me $1,000. When I told them that I rented a “double opted” in list of names, they cringed. That is still called spamming. I couldn’t believe how many people complained about my four sentence email. You know what else? Of the 150,000 emails sent – not one asked for more information on what I was doing. Not one! Then I started thinking? Did I myself ever respond to a “spam” email? No! So why would I expect anyone else to then? Avoid spamming like the plague! It will give you more aggravation and disappointment then anything else!

Bottom line: Get a Website and you got to promote it! You must promote your website for maximum success. Sure you paid to have your website placed online and the site it is up and running and you are excited. But unless you give a prospect directions to get there, they won’t and you will see zippo! You invested in a website, which is the right thing to do, but now you must understand that is not all you need to do. You must promote your web page – period! This cannot be repeated enough. It is so very important!

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.