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The how-to of Internet marketing - hype, hearsay and half-truths

What do we know about Internet marketing? If you can believe what the experts out there tell us, practically nothing.

For years now we' ve been inundated with advice from Internet marketing experts of every kind and description. Most seem almost desperate in their attempt to get us to understand that we know nothing at all about what it takes to be successful in regards to marketing on the Internet. From shady SEO people who can barely write a decent sentence, to long letter pitchers who will unveil the holiest of hidden, little known secrets to success for a mere $97, the message is clear - we don't know anything.

If we can believe them, they hold secret knowledge - all the things we don't know. But we can have those secrets - for a price.

It is human nature to believe that there is a magic formula. We want to believe in magic. This type of 'get the secret for a price' approach has been around for a very long time. It's been around for a long time because it works. They know that many of us will fall for that approach. We have always fallen for it.

However, in regards to Internet marketing, there is only one secret. Just one. Here it is:

Give your target audience what they seek.

This is the most basic of marketing ideas. It's fundamental to marketing. But frankly this is one of those ideas that is SO rudimentary that many of us forget what we're really doing and mindlessly ignore it.

Effectively communicating to your audience that you have what they seek is the real 'secret' to any successful marketing approach. And this 'secret' works for anything.

It works for professionals. It works for tradespeople. It works for lawnmowers, diamonds, flowers, books, shoes, food, electronics, housewares, cars - everything. Tell the target audience you have what the target audience seeks and you will be successful.

The only glitch in today's marketing strategy is that Internet search engines now determine what the buying public will be allowed to see, as nearly everything else has fallen out of favor. Therefore you must first convince the search engine that you really have what the public wants to buy. You must appear to be RELEVANT to that group who enters a particular search term or you will likely never get in front of that group. The search engine has become the gatekeeper. They stand between us and the organic searchers. So, how do we convince the search engines to put us in front of our target audience?

Information. Optimized content. Content is information - optimized content is information optimized for a target audience. Optimize your content for that desired slice of the audience and the search engines will be happy to put you in front of them. The primary goal of the search engine is to provide a good experience for the searcher. Therefore a major focus of any search engine is the analysis of the content on your pages. If there is no content, or the content that is there is not optimized for your audience, they can't (or won't) help you.

Marketing means nothing if your target audience never sees you. Everything else - branding, positioning, calls to action, eye flow studies, conversion rates, landing pages and all the rest - it all means nothing if your target audience does not know you exist.

Your target audience won't know you exist unless you FIRST convince the search engines that you have what that audience seeks.

So ask yourself - are you wasting time chasing the next big secret to Internet marketing success? Or are you instead clearly communicating the fact that you have what your target audience seeks though content optimization strategies?

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