If you’ve spent any time in the trenches of internet marketing over the past few years, you know precisely what I’m talking about: Those out-of-the-park grand slams are fewer and farther between these days. Once upon a time, you could blast an offer – almost any offer – to your customer file or even ice-cold prospect names, then sit back and watch an avalanche of orders come pouring in. The money was amazing: When one of my clients e-mailed a single note to his 35,000 customers back in the mid-1990s, he raked in $12 million in less than a week, My Amend.
Ah … the GOOD old days!
Today, that client would kill to get those kinds of results. Like most internet marketers today, he’s working harder and profiting less. Much less.
Why is web marketing getting so much tougher?
It should be obvious: When web-based marketing was new – and still relatively rare – just about every one of your prospects and customers read every word of every promotion you sent them. But these days, even e-mailed sales messages I want to receive are lost among the scores of slimy junk messages that slither into my inbox (while I wrote the above sentence, e-mails from TWO different Viagra companies arrived. No kidding!).
And while all that junk is still finding its way through, overly aggressive spam filters are not only blocking promotional e-mails I’ve asked to receive – they’re even trashing non-commercial e-mails to and from my family, friends and clients! And even all that’s just the tip of the iceberg: The entire internet is awash with ads. Try to get a report from Weather.Com, or check the stock market on Big Charts: Pop-ups and pop-unders galore!
“It’s like Deja Vu — all over again!”
— Yogi Berra
It was bound to happen. Since the dawn of time, every new marketing innovation and medium to come down the pike has gone through the same response cycle:
Phase #1 — Advent: A small handful of innovative businesses and marketers discover a new advertising medium or technique that proves to be far superior to traditional methods – advertisers’ return on investment (ROI) skyrockets …
Phase #2 — Proliferation: Hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands of businesses and marketers discover the secret and begin using it — ROI begins to the flag …
Phase #3 — Saturation: The novelty wears off … consumers, besieged by advertising messages, begin tuning out — ROI begins to decline …
Phase #4 — Maturity: With its novelty spent and ROI falling, the once-vastly-superior new medium or technique eventually takes its place as an equal among many in the advertiser’s arsenal.
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