I’ve read and heard so many versions of marketing “truth” online that I can’t imagine what it feels like for someone outside the industry. Let me start by saying, not everything you read on the internet is true. Not every blogger is an expert in their field, not every website with the word “marketing” in it is qualified to give marketing advice, and just because you’ve heard it more than once, that doesn’t mean it’s true.

Let’s shake off some of the dead weight out there and debunk these five common marketing myths… 

1. Traffic = Sales

People will throw around the term traffic like it’s gold. They want to get traffic to their site because they think that will result in more sales. That’s a myth.

Not all traffic is created equal. If you’re not generating quality traffic, you’re not going to see sales. Visitors are just going to bounce from your landing pages, without buying anything and probably without even browsing.

Your goal should not be to get as many visitors to your website as possible. A better, and more profitable, goal is to obtain subscribers. Subscribers are the visitors that convert from being “just traffic” to maybe someone that signs up for your newsletter or likes you on Facebook. By securing subscribers, you are improving the chance of converting that traffic to customers by adding them to your sales funnel. You also have the ability to market to that individual multiple times in the future via email marketing, possibly getting more than one sale.

Don’t be mystified when someone tells you that your website is seeing great traffic. If that traffic isn’t converting to leads, it’s not as exciting as it sounds.

2. You Don’t Need Marketing

“Our product sells itself.” That’s a great line, but a myth nonetheless. I’m not saying that somewhere there’s not an old mom and pop pizza shop that has been selling great pizza to their community without fail, or any marketing, for decades. That pizza shop probably does exist. But they have two things in their favor: the long game and word of mouth. Your product or service might be great, but it will never reach its potential or grow at a profitable rate without digital marketing.

Today’s marketplace is much different than it was even a decade ago. Not all communities are tight-knit. For example, some people will drive ten minutes to get pizza even if there is a great shop down the block. We live in a technology-driven world where people look more to their phones for the best information than the world around them. In other words, you might have a better chance converting your neighbor with a geo-targeted PPC ad than from them just driving past your store everyday.

3. More Is More

There was once a belief that any form of exposure was good when it came to search. Now we know that is a myth and not all digital marketing is created equal. Just like more traffic doesn’t necessarily equal good traffic, more clicks, backlinks and content doesn’t necessarily equal higher search rankings.

With the new search engine algorithms, quality trumps quantity. A great example that helps to debunk this myth is SEO-Hacker.com. Their site reached a PageRank of 5 with just 20,000 inbound links, when it was thought 100,000 to 1,000,000 were needed. They achieved this success by following a strategy that focused on quality, not quantity, proving more is not always more.

4. Digital Marketing Is Easy

There’s no doubt people have conquered digital marketing themselves. Take enough e-courses, read enough books, and follow enough blogs and you very well could learn how to tackle digital marketing on your own. But it won’t be easy.

Like any integral part of business, digital marketing requires strategy, dedication, money and manpower. A lot of work goes into it, and the immediate results are often disappointing. A good digital marketer will analyze and optimize their strategy as they go along to ensure that the efforts are yielding results.

If you’re going to attempt digital marketing in-house, make sure you hire a professional that has the knowledge and expertise to get you a return. If you don’t have the budget to bring on someone full-time, consider outsourcing the work to an agency with a proven track record.

5. Digital Marketing Is Free

This is a great myth, and segue from #4. No, like all other forms of marketing digital is not free. However, the belief that it is plays a big part in people trying to do it themselves. When they find out upfront cost and the uncertain ROI, they realize digital marketing is not only not free but much more intricate than they imagined.

Digital marketing costs money. How much will vary depending on the strategy and marketers working on your campaign, but it will never be free.

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