This is a common question raised by novices in Internet marketing. Actually, it reflects a misunderstanding of the whole concept of Internet marketing. Because of its reliably novel stage, there is a mystique attached to the concept by newcomers and so the question: If I go for Internet marketing, should I abandon traditional marketing (as if one should now exclude the other)?
My simple answer is – why would you? Internet marketing and traditional marketing should complement each other. The Internet simply allows you to extend your reach beyond the current confines of your traditional marketing system such that areas in the world that were previously beyond your reach can now be accessed through the Internet.
To better appreciate that, it would be helpful to know what Internet marketing actually is. In a nutshell, it means putting up a website where you can display the product or service you are selling, and then encouraging people to drop by your site so that you can have buyers or customers. Everything else you will encounter in Internet marketing, including what may initially appear to you as highfalutin terms – like search engine optimization, search engine submission, reciprocal linking, keyword research – are nothing more than part of Internet marketing strategies to bring people to your website so that you will have the chance of making a sale. Without people finding out your website, you will never succeed in Internet marketing.
To better visualize this, consider the example of putting up a store in the physical world. Your store is located in a vast empty prairie. How are you ever make any sale if there are no people around? No matter how good your products or services are, if you have no passers by, if people can not locate you, you’re finished. You have a choice of absolutely shutting down the store – or start an aggressive marketing campaign so that people will get to know about the existence of your store. And if you are successful in enticing them, people may start flocking to you to patronize your merchandise. Your strategies may occasionally include distributing leaflets announcing your store, putting up giant air balloons where from a distance, people will spot you, advertising on mass media, an so on.
The same thing happens to a business website – your virtual store in the Internet. Much like that solitary store in the prairie, all business websites initially exist in a much much vaster cyberspace prairie where no one will find you unless you now adopt and implement the well known Internet marketing strategies. But here’s the exciting part – the analogy between the physical store and the business website (your Internet store) ends when it comes to their probable reach for potential customers. In that example of a physical store, how far can you reach out physically to attract customers? Realistically, even with a massive advertising campaign, you will most likely attract only people who are living within your immediate locality. Maybe a radius of fifty kilometers is good enough. Beyond that distance, people will find it impractical to still go to your store to buy anything. But not so in the Internet marketing model. You can be in the middle of the Sahara but your website can be found and access by anyone all over the world where you have Internet connection and where people will need your product or service! That’s how massive you can get in Internet marketing!
Now, going back to the question – should you then abandon traditional marketing? That question sounds to me like coming from someone who’s using a cellphone for the first time and who, in excitement about the power of the new gadget requests – will I now abandon face to face encounters and just talk with everyone through my cellphone? Of course not! Use your cellphone to get in touch with people who are not physically in your vicinity. But for people who are around you, there is nothing wrong with talking with them directly in person. In fact, that might even be preferred.
Instead of abandoning one system in favor of another, I suggest you combine Internet marketing with your traditional marketing skills. You could build an awesome marketing network that way!