Only the TRUTH about ECommerce
Paid Advertising - Do I Need It?
We have a saying around here at “The People Who Know What We’re Doing Online” clubhouse, and it goes like this:
“People who use paid advertising are people who don’t know how to MARKET”.
This refers to home-based business owners, and if you use paid advertising now or have used it in the past, don’t take that personally. All it means is that you’ve gotten bad information from the fake 'ebiz gurus' that have told you to use paid advertising. That’s not your fault.
There’s a very good reason why the Fake Gurus tell you to use paid advertising, even though they know perfectly well that for home based business owners paid advertising is a huge flushing toilet the size of Niagara Falls, only instead of flushing water it flushes your cash down the drain. The Fake Gurus don’t care if that happens to you, and it will happen to you if you use paid advertising.
They need you to use paid advertising, though (which is why they tell you to do it), because the "systems, tools and wealth programs" they sell you are so uniformly horrible that they only way you’ll ever make a few sales using them is if you actually pay for advertising on TOP of using their horrible tools.
This is really all about psychology. Again, the Fake Gurus know the "Magical Mystical Success Tools" they sell you are junk and won’t work. But they also know that if you use paid advertising, you will make a few sales (with a TOTALLY DIFFERENT marketing method…called paid advertising). If you start to make a few sales, then you don't realize that the "Magical Mystical Success Tools" are junk because hey, you made a few sales while you were using those tools (AND, don’t forget, paid advertising!).
Psychologically they know that those FEW sales will make you feel that the junk tools DO work, but for some mysterious reason you’re not making enough sales. They'll blame that on you, telling you that you need to buy more of their tools.
See, if you ever complain to the Fake Gurus about their horrible tools, they can say, “Well, since you made a few sales, our "Twenty Thousand Dollar Cornucopia Of Excellent Tools At Amazing Prices DID work, you’re just not using them right. So since you're such a dumb-ass, you need to buy our Supersized Marketing Incredo-Pac; that’s only another ten thousand dollars and the few sales you’ve made so far will multiply like rabbits on an island that only rabbits live on!” (Which, of course, they won’t. Rabbits never live on islands that only rabbits live on).
See how that works? The few sales you’ll make with paid ads (which, by the way, will cost you more than you earn in profits!) will give you a false IMPRESSION (that’s a paid advertising joke…get it?) that the horrible tools work, then they tell you that you just need to buy more horrible tools to amp it up into more sales.
As a home-based business owner with a limited budget and a pile of junk tools and information that frankly just suck, using paid advertising is like buying a new car, and then having to buy another new car to push the first new car with, because the first new car doesn’t run.
Would you ever do that? Of course not. You wouldn’t buy the first car if it needed another car to push it because it doesn’t run.
I know what you’re thinking (or at least I’m taking a reasonably educated guess). I’m guessing that you’re thinking “Hey, all those big box stores use paid advertising. Paid advertising is all over TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, bus stop benches AND the internet! So how can paid advertising be so bad??”
(If you weren’t thinking that, you are NOW, right?!)
Okay, let’s talk about the difference between big companies who have hundreds of millions of dollars to flood consumer markets with tons of advertising, and small home-based businesses that don’t have anywhere near that kind of money.
There, we just talked about the difference.
Small home-based businesses can’t afford to blanket half the known universe with paid advertising. It’s not cost-effective, at least not when you’re starting out. You CAN make it work LATER, but only after your natural ranking gives Google Analytics enough data to chew on to tell you what your best keywords are.
So how, then, is YOUR web site supposed to rise to the top of a search engine, or ever be found ANYWHERE in a search engine against all those big companies that have a gazillion dollars set aside just for lunch money? Well first, let’s dispel a myth here. Many people have been told that your web site ranking gets better and better when you pay the search engines more and more money for advertising.
FALSE. Flat out, unequivocally, never-ever-happens FALSE. You CANNOT buy your way to the top of a search engine, period.
So how do you get your web site to outrank all those big-box stores? Yes, it most certainly can be done. You just have to learn a thing or three.
THE SEARCH ENGINES NOW RANK SITES BASED ON AUTHORITY
In the covered-wagon days of the internet, you could have a web site that had tons of different pages on it, EACH of those pages selling completely different things. That was back when the search engines were much simpler. They only understood nouns. Being simple and basic as they were, they used to rank web pages on each page’s individual merit.
In those days, if AllTheStuffYouNeed.com’s web site had the word “Squeegee” on their Squeegee sales page 24 times, and BobsCratesOfVariousStufs.com’s Squeegee page had the word “Squeegee” on it’s Squeegee sales page 36 times, BobsCratesOfVariousStufs.com WINS. YOU GO, Bob!
Yes, of course, it wasn’t quite that simple. But that was a lot of how ranking worked back then.
Now, (starting with Google’s big ‘Panda Update’ in 2011), search engines are much more sophisticated. They understand Nouns, Verbs, Pronouns, Adjectives and lots of other word-types that you probably forgot about ten minutes after you got out of school. I know I did. They also look at fussy little things like Grammar and Syntax.
The most important part is that they now look at an entire web site as a whole, not just as a loose collection of individual pages.
When a web site is a serious source of authority for one thing and one thing only, Google looks at that web site with unabashed adoration in it’s googly little eyes. It LOVES that web site. It writes that web site poetry, sends it flowers, and hopes it can take that site out to dinner and a movie on Friday night. Okay, I know I got a bit carried away…but I think I made the point.
So the way Google operates NOW, a web site that is a focused source of authority on one subjct will ALWAYS naturally rank very well in the search engines.
Big-box store web sites and sites like Amazon and eBay have horribly scattered authority. They have tens of thousands of product pages that are not related to one another as one subject, and cannot rank well in a search engine on their own.
So what is a huge site or big-box store to do? Hmmm…how about paid advertising?
Big-box stores NEED paid advertising. And I’m not just talking about paid advertising online. I mean paid advertising everywhere. Those big companies would come to your house and paint an ad on your cat if they thought they could get away with it. They need physical-world mass-media advertising because they need their scatter-shot web sites to already be know to consumers ahead of time, so that consumers go there directly when they shop online.
SO THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF SUCCESSFUL SITES.
1. Sites that are big-box stores like Home Depot and Target, and bargain-hunting destinations like eBay and Amazon. They pay for advertising all over the place, online and in the physical world. They can’t rank well NATURALLY because their pages are so scattered among so many subjects that Google just can’t get an authority handle on them. But their paid advertising causes lots of people to go directly to those sites without ever using a search engine, and that’s what they need.
2. Sites that are small, home-based, very tightly niched sources of authority for one subject, and one subject only. When built and marketed properly, those sites can easily out-rank the big-box stores and mega-bargain stores all day long.
SO WHY DON’T YOU SEE THOSE SMALL SITES AT THE TOP OF THE SEARCH ENGINES ALL THE TIME?
If what I just told you is true, how come you see so many big-box stores (and Ama-bay) at the top of the search engine results so often? It’s simple, really. Very few people know how to create real authority with a search engine. When a search engine can’t find a site with real, focused authority in a given search, it defaults to other ranking factors like size of the site, how long it’s been out there, how many links, etc.
Why don’t more people know how to do that? That’s simple, too. If more people knew how to actually market a site with authority to a search engine, they wouldn’t need Fake Guru's horrible tools and systems. And the Fake Gurus' horrible tools and systems are a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. That’s right, I said the B word.
Most of those lousy fake marketers out there work together in some form or another, whether it’s passing your personal information around like a bowl of potato chips at a company picnic or getting together to build new garbage info-products like rusty sculptures at a junkyard art festival. They’re part of an extended fat-cat conglomerate of liars and thieves who work with each other to prevent you from finding out the truth.
If everybody knew the TRUTH about online marketing, the bad guys would be out of business would and have to go back to living in their parents’ basements munching Cheetos and watching Seinfeld reruns all day.
THE TRUTH IS that while paid advertising does have a place in business, that place is not in your home-based ECommerce start-up. That means Google Adwords, it means Facebook advertising, all of it.
So when is paid advertising useful to a home-based business?
When you learn how to market properly, your site will rise in the search engine rankings naturally and begin to make sales. As it does, you monitor your site’s metrics (read that "use Google Analytics"). After your business begins running well based on authority, your analytics will tell you what your top one or two keywords actually are.
Then, if you choose to, you can put a little bit of your profits into a very SMALL, TARGETED ad campaign on just that best keyword at first. When that begins to work (which it will), you can use some of those profits to expand that campaign to other keywords that your site metrics have already told you are working for you.
Then again, if you really learn how to market, you’ll never need to use paid advertising if you don’t want to.
SO, IN SUMMARY:
1. For a home-based online startup, paid advertising is too expensive, ineffective (when you don’t have site metrics) and used as a tool to fool you into thinking that the Fake Guru tools are actually working.
2. Web sites rank in the search engines when they are authoritative about one subject only, which means niching tightly into a single product line and learning how to properly market it.
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