Internet Marketing and Failure
I saw a post on an Internet marketing forum recently about failure. The person who started the thread said that they’d tried a number of things to make money online and that they’d all failed. The added that they were uncertain about trying again and wondering what they should do about it. Should they continue? What if they fail again?
Failure in Internet marketing is actually quite common, despite what many of the so-called Internet marketing gurus tell you. Of course, Internet marketing isn’t the only field of business where failure is common; it’s also common in every other type of business on Earth. That’s the nature of business. It’s competitive. Sometimes your ideas don’t work. Sometimes your ideas do work and then, for some reason, they quit working later. What can you do about it?
Learn to Accept Internet Marketing Failure
There are many ways to make money online, but not every method for doing so will work. Not every method for making money online will work indefinitely, either. Some will and some won’t. I’ve been earning a living online since 2003 and there have been times when it was relatively easy and times when it was quite difficult. Why? Because with the Internet, things are constantly changing.
Nothing on the Web stays static, and when anything changes, there’s a ripple effect that affects lots of other things. It used to be really easy to build a mailing list, for instance. All you had to do is offer a free book in exchange for an email address from your site visitors, and they’d sign up by the thousands. That method still works, and I use it on this site, but it doesn’t work nearly as well as it used to. Why? Because people have become more suspicious, and the growth of Internet spam has made people more cautious about giving out their email addresses.
It also used to be really easy to build single-page Websites for product reviews. A new product might come out on Clickbank, and you could create a site called Name-of-product-review.com, write a review, recommend the product, and watch the sales roll in. Ten years ago, a site like that might reach the first page of Google within a day or two. Today, you likely won’t get a site like that to rank in the search engines at all, and if you try building sites like that to review products, you’re likely to fail.
Four years ago, I came across a method for making money through the eBay affiliate program that involved building WordPress sites by the dozen. You could find 1000 words related to a particular eBay category, buy a domain name with a related name, and use automated software to build a WordPress site with 1000 posts in a matter of minutes. Each of those posts had eBay product listings on it, and those sites, which had little content other than eBay products on them, would often rank highly in the search engines in a matter of days.
I had 1500 sites like that at one time and was doing so well with them that I was building up to 40 sites per day. And then Google introduced their Panda algorithm change, and every single one of those Websites disappeared from Google’s search results completely within the span of a month. I was suddenly left with 1500 sites that weren’t earning any money at all and a $1000 monthly Web hosting bill on top of that.
What do you do when you find yourself in that kind of situation? You find something else to do, and over the past dozen years, I’ve changed my approach on numerous occasions. When electronic cigarettes were first introduced, you could make a lot of money promoting them via review sites and CPA offers. That went away when the then-unusual products became so commonplace that you can buy them at the local gas station. No one was interested in buying them online anymore and that business opportunity quickly faded.
If you’re going to work in Internet marketing, you’re going to have to learn that change is inevitable. You have to learn from your failures, see what worked and what didn’t, and move on to something else. Keep in mind that you’re not going to be alone in this, as pretty much everyone not named Amazon has run into this problem. You simply have to develop a thick skin and accept that failure is an unavoidable part of success.
Some things, however, do not change, and those things are the basics. If you can keep those in mind, you can, with luck, keep your failure in Internet marketing to a minimum.
Content still rules – If you’re building a Website, make sure that you’ve got lots of quality content. Make sure it’s all written manually and not “spun” using content generation tools. If you outsource it, make sure that the content is unique and that it’s written by people who speak English as a native language (or, if your site is not in English, whatever language your site supports.) Sites with good content will rank in the search engines, and the more quality content you have, the better your results will be.
Solving people’s problems pays – The best way to make money online is to offer something for sale that solves someone’s problems. I’ve written before about popular marketing niches, and the ones that are “evergreen”, that is, the niches that never seem to go out of style, are those for which people have problems and for which they will gladly pay money to have those problems go away right now.
Affiliate marketing still works – You still can make money promoting other people’s products in exchange for a commission. You might have to change products from time to time and you might need to change your approach from time to time, but affiliate marketing can still be profitable.
Internet Marketing Failure Summary
Unpleasant though it may be, failure in Internet marketing is simply a part of the process. When you see that something isn’t working, it’s time to take stock of your situation, salvage what you can from the project and move on to something else that may have a better chance of success. The key, as it is with anything, is to stick with it until you find something that works.