The 7 Marketing Skunks

by Paul Wilson


My friend Brenda sent me this picture of her nieces. Brenda’s sister wrote the following about the picture: “So there I was . . . just relaxing in front of the T.V. When the kids yelled, ‘Hey Mom, come see the kittens.'”

Baby Skunks

Now if this isn’t a picture made for forwarded emails I don’t know what is. I have no doubt that this picture will still be circulating long after these girls are grown.

Editor’s Update: After doing a little research I found this picture on another website. In comparing these two pictures I noticed two things: 1) It is the exact same picture but in my picture there are more skunks; 2) The picture I received from my friend was rather large and I could see that the supposed skunk being held by the little girls had a kitten’s tail, not a skunks. Therefore, I must conclude that this is a photoshopped picture. Nonetheless, I think that the picture serves as a great demonstration for this post.

Believe it or not, the picture got me thinking about Internet marketing. Here you have two innocent girls believing they are holding and playing with kittens. Their naivety and innocence misleads them from the truth. This same mentality exists with those new to the world of marketing on the web.

I have met several people who spent thousands of dollars thinking they were getting the secret sauce to Internet marketing. Instead all they got was a smelly skunk masquerading as a benign kitten. So, below I’ve decided to show the skunks for who they really:

Skunk 1: Web design and programming is expensive

This skunk usually gets most newbies. They feel that they need to spend thousands of dollars to have their website created or logo designed. Often people don’t know about resources which offer better quality for a fraction of the cost of what the skunks charge. Here are some websites I recommend:

Skunk 2: Reading an eBook will bring you untold wealth.

It seems that there is a foul smell found on Internet that comes from all the self proclaimed marketing gurus/millionaires. Which of course, everyone of them provide their do-not-tell secrets to you in the form of an ebook. For $47.97 you can work at home making millions of dollars by marketing your website to billions of people. Believe me people, when I say this is a crock. Granted there are decent ebooks out there teaching valuable information on Internet marketing, but I firmly believe you will find equal, if not more valuable information, in the blogosphere. Case in point, my favorite blog, in my opinion provides more detailed information on being profitable with internet marketing than any ebook I have ever read. I recently found a great site called, that shows just how foul of a smell over-hyped ebooks are.

Skunk 3: If you build it they will come

In the 1849 gold rush many people had the illusion that they only needed to get to California to lay their claim on the gold. This type of thinking has persisted into the Internet. So many people build their website or “make it to California” but don’t realize/want to do the work to get the gold. This skunk is so prevalent I feel many of us marketers sound like a broken record continually repeating the message of the importance of marketing. Building a website is only your first step in a long, long journey. We should change the Field of Dreams quote to say: “If you build it, than roll-up your sleeves and start working in getting them to come.”

Skunk 4: With a little marketing your website is going to be the next Google.

Folks, let’s face it, web marketing is not going to turn your idea into the next Google. No, instead you are going to need a lot of marketing, capital, people, time, and sometimes just plain dumb luck. Internet marketing is a valuable tool to help you grow your web dream, but there is something more important, and that is trust. Janet, my business partner, wrote a great post on the value of building trust. If your users don’t trust you, all the marketing in the world won’t help.

Skunk 5: There is a Holy Grail to web marketing.

Good Internet marketing is a combination of many things. In my beginning years on the web I always tried to find the Holy Grail in marketing. Some trick or tactic that I only had to do once and I would receive massive amounts of traffic. I spent a lot of money on this quest and ultimately learned that it is a myth. Be weary of the skunks who try to convince you otherwise. It’s a nice sentiment but very far from the truth.

Skunk 6: You need to implement everything in order for you to receive the most amount of traffic.

A lot of people get overwhelmed about all the things you need to do to be good at Internet marketing. However, there’s a growing trend in the blogosphere that I really like. It’s the thirty day challenge, and I believe Steve Pavlina‘s blog is what made this concept really popular. Basically, you break down your end result goal—like ranking well—into thirty small attainable tasks. Then everyday for 30 days you work towards it. You can definitely do this same thing on a larger scale. Decide on what your marketing goals are and then break them down. Plan every day to do at least one thing towards this goal. I have a friend who faithfully did this and he now ranks in several top five spots in google for all the keywords he was trying to rank for. Persistence and consistency truly are the keys to being a successful marketer.

Skunk 7: You need an Internet marketing consultant.

For the sake of my profession I must state that Internet marketing consultants have their place. You cannot be the best at everything. Yet, if you are a boot strapping entrepreneur you can get your website to rank well and drive the needed traffic on your own. Word to the wise, it does take time, both learning and implementing, but in the end you can do it without using us fancy-pants consultants. To get you started I would recommend that you read the Hubspot blog. I’ve spoken with these guys and they really do know what they are talking about (also, check out their software it’s pretty cool). If you want to ignore my advice about ebooks than I would recommend Aaron Wall’s SEO Book. Aaron truly is a guru in this area—his book is good, but also expensive (but his blog is free).

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