12 Myths About Online Marketing (pt 1)

Online marketing
  • Online marketing has become very important for any business in today’s saturated marketplace for all industries, no exception.
  • However, a lot of small business owners might underestimate the complexity of those marketing efforts due to some false assumptions and expectations.
  • If you are an avid startup owner willing to market your business right, you need to know the 12 myths about online marketing.12 myths about online marketing

While discussing online marketing with clients, I often hear stories about a “magical new marketing technique” or how other businesses have marketed their business and have had enormous results overnight. Or prospective clients come to me after being told, by an unscrupulous marketer, how they can achieve amazing results by implementing certain techniques, for a price of course.

Well, sadly some of these techniques are not only costly in dollar terms but can also damage businesses whether through loss of customers or even search engine rankings.

I think it’s time to lay some of these myths to rest. Yes, it’s myth-busting time.

1. An online store is a license to print money

This is an oldie, but this still gets bandied around. Like any so-called ‘get rich quick’ scheme, this isn’t true. An e-commerce website is a part of a business and it takes time and effort to get a business up and running. An online store has costs such as packing, packaging and also the sending of the item (although you do charge for postage!). Then there are the everyday running expenses of a business. Now don’t get me wrong, I have run a successful online store, but like everything, it takes time and you do have lean times as well as good times. Operating an e-commerce store is a great business, but is not a license to print money.

2. You can just put up a website, and it runs itself

A website is not a "set and forget" thing. Your website could be the hub of your business. Yes, you can automate some functionality on a website, but it is important to keep it up-to-date, add fresh content and actively market your website and business. When I view a website, I look at the content and maybe even the “last updated date”. How new is the content, does some of the content refer to prices or features from several years ago? If so, I move onto another more current site. Why? For a start, you need to instill trust in your customer. They need to trust your prices are up-to-date, your service information, address and phone numbers are still current.  Are you even still in business? Fresh content needs adding on a regular basis so returning website visitors find something new and they keep coming back. Search engines also love fresh content, so guess what? They keep coming back to index new information. Actively marketing your business lets customers know, “Hey, I am still here.”

3. A marketer told me they could guarantee me number 1 spot on Google

They may be able to, but no one can guarantee this. Google has its own sets of algorithms that change regularly, and Google does not publish these. Sure, as an SEO person you do glean some of how Google is indexing sites, but by doing good honest SEO, you can get sites to rank well on Google. Tricking Google is not a good idea. Many, years ago an international vehicle manufacturer tried to trick Google with some not-so-honest SEO techniques, and they were tossed well down the rankings and, from memory, practically banned from Google for a period of times. The best way to manage your SEO is to use a reputable SEO agency that will evaluate your website and implement or advise on good SEO techniques.

4. Once you are on Google, you don’t need to advertise

The “once you are on the first page of Google you have made it” myth. Hmmm, not quite. Having high Google rankings is great and is a help, but not everyone searches using the same keywords that you may have to reach those high rankings. It’s important to keep getting your message out there through other avenues to capture a new customer’s attention. A lot of people use voice-activated search now, such as Apple’s Siri, so making sure your business is out there in social media, on blogs and other marketing branches is even more important today than several years ago.

5. I need to be everywhere on social media

You can’t be everywhere for everyone. So, that means not every social media platform is right for your business. You need to select social media platforms where your “target” audience hangs out. Start out with 2-3 platforms while you get into the swing of posting, answering messages, etc. You can use a scheduling tool such as HootSuite or Buffer to help you manage your social media. And remember to be social, don't just plug your product.

6. Everyone is my target market

You can’t be everything for everyone. I may have said this line before… But here is the thing; “everyone” is not your target market. You need to dig down and discover your niche target audience and market to that particular audience. If you are having difficulty in narrowing down your target audience, ask for help from a specialised marketing agency. It’s well worth the time to do so, as narrowing down who is and who isn’t your target market can save you wasting lots of money on non-targeted advertising.

Well, that's my first 6 of the myths of online marketing. When writing these first 6, I found myself reminded of the many mis-truths that are out there and how many people find themselves confused about the rights and wrongs of marketing online. The final 6 myths of online marketing will be covered soon, and hopefully, after reading all 12 it will arm you with some information to be able to recognise and avoid some of the not so good marketing tactics that are out there.


Heather Winchcomb

Heather Winchcomb

Digital Strategist & Founder at Digital Sphere

Hi, I am a Digital Strategist and founder of Digital Sphere. I am qualified in and have a background in web design, seo, marketing, copywriting & editing, plus I owned and operated an eCommerce store which I ran for several years prior to selling it. I started Digital Sphere so that I could help other small business get their online presence up and running effectively and teach them how to make the most of the online space.

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Terry Chadban

Terry Chadban , Founder/manager at Port Macquarie Online Marketing

Great article Heather, looking forward to part two. Like you, the most common answers we get to "Who is your target market and ideal customer?" is either a blank stare, or a smug "everyone with the money to pay me". This is one of the most critical aspects of a successful business, knowing who you are selling to!

Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh , Cofounder at SavvySME

Sure is interesting how Siri and OK Google will affect how we work with SEO and advertising in the next couple years! Looking forward to part 2.

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