Thursday 10 April, 2014

Ethical Internet Marketing – Are You Doing It Right?

Today, internet marketers have been given a bad rap in the world of commerce. This is unfortunate because there are so many out there just trying to make an honest living online. Really, selling online is not so fundamentally different from selling offline. You have some value to offer and you’re simply reaching your customers through the internet rather than a brick and mortar store.

There’s a fine line between ethical online marketing and cheating people and here are some ways to make sure you’re on the right side.

What Value Do You Offer?

The bottom line is value. What value do you offer your customers? Just as if you were setting up an offline store, what unique value do you bring to the market place? How is your offering different from that of the competition? As long as you’re confident that you’re offering something of value, you’re doing things right.

What Color Is Your Hat?

In internet marketing, we use the terms white hat, grey hat and black hat to discuss traffic strategies. White hat means you’re doing things on the up and up. Grey hat means what you’re doing is a little shady and black hat refers to breaking the rules and basically spamming people.

SEO is an essential part of any business’s online strategy, but if you’re trying to game the search engines or if you’re doing something you wouldn’t want to admit to others, you’re probably grey or black hatting. There are plenty of very effective white hat techniques you can use to get people to your site, so don the white hat.

Are You Stealing Content?

When it comes to content marketing, it’s easy to steal content online without fully realizing it. A picture you copied and pasted on your blog may not belong to you. You may be stealing ideas for your content instead of coming up with your own.

There’s a way to ‘steal’ ethically. It’s called content curation. It means sharing content from others, but adding your own two cents. This is the important part. By adding your own opinions and ideas, you make it your own and this also makes it more relevant for your readers.

If you do use someone else’s content, that’s fine, but make sure you give credit where it’s due.

Are You for Real?

There’s a saying that many marketers use – “Fake it till you make it.” What this means is that, although you may not be an internet big shot, act like you are and you’ll foster this image. But if you’re pretending to be something you’re not, this can give you that nagging feeling that you’re doing things wrong.

Things on the net get realer every day. With social media and all of the other ways we have to reach our audience, it’s much better to make a real connection. Be yourself and you’ll find the fans and followers who truly appreciate who you are and what you offer.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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