Internet marketing is not all it’s cracked up to be

Internet marketers could only be scratching the surface of what’s possible online. New data suggests that making money online is dependent more on what you do offline than how well you run your web site or optimize it for search. An analysis of money-making applications on Facebook shows that less than 1% of people actually stump up any cash.

The data, from Causes, shows that only a tiny number of the 179,000 organisations using the application have raised more than $1,000 over the past two years. This should actually come as no surprise to many people who have tried online marketing. Few people have been able to raise the millions of dollars promised by some “gurus”. As any serious Internet Marketer will tell you, there are millions of people who are trying to make money online – but precious few really hitting the big time. For most people, the conversion rate appears to be around 1% – much the same as the Causes application on Facebook.

So, the data on Facebook’s money-making potential is not surprising. What’s interesting, though, is that the Washington Post article highlighting the issue makes the point that raising money online seems really difficult – in spite of the fact that Barack Obama famously raked in millions of dollars using the Internet. What’s special about what he did? How come he – and others – can make millions via the web, whilst most people struggle to sell a handful of ebooks?

Well, there’s a common factor between many of the top Internet Marketers and Barack Obama. Even though the President raised records amount of money online, he really only achieved that because of the wall-to-wall offline media coverage he was getting on TV, on radio, and in newspapers and magazines. Millions of column inches were written about him and in the final stages of the campaign there probably wasn’t a media outlet anywhere in the world that didn’t cover him. All of that offline publicity drove record amounts of traffic online, where people were able to pay up and support the campaign.

Similarly, think of some top Internet Marketers – Stephen Pierce, for instance, or Randy Gage. These guys are frequently in the mainstream media and spend considerable amounts of time in front of people offline, at seminars, conferences and exhbitions. Rob Benwell – who came up with Blogging to the Bank – is a Northern British youngster who also used his offline contacts and activities to help drive his millions of product sales.

Whilst it is clearly possible to make plenty of money online, the figures from Facebook’s Causes application help confirm one thing: it’s the activities you undertake offline that are the key to making money online.

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