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Friday, September 10, 2010

INTERNET MARKETING: THE SCIENCE OF SUCCESS: Your website could be making the biggest Internet Marketing mistake of all...

Your website could be making the biggest Internet Marketing mistake of all...

When it comes to Internet marketing, I've noticed the disproportionately large emphasis that's placed on getting traffic to your website. While reaching top ranking with the major search engines is certainly a very worthwhile goal, it has little to do with whether or not anyone ultimately buys anything from you.

When it comes right down to it, your website's purpose is to make you money and to do so in a 24/7, automated fashion if at all possible. So whether you're peddling goods or services, your Internet marketing strategy must place at least equal weight upon the goal of CONVERTING prospects as it does ATTRACTING prospects.

Conversion rate correlates directly to how well your site succeeds at building trust with skeptical consumers. An exceedingly small minority of the billions of websites in existence ever reach the goal of establishing that trust. And without the value of trust, the Internet becomes increasingly focused on little more than the lowest available price. That said, failing to build trust is not only the biggest Internet Marketing mistake of all... it's all the biggest Internet Marketing opportunity for anyone interested in pursuing it.

What's so truly powerful about marketing on the Internet is that the technology enables you to add, update and interconnect various content in a dynamic, multi-dimensional way; that being particularly true of blogging platforms such as WordPress.

One of the primary reasons that blogs are preferable to static websites is that they shift what is typically a “corporate communication” into a personal conversation by way of the comment function which allows website authors and readers to interact in nearly real-time. And it is that personal conversation that gives life to your business by making you a real person with the power to solve your customers' real problems. That, my friend, is relationship marketing at its best.

Unfortunately, what I see far too often is that entrepreneurial types try to make themselves “look BIG” so that they appear to be on equal footing with deep-pocket corporations. This kind of Internet marketing puffery is far too common and in direct opposition to a significant opportunity to distinguish yourself and your business as real, responsive, reachable, and ultimately... TRUSTWORTHY. Remember, when it comes to Internet marketing, small is beautiful!

Think about your own online experience for just a moment and recall the countless times you needed an answer to your burning question, yet every attempt to contact a human being was slowed down, complicated or altogether thwarted. Now imagine how you would feel about a website that allowed you to get to the decision maker or the person who could meet your needs NOW.

Ask yourself how many times you've gone to a company's website for no other reason than to simply find their phone number and get a warm body on the other end of the line. Amazingly, I see website after website that buries or hides their contact information as though somehow they really don't have any interest in doing business with the public.

I trust you'll agree with me that there's nothing more common or frustrating on the web than the aggravation of clicking endlessly through cyberspace with an UNMET need until one gives up and simply goes away, wallet firmly in hand.

At the end of the day, every minute and dollar you spend to drive traffic to your website without getting a handle on establishing trust with prospective clientele, will become precious yet wasted resources.

As I sat down and really thought about what trust means to me (and how often companies espouse their trustworthiness without ever delivering it), I realized that to define trust is to discover its core constituents.

Where Internet marketing is concerned, trust is comprised of three key elements:
1. Integrity
2. Accountability
3. Transparency

So if you want to write powerfully persuasive ad copy for your website, your press releases or any other form of on or off-line marketing, you'll want to consider how each one of these three elements is clearly represented in the final piece.

Integrity can be relayed to the buying public by way of showing potential purchasers that your product or service does what it says it will do. You'll want to let them know that their expectations, once fulfilled, will remain fulfilled for a reasonable length of time without further hassle or expense. This can be accomplished through third-party reviews, testimonials, industry awards and any other device that conveys that “It works!”

Accountability can be communicated in myriad ways including endorsements by respected entities, affiliations with recognized brands, favorable ratings through organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and detailed, written guarantees that give customers real confidence throughout the decision making process.

Transparency is likely the most overlooked but powerful element in the trust-building process required to convert Web visitors into satisfied customers; customers who not only come back for more, but who gladly tell their friends about you along the way.

In my opinion, transparency is accomplished through striking a genuine tone in all of your Internet marketing communications. It's about being a real person (just like the people with whom you'd like to do business) with an informal tone and attitude of being reachable and responsive... not only when it's time to make the sale, but when it's time to truly serve your customers.

So take a good look at your site with an eye for those elements that build trust and increase your conversion rate exponentially. Also take a look at your competitors' sites and other sites that you frequent regularly. Adapt any trust-building device that appeals to you for use on your own website. After all, the goal of effective Internet marketing is not simply to create a good website, but to build an invaluable Web presence.

For further reading on this topic, here's an excellent article including dozens of fascinating statistics about the influence of trust upon e-commerce.

Joyanne Sloan is a strategic marketing expert sharing insights on effective Internet marketing for low-tech entrepreneurs. Her articles and information products provide practical, plain-English marketing solutions that get real results. For private consulting, you may reach her at 206.388.3882 or by e-mail at

For more information, please visit Joyanne's TNNWC Bio.

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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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