Five Internet Marketing Rules To Follow August 1, 2010 by Brett Prince Some misguided marketers think that the “old school” marketing tactics apply to a new, customer-driven business world. The reality is that even if you’re the best, the most convenient or even the cheapest, promoting these virtues on social networks will not get your company the results that you’re seeking. We all know the potential that kindness, honesty, and generosity have online – they’re welcomed and rewarded! So why is it that “conversations” are getting heavy with sales pitching and self promotion? Not only is this turning off consumers, but it’s making Internet marketing look bad and undoubtedly makes it much more challenging for businesses to convert contacts into sales. But don’t panic, you just need to set yourself apart with a few key Internet marketing strategies, and in return you’ll be able to transform your social media communities into profitable business. What’s even better is that these activities heavily increase ROI online and refrain from that unwanted sales pitchy trash that everyone hates. Here are five rules you should follow to successfully convert online contacts into sales. 1. Be generous: Share your expertise and knowledge online. No one is out to get you, shift your thinking and think as if people are out to do business with you. If you’re generous with your expertise and knowledge, people can connect with you much more quickly and will want to do business with you (because you’ve already given them a taste of what you have to offer.) 2. Don’t look desperate: There’s a huge difference between desperation and sincerity. You really need to want to build a relationship to get business, you can’t just approach them with the mindset of getting another deal, or with the reasoning that closing the deal is what you’re supposed to do. Consumers are smart, they can tell the difference, especially when it comes to handing over their money. 3. Create a communication plan: Once you start engaging with people you need to ensure that you have a consistent, ongoing plan to stay connected with them. There’s a variety of ways to do this directly, the best is to get their e-mail or get them to join your Facebook page and send them informative updates, tips, and resources. You want to create and build actual value, not perceived value. People will be much more responsive if you take this approach. 4. Build your social proof: Having recommendations and testimonials on your main site or blog goes a long way. By having social proof you’re essentially proving to your potential clientele that you’re worth doing business with and you don’t have to say a thing. Another good place to post some testimonials is a site such as LinkedIn. 5. Just be yourself: Don’t try to be someone else to try to impress potential clients, leads or business. Consumers want to feel as though they’re going to do business with someone real, not someone who’s insincere. Above all, diversify! Don’t talk yourself out of reaching out to new industries, groups, or people. The Internet is bursting with millions of potential contacts, so do whatever you can to engage them with sincerity and leave out the sales pitching. After all, that person you invited or accepted your request could be your next big customer. You never know.