5 Worst Mistakes You Can Make In IM (internet marketing)

I’ve been in this business a long time, and I’ve failed at IM (internet marketing) more times than I can count. Some of these failures include some of the following:

  • Hosting competitions that no-one enters.
  • Writing posts that no–one reads.
  • Producing a product that I can’t even give away.
  • Building email lists that have less than 1% open rate.
  • Giving away stuff no-one wants.
  • Begging for social media votes
  • Slapping AdSense ads all over, without knowing how to properly use AdSense, etc.

Well, those are just to name a few, but since then I have built a business that has two employees in the 5 months since its existence, doubled it’s turnover in the space of three months and hang with some of the biggest blog/website owners on the internet.

But, instead of telling you about my accomplishments (which aren’t that many b.t.w); I want to highlight some of the worst mistakes you can make online while attempting Internet Marketing.

Trying to be TOO perfect.

Let’s talk about creating a product. Think about Microsoft for a minute. How many products do they launch that go through a lot of testing needing a lot of support and still create a couple un-happy customers? Sometimes your product launch get stifled because you’re trying to develop too much too quickly. Here are some actionable points you can look at when creating a product (or service):

  • Start with an immediate solution – You want to solve a problem that is a great headache for people you have the answer to.
  • Build up from that – This is where an autoresponder is great, you can teach along the way building on the solution you just gave and solving more problems in the series. This series (where you’ve solved problems for people) could lead up to…
  • Create(ing) and add-on product – Now you want to build on the previous product, add on a product/service and make it greater. Allow for an upgrade to perform more and solve more (relatable) problems.
  • Keep developing – Look at Andy Bailey, probably one of the greatest marketers in our circles. He created a free plugin, kept working on developing it, adding value and solving problems. Eventually the Premium version of Commentluv came around and nobody had any qualms about spending $40 for the plugin. That was because Andy took his time, built his customer base and provided value for years. Now, when he makes something available, you almost instantly hit the buy button.


Don’t you hate it when you just bought something because of an incredible sales pitch, and when you get to the download page, or the pay page, you get an OTO (one time offer) that basically explains to you that you cannot really get much value out of the product if you don’t buy the add-ons. This is a HUGE no-no.

The other scenario is when you buy a product and it takes ages to set up and not the ‘couple minutes’ they promised you. Or, you run with the program and don’t see remotely close to the results you were promised. Let’s look at why you may have disappointed customers.

  • People give benefit of the doubt – You may not think people pay attention to the promises you make on the sales page. But they actually do, which is one of the reasons for the conversion. If you said they will ‘Lose 15lbs in a week’, that’s what they expect to happen.
  • If they’re expectations are not fulfilled, they’ll be upset – If there are the slightest chance of limitations to your products, make sure it is stated somewhere, at least in a disclaimer, so people know that results may vary and it’s not the same for everyone. Also, that it may be dependent upon people following your advice to the tee. Terms and conditions to offers are also advisable, display these clearly.
  • Word of mouth can also have a negative, viral effect – I saw how one attendant at a burger joint called a lady ‘Chinky Eyes’ on her slip for a description. The pic she posted on Twitter went viral and the company had to do serious damage control. Imagine someone had a bad experience with your products and they are just mildly influential, you would ‘not work in this town again’ πŸ˜‰ That’s why it’s important to have someone represent your brand on social media, if you’re not doing it yourself.


Marketing PricingLet’s be honest with each other, you put a lot of effort into your product right? So why are you selling your product for 2.99? Why even 9.99? That’s the price for invaluable PLR products. Do you think if Appsumo had a product they’re promoting and their price is $1.99; are you even going to look? Of course not. I want a valuable product, not a lucky packet. And seriously, if you think that much of your product, you may as well market it as a lucky packet, because anyone looking at that price tag is not sure what they’re going to get. So unless you have 500,000 customers like Appsumo does, don’t under price your product and undersell your abilities. If that’s genuinely what your products worth, work on it a little more and look at adding a lot more value.

So, when looking at pricing your product appropriately and still trying to be competitive, look at the following tips:

  • What is your hourly rate? ‘What would you like to ear per hour’ is the better question. That is your desirable worth. Getting there is simple. Look at how many units of your product you can sell. Then ask yourself how many ‘active’ hours you spent on producing your product. Then, times the amount of hours worked on the product by how many you hope to sell. If the price is still too low, look at working on the product some more (adding value) and do those sums again.
  • Do research on what your competitors charge for their products – or even your peers. It’s not wise to go and duplicate or steal someone’s product idea, but you can look at related products and ascertain your price seeing how what is your experience related to them. What does their product have that yours doesn’t? Price appropriately and of course, competitively.
  • Try different price points. You could have a launch price (without skimping). When people bought it at the launch price, the chances of virility if better (if your product is good). Then launch it properly after the early bird launch. Then, announce the full price and then approach affiliates offering an appetizing incentive. When your product launch has run its course, try a JV promotion; offer your product as an add-on to someone else’s. OR, you may launch a new product and give this one as a bonus, adding value to your new product.

(Any) Technical glitches – (at all).

I remember doing a soft launch beta giveaway of a product I wanted to launch. I wasn’t so clued up with the technical stuff, so my promotion was great (I got a spot on a BIG TIME affiliate blogger). But when it came to product delivering, some technical glitches kept the people who won the promotion from using the info product. To make matters worse, I didn’t keep my ear on the ground and kept in contact with them, so I didn’t know they couldn’t get in. Epic IM Fail!

Let’s look at some general technical glitches you want to make sure your developer smoothes out before you even start looking at the product and do usability testing.

  • Server crashes – While TOO MANY visitors may be perceived as a good thing, it’s is in reality a bad thing. Your site may crash, and the visitor you DID get will probably mot return. Before you launch, make sure you check with your hosting company that the server will hold out with an increase in traffic.
  • Issues with payment processing – Lots of sales means lots of traffic. This may not only pose a problem for you (as with previous point), but also for your payment processor. IF they’re not able to process payments quickly, what you have is a virtual line of people ‘queuing’ for ‘service’ .Let’s be honest, how may of us will wait hours in a queue for something unless it’s at the polls? To make sure this doesn’t happen, inform the processor of possible surges and also test, test, test.
  • Download problems – Think of how many an-happy customers you’ll have if they purchased a product from you and they cannot download the product. A lot of times the problem is with the links and some of them not redirecting properly. Once again testing is important. Also make sure that you have a reachable support desk with proper server coverage.

Not having an affiliate network.

Best Affiliate NetworksAn affiliate network is good to have because it explodes your reach and places the opportunity to make money from your product in the hands of other hungry marketers with traffic. This is a great solution if your own traffic is not really great.

  • Affiliates doesn’t cost you money – its costs you money NOT to have them. You may sell a thousand copies and make a thousand times your asking price. But offering 50% to a hundred other affiliates who sell 25 units of your products will give you an increase of 1500 sales and 750 more full-unit sales.
  • Setting it up is as easy or tough as you want it to be – Hand of affiliate programs like Clickbank handles everything for you. If you have your own software, you may want to employ office people to help you with admin. Either way, there’s no excuse not to have it and making more money.

Those are some of the dumb mistakes I made with Internet Marketing in the past and I hope this comprehensive list will assist you not to make the same mistakes as I did and maximize your potential to earn lots of money from your hard work and efforts.

Please leave a comment below and tell me some of your mistakes and don’t forget to sign up for my personal email list. It’s chock a block with tons of free, valuable gifts to help you on your internet marketing (IM) journey.

Ivin Viljoen

Ivin Viljoen is a full time blogger and makes most of his money providing services that solves people’s online problems. He’s passionate about community and thrives on the social part of social media. His creed is hustling to have his dreams happen. Sign up for his personal email list and let him take care of you online.

33 thoughts on “5 Worst Mistakes You Can Make In IM (internet marketing)

  • Absolutely interesting and worth’s reading! Very effective method! I agree with the fact IM has growth is important and it can be achieve by avoiding mistakes

    • Hello Bhupendra. You’re quite right, the less mistakes you make, the more success you’ll have. Thanks for showing your avatar πŸ˜‰

  • Hi Ivin,

    You hit on key mistakes here, great job.

    Overselling and trying to be perfect are 2 opposite ends of the spectrum. Overselling is nothing but desperation, and the perfection thing is just the most intense form of the fear of criticism as possible.

    In one aspect, you are just so desperate that you do anything to try to make a sale, including cheesing most people off. On the other side of things, with the perfection deal, you are so afraid that someone will criticize your wok that you refuse to publish it, under the guise of being a perfectionist.

    As Emerson said, all life is an experiment. The more experiments the better. The wealthiest people on earth, the game changers, screw up infinitely more times than anybody else. They work intelligently, yes, but they are not afraid to try and not be perfect, following Emerson’s advice to a T.

    Thanks for sharing Ivin!


    • Hello Ryan. Sound like you may have had some similar experiences, therefore you’re resonating with the subject. When you mentioned Emerson, I’m thinking of Thomas Edison. He designed that light bulb a thousand times before he got it right. I’d like to read a blog post by him re: his experience.

  • Great article. I totally agree with you regarding the overselling aspect. For me, this is an immediate turn off and i am sure most people feel the same way. Most people like to buy not nobody likes to be sold to.

    • Question is Dan, do you get turned off before or after. Being duped and only realizing afterwards makes me mad πŸ™ But I’m sure everyone feels that way.

  • Yes, failure is the great leveler in today’s IM world – and they are lessons that we all share… the secret is, Can we all Learn from them πŸ™‚

    • Yes, that is the question. An insane person does the same thing over and over expecting a different result. We aren’t, are we? Well, then we’d better do things differently if they bomb.

      That really is a great observation and an awesome take-away point. Thanks for weighing in Paul. I appreciate you taking time out to contribute.

      P.s I see you’re using a Wiki platform. Where did you get that theme from?

  • Thanks for the information. I learned a lot and will apply it in life to make the most out of it

  • Great work on this post Ivin! I really like the way your article came across as very honest and realistic. Lots of online marketers do commit these mistakes every now and then and they don’t always want to admit it. I’ve actually had the chance to work with some of them. It is a constant battle to get repeat sales and some just can’t figure out the formula to do so. What are your thoughts about email and mobile marketing though? Can they still make you competitive in this very aggressive and cutthroat industry we thrive in?

    • Yep, made some pretty big boo-boo’s in my career. I think with the advent of spam and control measures in place on a lot of platforms, it’s getting more difficult to market with email as it’s difficult to get through.

      Mobile marketing is the future. It’s getting smarter by the day. I’m moving all my customers to mobile (addition), and I’m launching a new program on mobile that’s going to revolutionize training in a certain sector.

  • It is always a good idea to become an affiliate. It helps a lot to earn some handsome amount. I totally agree with you. A lot of people make this mistakes. This post will work like a teacher to them. Great work. πŸ™‚

    • Hello Jhony. You also need affiliates if your product is gonna have any kind of traction.

  • Great Post. Very informative. This information should save many brand new internet marketers from making the common mistake of believing all the mis leading get rich quick schemes that are being advertised all over the internet. It is refreshing to read honest internet marketing information instead of all the false promises that so many blog posters write.

    Have A Wonderful Day Corine Miller

    • Hello Conrine. Very few people talk about the failures BEFORE the successes. To have success there are also a lot of things that need to be implemented in the form of foundation before something could happen,

  • I have encountered my own share of misleading, deceptive to outright wicked marketing schemes that insulted my intelligence at times, but to which, honestly, I have become a prey to one πŸ™‚ And my only reason, which isn’t even logical, is, I had some niggling doubt that it could be true. uhm, does it sound weird? Yes, because this small doubt when over turned, could lead me to some riches online in a few months time πŸ™‚ Now, my simple mind registers all the tiny, ringing bells of doubt when there is a similar situation and I am instantly forewarned and alerted. This post is very honest to admit some facts that enlighten us more on false marketing promises made by a few erring bloggers.

    • Hello Amy. Those early ringing bells are usually your own safeguards. Listen to them.

  • O my god..i was not aware of these things and was making the same mistake again and again. Sometimes we do work stupidly assuming that we are or whatever we are doing is correct but after reading your stuff i came to know i fool i am. Thank you much for sharing such info. Thanks a lot.


    • Yep, Kate. You don’t wanna do the same things if they don’t bring you (better) results. You should share your list too, so others could learn from your mistakes. You may have some valuable info you could teach me.

  • You’e spot on with your point about overselling. It never ceases to amaze me that someone will post a lengthy video or sales page extolling the virtues of their super-duper link-building software (or whatever), slash the price from $997.00 by itself to $27.00 with hundreds of dollars in bonus goodies, then ask the buyer to upgrade to the over-priced gold version once they’ve submitted payment.

    Unfortunately, I think most people have come to expect to be hit with some sort of upsell. And that’s precisely why we have to make sure they know, without a doubt, that what we’re offering (whatever it happens to be) is the complete product, and not just a useless, watered down version designed to be a come-on.

    That’s probably a greater marketing challenge than we might imagine, given our prospective customer’s past experiences.

    • Hello Bob. You’re right. We’ve sort of come numb and used to the pratice, but I still get mad when I bought soemthing and find out it’s not all that. I like buying soemthing and knowing that it’s gonna work, there’s support if I need it and I will get results.

      B.t.w I’ve learned that a product slashed from $999 to $29 cannot have been worth $999 to start with.

  • Nice post, Ivin.

    Have to agree that if we are not getting results, it is crazy to keep banging our heads against a wall.
    The old saying goes ” If we keep on doing what we’ve always done, we’ll keep on getting what we’ve always got”!
    As you mentioned in one of your responses above the definition of madness is ” Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

    Some marketer definitely do go very the top with their approach, and this may have an adverse affect on potential clients(customers).
    I understand many sales people have a whole bunch of Sales mantra’s drilled into them.
    Some of the sales soldiers(On the phone and door knocking) out my part of the world, can be relentless(also without any morals + very rude).

    Affiliates look like the way to go as part of a broader group of monetizing methods for our sites.

    • I’ve been the knocking on doors route and since soem of those principles work in video marketing (most of the methods worked), if you can adapt those tricks and principles to selling a great product, I don’t feel bad using those methods.

  • Damn, thanks for this post because i know now a mistake from my work. I don’t have a affiliate network, i hope that i will solve this problem too.

    • Yep, marketing your product through people motivated because they get a share of the money is a great idea.

  • Hey Ivin,

    I’ve made them all with the exception of overselling, glad I haven’t done that one πŸ˜‰

    My biggest mistake is trying to be too perfect. Sometimes you just have to know when to get out of your own way, lighten up a little and recognize you’ve done a good job and work from there.

    All great advice you offer πŸ™‚

    • Hey Liz! I’ll tell you, marketing is like a book. OR creating products. Soemtimes you have to out your pen down and send it to the editor. OTherwise that book will never get done.

  • hi seems you hit the nail on the head with this post. Being too perfect is my weakness asd it bogs me down. also i do not have an affiliate network so that is something i shall have to be working on

    • Hello Joseph. It seems that is the consensu. Everybody’s trying to be too perfect. There are software you can buy to have your own affiliate netowrk set up. Have a look around.

  • Oh dear – you ask about silly mistakes we’ve made – I managed to lock myself out of my own website in it’s second week so I couldn’t log in to WordPress. And because I knew nothing about anything, I couldn’t fix it. Luckily my Host (Hostgator) could go under the bonnet and put in a redirect which gave my my access back.

  • As an SEO provider myself, I am also ticked off by SEO guys who try to cut prices and provide little results or sometimes even negative results.

    A client of mine once said that my prices are too high compared to another guy he is using and when I looked at his report, the guy barely knows anything about SEO

  • Been there done that and could write the book on it.

    I don’t think there aren’t any internet marketers who haven’t had a list of epic failures. But, those who keep on plugging away often succeed at some point. It’s frustrating, but I when I got the IM bug, I really got it. I’ve considered throwing in the towel, but couldn’t. It wasn’t the money so much as building awesome web properties that kept me going.

  • It seems as if it can be a real balancing act between getting something out that is good and usable, and something that is over-thought and has taken too much time to “perfect.”

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