2 Things You Need To Know About Successful Marketing On The Internet

Most people who offer advice on how to market products on the Internet don’t know what they are talking about. Most of the advice is a rehash of advice given to people 20 years ago about using direct mail letters, classified advertising and other forms of direct marketing, and then applied to the Internet.

And most of the advice is wrong, wrong, wrong.

In a series of articles in this department, I’m going to tell you what you need to know about successfully marketing your product or service on the Internet. And I’m going to tell you why so many people fail to do it right.

Internet Marketing is a Game of Two Halves

Marketing on the Internet can be summarised with just two basic strategies – these are either Push Marketing or Pull Marketing. Here’s what I mean.

1. Push Marketing

Push marketing is pretty much what it sounds like. It is the strategy of ‘pushing’ your product ads into the faces of potential customers, hoping that if you ‘push’ enough, you will eventually find buyers. Prime examples of Push Marketing on the Internet are spam email, pop-up ads, and intrusive banner ads. All try to ‘push’ their way into your focus, and get you do something you really had no interest in doing. Most of the self-proclaimed Internet marketing ‘gurus’ advise you to heavily invest in ‘push’ marketing techniques. (Most of these same gurus don’t bother to mention that the three things consumers dislike the most about the Internet spam, pop-up ads, and intrusive banner ads – all push marketing.)

2. Pull Marketing

Pull marketing is the strategy of offering detailed content, information, tools and resources on a specific topic, which serves as a ‘magnet’ to pull visitors to your site when they search for that information in the search engine. Pull Marketing works because most people who use the Internet are in ‘search’ mode – searching for a solution to a specific problem or a specific product they wish to buy. Internet users in search mode use the search engines as their ‘find it fast’ tool – particularly Google. They go to Google, type in the item or solution they are searching for, and then view a list of sites which may offer the resource they are searching for. When they find a site offering solutions, they are ‘pulled’ to the site by the content or resources on that site. When they get to the site, they already know what they want, and if they find it there, they often buy on the spot.

The vast majority of purchases made on the web are made as a direct result of ‘pull’ marketing. A web user searches Google for a specific product, finds it on a site, and buys it. No banner ads, no spam, no pop-ups involved.

The real reason most people use the Internet is that they can find almost anything they are looking for – solutions to problems or products to buy. They start at the search engine, and are ‘pulled’ into the sites that have what they want. Pull marketing is the natural behaviour of the vast majority of Internet users.

Push or Pull?

Most of your Internet marketing ‘gurus’ will tell you to concentrate your Internet marketing efforts on different forms of Push Marketing. And most of these same people just so happen to have a push-enabling product to sell you. In fact, if you check, you’ll find that most of these marketing ‘gurus’ have never sold anything themselves except their Push products. Most seem to work on the ‘bigger fool’ theory of marketing – which is the belief that there is always a ‘bigger fool than me’ out there willing to fork over money.

If you look past the marketing gurus and start to track the success stories of small companies and individuals on the web, you’ll see that the real success stories invariably attribute their success to ‘pull’ marketing. They created resources on a specific subject or topic, the search engine gave their sites high placement for key words relating to those topics, and visitors found the site through the search engines.

The vast majority of these small sites never used spam, never used pop-ups, and never used banner ads. They just provided resources on their sites which acted as a magnet to pull visitors to their site. And it is unlikely you’d even know about these sites unless you searched for the solutions or information they offer.

Lotto Mentality?

I think the major reason we still see so many people get involved with the kind of Push Marketing consumers so deeply despise is that many would-be entrepreneurs have ‘Lotto mentality’.

They think that paying for a spam campaign, or obnoxious banner ads, or intrusive pop-ups can overcome having an unwanted product. And they think if they send out millions of emails, surely enough fools will fall for the offer to make the seller some money.

Truth is, it rarely ever happens. Instead, in the case of the spammer, the spam creates angry consumers who complain to the seller’s web host, and the site is taken offline. If the seller is unlucky, he will become the target of the spam vigilantes who make it a personal vendetta to cause grief to spammers.

My advice – when it comes to Internet Marketing, avoid intrusive Push Marketing. Instead concentrate on building a content rich ‘magnet’ site which pulls those with a specific interest to your site. Create the kind of site they will want to visit often, recommend to friends, and add to their favourites list – and you’ll be on the road to success.

Beating The Market Is Harder Than You Think

The world is oversupplied with oil, U.S. interest rates are rising and international prospects look dim, with slowing growth in China and persistent troubles in Europe and Japan. How should investors react?

When asset prices decline, people naturally want to take action to alleviate the pain. Yet sometimes no action is the best reaction. Trying to avoid the next market meltdown or identify the next hot market is a siren song for all investors, but even professional investors are collectively unsuccessful when they try to time buying into or selling out of particular investments. For the 15 years ending December 31, 2014, only 19 percent of stock mutual funds and 8 percent of bond mutual funds survived and outperformed their indexes, according to data from Dimensional Fund Advisors and the Center for Research in Security Prices at the University of Chicago.

Knowing a bit more about how the markets work can help you understand why maintaining a consistent, diversified approach to investing is the right philosophy for achieving long-term success, regardless of the crisis du jour.

Understanding Valuation Principles

The basic theory behind investing is easy to understand: Buy low; sell high. However, determining what an investment is worth, and thus which investments are underpriced and which are overpriced, is not as easy as it seems.

U.S. Treasury Regulations define “fair market value” for federal tax purposes as “the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.” Essentially, this describes what happens in the stock market every day. Two independent parties reach a mutually agreed-upon price at which to trade an investment.

This definition also encapsulates one of the theories of valuation: An investment is worth only as much as someone else is willing to pay for it. If people are enamored with tulip bulbs, Beanie Babies, tech stocks, real estate or gold, they might pay ever-higher prices that seem to have little rationale. The buyers of a seemingly overpriced asset might just be hoping they find a greater fool who will buy it from them at an even more inflated price. The possibility that they are, in fact, that greater fool scares many investors.

On the other hand, there is another theory of valuation that says each investment has an intrinsic value, which can be determined through due diligence. Most investors consider this intrinsic value when they try to price an investment based on the current value of its future cash flow. However, this second method is not as robust as it sounds, because it still relies on the investor’s assumptions. The future cash flow of most investments is not certain, regardless of how much research an investor performs. As a result of this uncertainty, any valuation can be justified based on a given prediction, though thoughtful analysis should still result in a more accurate assessment of intrinsic value.

Market Efficiency

Each investor makes certain assumptions about the future and has reasons to buy or sell an investment. Every time a trade occurs, it is another affirmation that two parties agreed on an appropriate fair market value for the investment at that time. In this way, the market incorporates the collective wisdom of all investors’ different predictions of the future.

The degree to which a market’s prices are accurate and its mispricings are unpredictable is known as a market’s efficiency. Efficiency varies by markets. Markets with more participants, a freer flow of information, better-informed participants and more trading tend to be more efficient than markets that lack these features.

But markets are not perfect, and mispricings occur from time to time as a result of many investors either choosing to ignore intrinsic value or incorporating incorrect assumptions in their fundamental analysis. These mispricings tend to be random in efficient markets, and it is hard to know when your viewpoint is smarter than the collective wisdom of the market. You should only attempt to outperform an index if you believe that you, or someone you hire, can secure a sustainable advantage versus other market participants.

Avoiding The Temptation To Time The Market

Many of us think we are smarter than the average investor, so we should be able to outperform the market. We read headlines about the hedge fund manager or other star investor who profited handsomely by accurately predicting the last unexpected event. The next time you hear about these predictions, remember this quotation from Malcolm Gladwell: “If you make a great number of predictions, the ones that were wrong will soon be forgotten, and the ones that turn out to be true will make you famous.”

One investor may get several predictions wrong before getting one right and may be too early with his or her prediction. In hindsight, we will recognize such clairvoyance, but before the unexpected occurs, multiple experts would likely predict wholly different scenarios. The majority of professional investors underperform the market, and those who consistently outperform may do so by chance.

While experts who have a contrarian viewpoint that is ahead of the market might outperform the market as a whole, individual investors will have a much more difficult time succeeding. If you expect a recession based on something you read in The Wall Street Journal or heard on CNN, it is likely pointless to trade on that information, because that possibility is already incorporated into the current market price of investments. Similarly, if you read a story about a company’s breakthrough product, it is also too late to buy that stock. Trading based on your own theories should only result in excess profits if your viewpoints are more accurate than the market’s view as a whole.

If I expect gas prices to go up next week, I will fill my tank today, even if I have plenty of gas. If I expect prices to go down, I’ll roll into the gas station on fumes next week. Markets work the same way to incorporate people’s expectations of the future.

If a region, sector or company is likely to produce higher output in the future, the stock market often takes notice of this and prices the expectation into the current valuation. The stocks go up, even though the good news or growth has not yet arrived. So if investors already anticipate substantial growth in a country, that market’s future returns might not exceed those of a slower-growing economy, since the faster growth was already accounted for in the original market price. An investment is most likely to outperform when its prospects or earnings exceed the market’s expectations.

Under these circumstances, growing a portfolio is not as easy as identifying the market with the highest potential for growth in future output, and investing accordingly. One of the biggest mistakes investors make is trying to trade based on a very accurate prediction for which the market has already accounted.

Investors can get a little more information about how expensive a company or market is by looking beyond recent stock market movements. Just because markets have declined does not mean their value cannot fall further. Nothing in the laws of math or the markets prevents an investment that has fallen 50 percent from declining another 90 percent. For this reason, you should not concentrate your portfolio in an area that has had recent trouble with the hope of it bouncing back.

Experienced investors often look at certain valuation metrics to give them an idea of how expensive an investment is. The most widely known of these measures is a stock’s price-to-earnings ratio, but there are several others, including its price-to-book value, price to cash flow and dividend yield. These measures provide more information than just looking at a market’s recent moves, and they can be compared across time and across markets to determine a market’s relative valuation. However, again investors as a whole might be correct to seemingly over- or underprice a market, and it is hard to know when the market is wrong.

You can find substantial support to prove that almost any valuation is right, and probably just as much to prove that it is wrong. Cheap markets can get cheaper, and frothy markets can get more expensive.

Those who invest in the market do so with the aim of maximizing their profits. Unless you think you know something of which others in the market are unaware, think twice before changing your portfolio. Markets quickly incorporate new information into prices, and you are unlikely to be trading ahead of the crowd.

Reasons Why SMS Marketing Is Better Than Any Other Mode of Marketing

SMS Marketing is better than any other mode of marketing? This might seem like a hot topic among marketers all around the world. Most of the marketing mediums have been available since decades, but the widespread of mobile devices has definitely changed the way every marketer treat these options in the marketing plans.

SMS Marketing is known to come as a reliable option to reach out to end users with precise and targeted messages. Mentioned below is a complied data that compares SMS marketing with the other modes of marketing to give you an overview of their current standing as an effective marketing tool.

1) Open Rate

– Open Rate of SMS Marketing – 90%

– Open Rate of other modes of marketing – 30 to 35%

These numbers do not leave anything for us to debate on as your customer is bound to read your message sent via SMS.

2) Quantity matters

– Number of text messages; the lesser, the better

– Number of emails or ads, the more the better

We do not need to think about this twice. Just think about how you treat your messages and emails. If you keep receiving an email from the same address, there is a probability you might just open it once. With messages, nobody is tolerant towards unnecessary disturbance. The point of a text message is just to give out the required information in a precise manner and that’s what people expect from marketing messages.

3) Nature of Campaign/SMS

The nature of the message is very vital for text messages and any other mode of marketing. For instance, if you have an offer or discount to offer to your customers, SMS Marketing is the perfect mode. No other medium of marketing will create an impact as text messages when discounts and offers are considered.

4) Click – Through – Rate

– The CTR of SMS Marketing – 40%

– The CTR of other modes of marketing – 7 to 10%

The reason why every marketer is taking SMS Marketing seriously is because of the wide penetration of mobile phones in the market. Mobile phones are affordable and within everybody’s reach and so are the data packages.

And so, the possibility of the end-user opening the link sent via message, provided it is of their given interests, is much higher now than ever.

In Defence of the Free Market

The free market is founded on the principle that man is indeed capable of governing himself. During the course of the American Revolution, many individuals from several countries sacrificed their time, their fortunes, and even their lives for the revolutionary idea that man was destined to be free. In the great history of the world, we have witnessed many great civilizations come and go, and time can all but wash away entirely the ardor once held by a people for certain ideals. Two hundred and forty years have passed since our forefathers made the sacrifice for our independence, and in that time an argument has crept into our society claiming that the free market system which they fought for is corrupt. Many are wondering if unequally divided prosperity should be fought for, or fought against. In this essay, I will argue that the free market system cannot be blamed for corroding moral character. The freedom of choice, which this system bestows upon its participants merely gives us the opportunity to decide for ourselves how we will be remembered.

Many argue that the free market system is founded upon corruption and greed. Its very premise is that men will do everything they can to promote their own self-interest. Some will look at this premise, and quickly assume that this sort of system is perverting individuals to think only of themselves. While this theory is prevalent in today’s society, it is deeply flawed. The magnificence behind the free market system is that it gives every participant to a certain extent, the freedom to act how he so chooses. In a sense, the free market system is the only system in the world, which the participants are given the ability to even have moral character. A controlled economy (the antithesis of a free market economy) believes that a society will have sound moral character if it makes it impossible for its participants to make an incorrect or unethical choice. This economic system has not and cannot succeed in creating a society of superior moral character, because it strips from its participants their very capacity of having moral character in the first place. You cannot say that a cow has good moral character or bad moral character, because it does not have the capacity to make rational decisions. A cow cannot be good or bad, it can only be a cow. A free man however, is the one of the only creatures on earth who possesses the capacity to act out of principle, rather than instinct. If we rob a man from his right to choose for himself, and act on principle, he quickly regresses into a creature similar to the cow. A man without the capacity of choice and reason does not have superior moral character to a man who does have the capacity to freely choose, and behaves poorly. To put it simply, only in the free market system does the true meaning of moral character even exist!

It is my belief that power is an entity similar to matter, in the context that it cannot be created nor destroyed. The only influence we can have over power is the manner in which it is distributed and organized. If we desire to give more power to the government, the natural consequence would be a reduction in the amount of power which the people possess. If we desire that more power be given to the people, the government must forfeit a portion of the power which it possesses. The perfect ratio of power distribution between the government and the people has been a subject debated since the world began.

Men such as Adam Smith, John Locke, and the Founding Fathers of America believed that the best ratio would be an equal amount of power bestowed on both parties. The objective was to create a government with enough power to preserve order and security, but not strong enough to abuse the people. The logic behind this theory is that if power is distributed equally among all people and the government, no one faction can dominate another. If the power is un-proportionally distributed, the group yielding the majority of the power can subjugate the masses to the practice of unrighteous dominion.

A natural right bestowed upon every man in this form of society is the freedom to make economic decisions in his own self-interest. In a system that gives individuals so much freedom, it is inherently obvious that there will be a number who choose to behave immorally. No serious defender of the free market system would ever suggest that it is perfect. In fact it was never intended to be perfect! The free market system is in fact one of the only systems, which assumes that no man should be trusted with much power. Therefore, the genius of this system lies in the fact that the equally distributed amounts of power among all people act as a safeguard against the corrupt, because it minimalizes the amount of harm they can bring to the overall population. For example, A sociopath without a conscience has a harder time imposing his will on others in a free market system because everyone around him have been given the same amount of power. However, in other market systems such as a controlled market, the power is divided unequally placing men on unequal grounds. In a controlled market economy, the sociopath has an opportunity to snake his way into the “ruling class” and subjugate the powerless masses in whichever way he desired.

The last portion of my essay will be dedicated to comparing and contrasting data from free market and controlled market economies to put to rest once and for all the idea that the free market corrodes moral character. When we look at the evidence, we see that the opposite position is in fact true. In the early 20th century, the idea of communism and the collectivist system of economics captivated the imagination of many western thinkers. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt even sent a shipload of western economists and scholars over to Russia to learn about this system of Government first hand from Joseph Stalin. As mentioned earlier, in a society which delegates the majority of its power to one ruling class over the people, they are susceptible to the dangers of being abused by the vain ambitions of the rulers. Stalin, a known megalomaniac, was given total control of the economic decisions of 270 million people.

In 1928, Stalin introduced his agricultural collectivization program, which forced farmers to give up their land, equipment, and livestock to the state. Stalin decided that the main priority of these farms would be to produce grain to sell abroad, and use the money to finance his industrialization plans. The distant second priority of these collective farms was to feed his own people (Babij, 2009). Resistance to the collective farms was met with brutal force. Stalin initiated a strategy of class warfare against those who refused to give up their land. Many of these farmers were taken from their homes and shipped off to Siberia where they would soon die. In 1932, Stalin raised the government-implemented quotas on production and reduced the amount of grain to be given to the people in an attempt to generate additional revenue. A decree was implemented that called for the immediate execution of anyone, including children found taking as little as a few stocks of wheat home from the farm. Tens of thousands were dying from starvation daily and many were forced into cannibalism. By the end of this practice, nearly 4 million Russians died from starvation. This event is now known in Russia as the Holodomor, which translated means “Murder by Starvation”. On November 28, 2006, a ceremony was dedicated to the victims of the Holodomor. In the ceremony, 24,000 red candles were lit, representing the number of people who lost their lives each day during this event. It is a somber reminder to all of us that when the wicked rule, the people mourn.

Let us now contrast the track record of a controlled market economy such as the Soviet Union, to the moral character of the free market system implemented by the United States. In 2011, the Charity Aid Foundation performed a study, which set out to determine which were the most generous countries in the world (Goldberg, 2011). The criteria measured in the study were volunteering, helping strangers, and donating money as a total and as a percentage of individual income. According to the research, Charity Aid Foundation concluded that the United States was the most generous country in the entire world, in all three categories of criteria measured. Richard Harrison, director of research at the UK based Charities Aid Foundation declared, “the world really needs America; it needs its generosity, its resource and spirit, and though times are really hard, this is the time we need to keep giving as much as we possibly can.” The leaders of charitable organizations around the world are declaring that the world does not need less free market economies in the world. In fact, they are saying that we need more countries like the United States, who are both prosperous and moral.

The free market system has been under attack since the days it was first proposed. Those who disapprove of the free market often claim that the idea of self-interest proposed in the free market will lead to the moral decay of a society. Those who believe this often go on to say that the government should be more powerful than the people, in order to prevent the moral decay from happening. In defense of the free market, we have proven this theory to be false in three ways. 1. Moral character can only exist among creatures that are given the freedom of choice. If man is not allowed to make personal decisions of his own free will and choice, he is living in a regressed state incapable of having moral character. 2. We have seen in the history of the world enough instances that prove that the more power that is held by the government, the more the people suffer. 3. Citizens living under Free Market Economies have proven to be the most charitable and generous in the world. The free market system is the greatest safeguard for the preservation of the right to choose, according to the dictates of our own conscience. The inherent responsibility associated with this right, is to live a life worth honoring. We have been given the opportunity to decide for ourselves which kind of legacy we will leave behind for others to remember.