The Ten Golden Rules of Online Marketing – By Jay Berkowitz

by FeedFront Staff on August 6, 2009

An Excerpt from Chapter 1: Golden Rule #1 – There are No Rules
When I sat down with Shari McConahay at Annie’s Costumes for our first business meeting, she confessed to me that she was a little confused by Internet marketing.

“We tried banner advertising and we got some sales, but we’re not sure how well it worked,” she said. “We want to try email marketing and I keep hearing that search engine marketing is the only way to go. Another expert told me that affiliate marketing is the only strategy for us. I just don’t know what the answer is.”

I explained, that in my experience with Internet marketing, there is no perfect answer for any one website, and sometimes, one strategy that works well for six months may start to slip after a couple of months. This is the genesis for Golden Rule #1 – There are no rules.

I told Shari that traditional offline advertisers follow a set of “rules” or conventions. They do research to determine consumer wants and needs. Sometimes they even show consumers ideas for ads in focus groups, and ask them how they would react to the ads if they saw them on TV. Then they take the consumer feedback, modify the strategies and the creative and produce the ads. On the internet it is fast and inexpensive to test different ads, different offers and different types of advertising.

In 2002, I joined an aspiring dot-com company called eDiets, following my experience marketing big brand websites, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Sprint. eDiets didn’t sell any physical products. When a customer signed up for an eDiets diet, they received online meal plans, menus, shopping lists and
expert advice through the computer.

At the time, the eDiets sign-up was six pages long. We tested a short three page sign up with current, fashionable feminine colors. We ran what is called an A:B Test for about one week: half of the people who came to eDiets saw the existing six-page sign up (version A) and half of the visitors were presented with the new softer colors and resulting three-page sign up (version B). I asked Shari which version she thought ‘won’ in the test, that is which version signed up a higher percentage of visitors as customers. She said “The shorter, three page test with more feminine colors won, didn’t it?”

I explained, “Much to my surprise, my three-page test didn’t deliver more sales, in fact, the old six page, darker colored sign-up process was about 10 percent more effective than the new test.” However, one page on the new three-page sign up was very effective in convincing people to sign up for our free eNewsletter. Our next step was to develop a new version of the six step sign-up process with a revised eNewsletter sign-up page. The new version generated more sales and more eNewsletter sign ups.

Jay Berkowitz is an author, keynote speaker, blogger, podcaster and the founder of an Internet marketing agency. You can find links to all his stuff at

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Charles August 6, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Yes, there's no substitute for testing everything. This is a great example. Colors, fonts, headlines, and the list goes on and on.

Thanks for getting the word out.

molamola August 8, 2009 at 5:29 am

Didn’t understood the last part :s could you explain better please?

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