As the Internet continues to populate with websites trying to turn a buck, two drastically different schools of thought have developed on how to advertise online - "Push" and "Pull."
"Push" advertising involves the use of "in-your-face" advertising tactics such as pop-up windows and direct email. "Pull" advertising entails using search engines and posting articles that literally "pull" interested consumers to a website on their own terms.
As web surfers revolt against pushy advertising, site owners who understand how to pull consumers to their sites will come out the long-term winners.
"Push" advertising tactics worked in the past because they had not reached a saturation point. Since not everyone used pop-up windows, a site owner could use them without fear of backlash. Now it seems pop-up windows hit consumers from every angle and even multiple times from the same sites.
The cycle of events with online advertising always unfolds the same way. Someone finds something new that works and people immediately jump on the bandwagon. As a technique saturates the 'Net and loses effectiveness, instead of finding an alternative, site owners just do it more!
Result: instead of pop-up windows going away, many site owners just run more pop-up's - more often!
Well, if recent developments indicate anything, they show that consumers have said "enough" to pushy advertising.
AOL, infamous for their pop-up ads, has agreed to cut down on the intrusions even though their earnings could use a boost right now.
Major ISP (Internet Service Provider) EarthLink even offers a "pop-up killer" feature on their new service.
Almost all email programs come with filters to fight unsolicited email and many email add-on services have sprung up to help consumers eliminate the unsolicited offers for pornography, business opportunities, and promises of instant riches.
This "anti-spam" sentiment has also caused an unintended consequence for legitimate marketers. Many major newsletters have found their emails blocked by spam filters intended to stop unsolicited email. Through no fault of their own, legitimate email marketers have found themselves casualties of the war on spam.
The future of the Internet lies in "Pull" advertising driven by consumer wants and needs.
The successful Internet companies of the future will invest in search engine promotion and in providing valuable, on-demand information consumers receive only when they ask for it and want it. When a web surfer goes to their favorite search engine and enters the keyword phrase "MP3 Player" or "tax advice" that means they are receptive to information on those subjects.
If they read an article about using vitamins to improve health and click a link for more information, only then they will they be truly receptive to a marketing message about vitamins.
Consumers have taken back control of Internet!
Not with laws or more regulations, but simply by flexing the muscles of their wallets. By pulling money away from advertisers who annoy them and putting it with those who meet their needs, the average web surfer has brought the Internet powers to their knees and will continue to reshape the Internet into an effective, consumer-driven communications vehicle.
Any site owner who wants to have a thriving online business and survive the next year had better take this fact to heart!
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