The Problem with Internet Marketing

The problems with internet marketing
I think there is something really important we need to talk about.

Don’t freak out! It’s not the birds and the bees. Well, okay, it’s similar to the birds and the bees, because I’m going to tell you how things work. But instead of sex, we are going to talk about internet marketing.

For some reason, business owners who start online businesses think about and focus on the wrong things – especially when it comes to traffic.

They think, “How can I get on the first page of Google for my keywords?”

It’s logical that everyone would wonder how it’s done because if they were to get on the first page of Google for their keywords, their business would prosper. If they were somehow graced with the favor of the Google God and got the top spot, their business would explode with profits.

However, it is a long and arduous quest for something you can’t understand; similar to the quest for the Holy Grail.

A Simple Business Example

What we need is to look at a simple business example in the real world. So, Let’s look at a brick and mortar sporting goods store.

Typically, when you go into the retail sporting goods business you think about the specific products you are going sell, how much they cost at different quantities, how much you can sell them for, and how much it’s going to cost to get people in the door.

Your plan is based on simple math and you can validate your hypothesis with sales data.

A typical marketing plan would include the cost of the location, and interior and exterior signage first, then it would include customer service training, and Point of Sale equipment and a customer database.

Once this initial marketing plan is underway, you would expand your marketing to outdoor advertising, newspaper ads, networking with local sports coordinators, and Public Relations.

Finally, if you went online and built an ecommerce store, that online store should support your brick and mortar location and the local market. Sure, people from outside the area could buy from you 24/7/365, but getting their attention is an entirely different business model that doesn’t match the focus of your brick and mortar store.

Do you see what is happening here?

You buy product for X, it costs you Y to get customers in the door, you sell product for Z.

Simple math.

Let’s look at the “it costs you Y to get customers in the door” part.

Sure, you can do PR and networking. These are important to any brick and mortar store, but you cannot count on any foot traffic from that effort. Any traffic you get is a bonus. It’s gravy. Sometimes it’s so good you can’t believe it. Other times, it’s as if it never happened. Such is the nature of PR and networking.

But, advertising in the newspaper, on radio, on T.V., etc. is traceable.  You can know how many customers you got from your ads if you do it right. You can even count how many people walk past your store, how many enter, and how many buy. What’s more, you have the ability to increase these numbers. You can increase the number of people walking by, walking in, and purchasing – with your messaging – by spending money.

Maybe you can see where I’m going…

In a brick and mortar store, you get people in the door by spending money. When you add up the cost of goods, the overhead and the marketing costs and subtract them from the sales costs, the remainder is the profit.

Simple math! That is how a business runs.

Why are Internet Businesses and Internet Marketing Different?

Only with Internet Businesses and Internet Marketing do business owners seemingly lose their minds and forget everything that makes a business work. They focus all their attention and energy on secondary tactics like SEO and Content Marketing.

You wouldn’t dare do that with a brick and mortar store. Websites don’t have any natural foot traffic. No one is driving by.

Depending upon SEO and Content Marketing is like putting the sporting goods store on a lonesome road by the airport and submitting press releases and networking with reporters in Atlanta to get them talking about you so you can sell something.

I’m not saying it can’t work. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut from time to time. But, I am saying it’s going to be very, very difficult to get attention and grow your business.

Does content marketing and SEO work? Maybe, overtime. Sometimes, a very, very long time. Plus, it’s not easy to do. It’s very time consuming to do content marketing, and SEO is a game with the cards stacked against you.

It’s just when you think you know how to play the SEO game that you either realize you have no clue how it works, or Google changes the rules.

Besides, most business owners pay others to do SEO for them. So they are spending money anyway, just on something that is two steps removed from making an actual sale.

Run your Internet business like a brick and mortar business! Advertise! Buy traffic!

But don’t just take my word for it. Look at some of the best Internet Marketers in the World:

  • Frank Kern
  • Russell Brunson
  • Andy Jenkins and Mike Filsame
  • Mike Keonigs
  • Ryan Deiss and Perry Belcher
  • Eben Pagan
  • And many more…

They have courses on traffic: How to get traffic to your site, How to leverage that traffic and make money…

Here is what their courses focus on:

  • Facebook advertising
  • Twitter advertising
  • Youtube advertising
  • Linkedin advertising
  • Google and Bing advertising

Yes, they talk about SEO. Yes, they talk about content marketing. But in context after these primary sources of traffic are being implemented.

Business success is simple math. Make sure your math makes sense and take the immortal words of Billionaire Ted Turner to heart:

Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise!

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller is the owner of, a sales and marketing coaching and training company in Atlanta, Georgia.

Michael’s mission is helping small business owners understand, and organize their marketing so they can make money and grow.

Mindwhirl helps business owners plan and implement effective, profitable marketing campaigns and sales programs.

If you need more sales, we know how to get leads and grow businesses. Call us today at (404) 858-3105, or email me at


  1. Thanks. Good read. Effective Website and SEO strategies are so much different these days than just a few years ago. The traditional way of developing and using websites is basically dead. I would like to link to this post for a project I’m working on if that is okay. Thanks.

    • Are you kidding? We go way back … you can link to anything you want. Hope you are doing well Dusty, and if I can ever do anything for you, just ask!

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