Internet Marketing Success: Why Learning How to Succeed Makes You Fail More

by Peter Darko Peter Darko

Wait, what? Isn’t learning supposed to make you more successful? How can learning about internet marketing make you fail more in the same area?

It’s all about SPECIALIZATION instead of GENERALIZATION. Let me explain.

The “Knowledge is Power” Cult

You’ve been told this quote since elementary school: Learn, because knowledge is power. But what is knowledge? How do you DEFINE knowledge?

In most public schools, they define “knowledge” by theories/facts you usually memorize and then recall them on tests. Is that what you call power?

Or let’s take a typical internet marketing course. The purpose of each course is to teach you how to be successful and make more money. Knowledge is power! But what’s the knowledge they try to convey? It’s usually very vague information from different areas that make no sense. Is this what you call power? In order to explain all of this, I’ll try to make one analogy:

What Internet Marketing and Web Design Have in Common

They are both vague terms. Why is that the case? Because both, internet marketing and web design, are a SET OF ACTIVITIES. If you want to learn web design, you need to learn several things like:

– Learning HTML
– Learning CSS
– Learning Java Script
– Learning Photoshop
– Learning usability

and so on. Wikipedia defines web design as:

“…a broad term used to encompass the way that content (usually hyperlinks and hypermedia) that are delivered to the end-user through the World Wide Web, using a web browser or other web-enabled software is displayed.”
The reason why you don’t see a lot of ‘teach yourself web design’ courses (compared to “teach yourself HTML/CSS) is because NOBODY is able to explain all the parts of web design as a whole. Actually, nobody can DEFINE web design with precision.

What does this has to do with internet marketing?

Internet marketing is defined as “the marketing of products and services over the Internet.” But what is marketing? “Marketing is the process of performing market research, selling products and/or services to customers and promoting them via advertising to further enhance sales”. That’s what Wikipedia says.

If you type “define: internet marketing” into Google you should get a whole bunch of different definitions:

This is the root problem of all internet marketing courses. If nobody can clearly define internet marketing, how can then someone teach it? Well, what most ‘teachers’ in internet marketing do is they invent their own definition and stick by it.
Internet marketing (I’ve been trying to make money online for over 3 years now so I probably know) consists of 3 primary parts:

– Content (if you have a free website, content = free articles, if you sell something content = some kind of product like an e-book or multimedia course, for services it’s the stuff you provide)

– Promotion (getting free traffic via various sites or/and SEO-Search Engine Optimization, getting paid traffic via various sources like PPC/PPV)

– Monetization (making money via what you sell, if you sell products the money-making part is obvious, if you have a website you can monetize via affiliate marketing and/or Adsense)

Now, tell me someone who is able to teach ALL OF these parts in 1 course! Even the best courses on ‘internet marketing’ are poor because they can’t possibly cover all of these parts at once! It’s like someone trying to cover all parts of web design in a 200-page book or a multimedia course.

Solution: Learn What Internet Marketing Consists Of and Learn The Parts SEPARATELY

This has been the key to my success in this area, honestly. If I wanted to teach myself SEO, I would go to experts that teach ONLY that area like SeoMoz, SEOBook or SearchEngineLand. If I wanted to teach myself conversion rate optimization, I would go to guys like MarketingExperiments. Or for analytics, that would be Avinash Kaushik.

But this isn’t enough. There are a lot of self-proclaimed experts on SEO/PPC/conversion rate optimization. The way to separate the best from the rest is to ALWAYS ask for EVIDENCE of their claims. For example, SEOMoz is the one of the rare companies who has their own index of the web (something like what Google has, just much smaller). What SEOmoz tries to do all the time is to match their index to Google’s own database. That’s the way they test whether a particular factor (like putting your keyword in H1) is useful or not. Evidence trumps hype any time of the day.

Guest post by Peter Darko. Want to learn something different? I write on the topic on people search. My latest articles covers the most popular free people search engines online and the reason why they’re useful. If you want to find long-lost friend/relative then check this out.