Online marketing has some spectacular advantages over conventional advertising, for instance, it’s cheaper. You don’t have to worry about the middle-man. What middle man? There ain’t one. You can use it to see who wants your product, how much of it want, or indeed if they want any at all! And you can count your customers, build trust with them and reach them with the click of a mouse.

BUT! (Isn’t there always one of those irritating things?) Online marketing has its problems.

Once you have a client, learning how to keep them is a challenge. The competition is fierce out there so you need to pinpoint just who is likely to be interested in your product. Right product – right customer. Don’t offer walking frames to sportsmen, or lingerie to artists.com. It’s not rocket science, dude! (Well, I suppose it is if you home in on them like a guided missile!)

The product being sold may not be what it purports to be, or look nothing like the picture. Because you’re not feeling the texture of the cloth or trying it on that beautiful wedding dress that cost ONLY $10 from Singapore really looks like something that you wouldn’t dry your dishes with. Let the buyer beware! Any reputable company will offer to take the goods back and refund their money, enhancing both their reputation and trustworthiness. Shoddy goods and cash not refunded will get you a reputation for being cheap and nasty. Be that caring company.

Marketing scams: e.g. give me $10,000 and I’ll double/triple/multiply it tenfold! If something looks too good it probably is. This is why it’s important to build up that Mr. Nice guy persona who REALLY has the customers’ interests at heart. Because of issues like these clients may be hesitant about offering up information like bank details, credit card numbers, etc. If you are asked for your bank account’s password you know you’re being scammed! Make sure your security is watertight.

Update! Update! Update! It’s a jungle out there. For every one of your little ventures there are hundreds of others all trying to grab a piece of the action, so keep focused and update your advertising all the time. If I go to a website and exactly the same information is on it when I go there a week later, I go to another website. In this age of mouse-click information, I want instant gratification. And that means now, or preferably yesterday!

Employ the right people. This is more than just hiring someone who knows their way around a computer. I can do that (after a fashion). The right people are those with the kind of skills that can’t be quantified; a talent for coping with change and uncertainty, being a team player, being curious and open to new ideas and being able to take chances, amongst others. Hiring the poor guy who lives down the street because he’s unemployed won’t work.

So if you’re out there in the digital wilderness trying to dodge the scamsters, thieves and Big Guys, good luck, and watch your back!