In this article:
o Why the Internet will at least DOUBLE in size in the next four years …
o Why that’s not necessarily a “good” thing for Web marketers …
o 3 “Waking Nightmares” stalking Internet marketers now …
o The one missing ingredient that can easily multiply the response to most Web promotions today …
o A one-second IQ test for web marketers …
o And much, MUCH MORE!
Dear Business Builder,
Internet gurus – especially the hypesters who want to sell you a book on “How to Make a Gazillion Bucks by Noon Tomorrow on The ‘Net” — will tell you that the Web is a god-send for anyone looking to get rich quick. They shout about how hundreds of millions of people browse the Web and read their email every day – and that thousands of them are just dying to buy a product just the one you’re selling.
Well, there’s no doubt that the World Wide Web is huge. According to the CIA World Factbook, 186 million Americans — roughly 63% of the U.S. population – now have Web access. Throw in the rest of the English-speaking world — and millions more around the globe who are fluent in our language – it’s a pretty good bet that well over 300 million consumers and business people can read and respond to your English-language sales messages.
300 million prospects not enough for you? Ok …
o If you translate your email blasts and websites into Spanish, you’ll pick up about 100 million more prospects in the U.S., Mexico, Central America, South America and of course, in Spain …
o Add French, German, Russian and Portuguese sales messages and you can talk to 124 million more future customers …
o And if you can figure out a way to make your sales messages readable to Web nerds in China and India, you’ll pick up another 136 million prospective customers …
That’s 660 million prospects in all — and still, the Web is just getting warmed up …
2 Billion Web Users by 2010
Altogether, about ONE BILLION people on the planet have Web access at this very moment: That’s one out of every 6.5 human beings alive today.
In 2005, about 136 million new folks joined the Internet community for the first time. That’s 258 new Web users every minute … more than 15,000 per hour … and more than 372,000 per day, 365 days a year.
At that rate, the Internet will DOUBLE AGAIN – to about 2 billion users — in the next 4 years! And even that “2-billion-by-2010” number may prove to be a gross misunderestimation (yes, I do know that’s not a real word).
The wildest wild cards? China and India: Nearly half of the world’s population lives in those two countries – about 3 billion souls. And so far, only about 5% of those folks have found their way to the ‘Net.
If you asked a roomful of 100 Chinese and Indian folks, “How many of you use the Internet?” – well, my guess is that almost nobody would understand a word you said – because they all speak Chinese and … uh … Indian or something. But even if you went the extra mile and asked them in their native tongues, only about 5 of them would stand and be counted.
Ask a roomful of 100 Americans the same question, and 63 of them would jump to their feet. The way I figure it, that’s only slightly less than would jump up if you’d asked, “Who wants free beer?”
My point is, Internet use is 12 times greater per capita in the U.S. than in China and India. But that’s changing – and FAST.
See, when it comes to economic growth, China and India are punking us – big time.
Here in the good old U.S. of A., our economy is expanding at the sedate, “civilized” rate of about 3.8% per year. But India’s economy is growing nearly TWO TIMES FASTER … and China’s is exploding by double digits – nearly THREE TIMES FASTER. That means every day of the year, millions of Chinese and Indians are packing their napsacks … leaving the farm for the big city … getting jobs … opening bank accounts … becoming consumers … and discovering the incomparable joys of something called “disposable income.” And every day, millions of these new consumers are using a part of their newfound disposable income to join the Internet community.
The thing is, the combined population of China and India is more than TEN TIMES LARGER than ours is – so …
o When per-capita internet use in China and India reaches just 25% of what it is in America, they’ll have 472 MILLION users online – nearly half as many surfers as exist in the entire world today.
o When it hits 50%, they’ll have 945 MILLION consumers online – almost equaling today’s entire Internet community.
o And when they finally catch up with us – when 65% of the people in these countries finally join the World Wide Web — there will be a staggering 1.8 BILLION of them on the ‘Net.
That’s nearly DOUBLE the number of internet users in the entire world today!
So when folks tell you that the number of consumers on the Web is huge and getting huger – and that any self-respecting business owner, marketing exec and direct response copywriter would be certifiably insane not to make the web-based marketing a big, BIG priority – they are NOT blowing smoke up your skirt. Especially since reaching those hundreds of millions of prospective clients on the Web is unbelievably cheap …
Just like direct mail – but with no printing or postage costs!
Twenty years ago, if you had told me that one day, I’d be able to reach all the prospective customers I wanted to without paying a penny in printing, postage or letter shop fees … and without paying through the nose for print space or TV and radio time … I would have probably smiled and backed away from you v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.
I would have instantly pegged you as a raving lunatic. But I would have been wrong. Thanks to the Internet, you actually can reach millions of prospects without spending a dime on any of those things – and that’s huge …
When I write a direct mail package, I know my client is going to have to cough up an average of $550 to mail it to every 1,000 prospects in his universe. That’s $55,000 to send it to 100,000 potential customers … and $550,000 to send it to 1 million prospective customers. On the web, you can post a website that millions will see for five hundred bucks – and then blast a million e-mails to drive folks to your site for next to nothing!
So yeah – the Internet is huge and cheap, just like the hypesters say it is.
And yes, marketing products and services on the ‘Net can make you a bundle. I know lots of Internet marketers who make tens of millions – even a hundred million or more – every year on their web promotions.
But there is just a little bit more to it than that …
What Internet Hypesters Don’t Tell You
Wouldn’t it be great if the guys trying to sell you ridiculously expensive books, courses and seminars on Internet Marketing were right? I mean – how great would it be if all you had to do was toss a site up on the ‘Net, send out a bunch of e-mails for free or nearly free and then go goof off on the beach while the Web filled your bank account to overflowing for you?
Unfortunately it’s not quite that easy. Before you can become the world’s next Internet mogul, you’d better get used to dealing with the three waking nightmares that plague more and more internet marketers every day …
Nightmare #1 — Delivery Disasters:
Because direct mail, print, and TV and radio advertising cost serious money, marketers are extremely careful to send solicitations ONLY to people who have demonstrated that they are ready, willing and able to buy the product or service being promoted.
Not so on the web: The fact that e-mail marketing is cheap — or, once you own your own blasting software and hardware, even free — has filled our e-mail boxes with far more junk mail each day than the U.S. Postal Service ever delivered in a week.
As a result, all the major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) now screen your mail and block as much of the obvious spam as they can. And if you’ve bought a new computer or upgraded your software in the last few years, it’s a good bet that your machine is blocking even more. Nevertheless, we all still get dozens of junk e-mails every day – and at the same time, these automated spam filters are often guilty of throwing out the mail we want along with the junk!
I, for example, sometimes have trouble getting an issue of THE TOTAL PACKAGE to people who have asked to receive it – even after my issue has passed our own spam-checking programs with flying colors. Heck. I’ve even had personal e-mails from good friends blocked or re-directed to my junk e-mail folder!
Needless to say, if you’re marketing a product on the Web, this kind of wildly erratic delivery can KILL the response to your promotions.
Nightmare #2 – The Competitive Challenge:
Remember when Amazon was the ONLY major bookseller online? Google the word “books” now, and you’ll get 1.28 BILLION hits!
Remember when eBay was the only major on-line auction? Google that word now, and you’ll get 81.3 million hits!
Remember When Yahoo was the only major search engine? Type “search engine” into a search engine today and you’ll get 354 million hits!
I remember when I could search for “Copywriting” and see only a handful of hits. These days, I get 3.68 million – and another 684 million for “marketing.” Plus “weight loss” gets 70.3 million hits … “hair loss” gives you 30.8 million hits … “erection?” 8.73 million hits … “real estate:” 325 million hits … even “rutabaga” gets 426,000 hits!
Sure – you can spend a fortune on search engine optimization and Pay-Per-Click advertising on Google and the others – or maybe spend big bucks in other media to send people to your site. If you’re very good and very lucky, your prospective customers might find you on, oh let’s say … the first five or ten pages that get served up.
The point is, the days when Internet marketing was cheap or even free are gone forever. The cost of getting your site noticed is rising – and will only get costlier as the number of websites on the ‘Net continues to explode in the years ahead.
Nightmare #3 — The Credibility Catastrophe:
To me, this is the biggie – the monster that, unless some computer geek somewhere has a flash of inspiration and SOON — has the power to forever KILL the Internet as a marketing tool.
See, all direct mail, print, TV and radio advertising in this country is closely regulated by the Federal Trade Commission as well as other government agencies. When they catch someone lying cheating or stealing (or even “misleading”), the regulators can shut them down in a heartbeat.
Not so with the Internet. It doesn’t give a flying fig what regulators or politicians say or do. If Washington proclaims something they’re doing is illegal, they can just pull up stakes and move to another country where the laws are more lenient, or the officials more bribable, or both. And so, the Internet has become the sleaziest of all the channels available to marketers – with armies of scam artists filling your email box with fraudulent promotions and other swindles.
o Like the jerk whose emails look exactly like an official communication from an eBay member, asking you to “sign in” – provide your user name and password – to answer a question. Once you do, he has full access to your account, enabling him to re-route money due you to him!
o Or like the creeps that put out official-looking emails from Amazon.Com telling you that your credit card is no longer valid and asking you to “log in” and give them a new one. Fall for that one, and you can bet someone else will be living the high life on your money in no time flat!
o And like the hoards of swindlers who fill your inbox with unsolicited emails swearing that they can make your bank account, your hair and your male member grow while making your waistline shrink.
Listen to any of those swindlers, and you might as well flush your paychecks down the toilet along with the very, very expensive urine you’ll be producing!
No wonder more and more consumers only believe only about half of what they see on websites — and nothing that they read in their e-mail boxes! Needless to say, this NOT a good thing for honest marketers.
BOTTOM LINE: With spam filters and other problems depressing e-mail delivery rates … with skyrocketing competition on the web lowering website traffic … and with rising skepticism among consumers hammering readership rates, click-thru rates and conversion rates …
… the cost of making internet sales is rising and many promotions – even ones that once brought big bucks to marketers – are flagging. In short …
The Web is Growing UP; It’s Time Web Marketers Did Too!
Frankly, most web marketers have been spoiled rotten. Sorry guys, but you know it’s true! For more than a decade now, the fact that your medium was brand-new and your prospects were wide-eyed has allowed you to get rich without ever having to think much about the strength or weakness of your internet sales copy.
So, you’ve written the copy yourself – or cheaped out by hiring neophytes to write for you. And the fact is, the copy in 99% of the e-mails you blast and 99% of the websites you build is so weak, it would have long ago sent any direct response mail, TV or radio marketer into bankruptcy.
Now, with the Internet maturing and becoming more competitive … with the costs associated with driving prospects to websites rising … and with the average ‘Net consumer growing older, wiser and more skeptical – amateur night is over. Suddenly, many web marketers are beginning to find themselves in the same boat as their peers who use other advertising media – desperately searching for ways to boost response.
This simple fact of life presents a truly dazzling opportunity for every business owner, marketing exec and copywriter reading this!
The other day, I was studying a series of landing pages hosted by one of the nation’s most successful Internet marketing companies. Now this company has it all. It has hundreds of wonderful employees who are expert in all the nuts and bolts of Web marketing. One word from the Prez, and the company’s web division can conceive a new website before 10:00 AM … have it written by lunch … and have it designed, programmed and making sales by quitting time.
In short, the owners have built a Ferrari of a company — with all the high tech talent and infrastructure they need to dominate their industry … But instead of paying for high-octane fuel – powerfully compelling sales copy created by proven professionals — they’re pouring cheap kerosene into the gas tank! Fact is, if they ever try sending their internet sales copy out via snail mail, they’ll be lucky to recoup 10% of the money they spend on postage!
Nevertheless, on the low-cost Web, the company’s lousy copy generates nearly $100 million a year in sales – and they’re laughing all the way to the bank.
The fact that they’re getting rich doesn’t mean that they’re smart. To the contrary: It’s proof positive that ignorance truly is bliss. Because if their copy didn’t suck, they’d be making $1 billion a year in internet sales instead of a lousy $100 million. And since everything else is already in place, that 1,000% increase in sales could happen in the twinkling of an eye.
Unfortunately though, the company’s copy will probably continue to suck – and the owners will continue leaving 90% of their sales on the table – because they just can’t quite bring themselves pay a top copywriter a commission on the increased sales he or she could produce for them.
And so in hopes of helping any reluctant web marketers reading this to see the error of your ways, allow me to offer this simple, one-second IQ test …
What would YOU Rather Have? 100% of $100 Million? … Or 90% of $1 BILLION?
If you said, “100% of $100 million,” you may as well stop reading this now, go get your resume in order and prepare to go to work for one of your competitors. Because your company is about to get its head handed to it.
But if you instantly recognized that paying a top copywriter 10% of sales and settling for 90% of the $1 billion stronger copy could bring you might be a smart move … because it WOULD MAKE YOU NINE TIMES RICHER, then do this:
- Go to the head of the class, and …
- Call one. NOW!
And if you’re a copywriter looking for a way to make big bucks fast, do this …
Spend a day surfing the web. Find a site that’s obviously making money, but the copy is stinking up the room. Call ’em up and tell them you’ll multiply their sales in 90 days or less – and all you want is 10% of what you produce for them or better yet, 20% of the increase in net revenues you generate.
That’s what I’m doing … I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
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