Ten of my all time favorite misconceptions often spouted by online marketers in their blogs, articles, and in the marketing forums:
1. “The money is in the list”
Misconception: There’s way more to profitability than just having a list. In fact, you can go to eBay right now and for a mere $15 or so you can buy an email list of 100K people. Where’s the money in that list? No, the money lies in the fact that your list contains real people that have qualified themselves as being interested in what you (the marketer) have to say. The money is in the relationship that is created between you and your subscribers. Scraped lists of addresses don’t cut it!
2. “People buy what they need” – so find a need and then make an offer to them.
Misconception: I believe that most people purchase what they want more than they purchase what they need. Wants and needs could be the same; but I have found that most often people buy what they want. How many of us need to see the latest movie? How many need to buy more fun snacks at the grocery store? Why does anyone need to have 12 pairs of shoes? No, we usually buy things out of want – the inner desire to own or consume something.
3. “If I can do it, anyone can do it”
Misconception: Not true – we are all different in so many ways. Our abilities, values, talents, interests, feelings, and environments are all unique. We all bring different resources and personalities to the table. Telling someone “anyone can do it” suggests that if they have tried something and weren’t successful at it – they are a total moron, worse than the lowest human being.
4. “I’ve got your back”
Misconception: No, you’ve most likely got your hand in my back pocket. Most everyone in business is there for a reason – to make money. It is great being helpful and customer-centric; but some marketers use this phrase daily and when push comes to shove they are going to do what’s best for them and their business.
5. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal” – Until I run it again this summer.
Misconception: Marketers love to tease prospects with urgency and scarcity. I think most people nowadays recognize that “once-in-a-lifetime” for most sellers is only a marketing phrase used to push a sale. How many times a year do some marketers use this over-worn phrase in a single year? To me at least, one deal in a lifetime means just that. I’m sure many of you won’t agree.
6. “I read it online – it must be true”
Misconception: No comment needed since the Internet is the largest source of mis-information on the planet.
7. “You get what you pay for”
Misconception: Sometimes it’s true, many times it’s far from the truth. I’ll be the first to admit that, at times, buying high quality items will require more financial output. But I’ve learned from both good and not-so-good experience – higher prices are not always an indication of higher utility or higher value. It’s why I believe that comparison shopping is most always a good thing. Consumers have power, at least in part due to the Internet and the ease of online shopping comparisons, reviews by purchasers, and online reviews at neutral sites.
8. ” ‘_______________________’ (your favorite strategy) is dead” (I’ve seen it declared for email marketing, content creation, desktop computers, blogging, solo ads, list building, you name it.)
Misconception: No marketing strategies are really dead, are they? Yes, they morph, and change, and adapt as technology and consumer preferences change . . . but as long as a strategy still makes money online, it is useful and viable for some people. If you pride yourself on always riding the leading edge wave then you know all about adapting to new opportunities and methods. But email marketing, for instance, remains quite effective and profitable even though there have been some gurus that have proclaimed it no longer works!
9. “If only one person in a thousand buys . . .”
Misconception: Numbers theory and “if only” don’t have much usefulness in the real world. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the theoretical numbers to ever be an indicator of actual numbers. Here’s an example: You should, with a little work and leverage, be able to double your business income each month, right? Well, if you only netted $500 in profit after your first month in business, this theory says you’ll be netting over a million dollars after the first year . . . which probably isn’t going to happen.
10. “It’s OK to borrow content as long as you quote the source.”
Misconception: Tell it to the judge. Creative works are copyright protected as soon as they are published or distributed even though a work hasn’t been submitted for a formal copyright status. Unless you have specific written permission to use another’s work (or you have obtained a license permitting your use) you should think twice about stealing other people’s content.
There you have it – 10 marketing misconceptions that you’ll hear from marketers that don’t know better (or maybe they do). There was an interesting book written a few years back by a leading marketing visionary, Seth Godin, called All Marketers are Liars. Maybe these misconceptions were what he was thinking about at the time he chose the title for his book.
To your online business success,