Are you missing the point of the internet?

wwwFor 125 years, when had a product to sell, we took out an ad, and the orders came flooding in. It was so easy that marketing, by and large, became synonymous with advertising. Not 100%, but close enough.

So when this newfangled Internet thing came to be, it should be no surprise that businesses asked “can I advertise on this thing?” And Likewise, when social media became the darling of that Internet, businesses asked “can I advertise on this thing?”

Problem is, in so doing, they missed the point of the Internet completely.

25 years ago, businesses would have been beside themselves over the ability to instantly connect directly with consumers inside their homes, at scale. Now that it’s here, what are they doing? Trying to send an ad.

Let’s take a look for a minute at what advertising is. It is purchasing real estate in someone else’s storytelling medium in order to introduce themselves to that medium’s audience. And that real estate, sold by the frational page or column inch, is expensive. Advertising is the art of delivering the most impact in the available space to attract attention and, hopefully, create an action.

What the interet offers the business is unlimited space and infinite reach. It offers you the freedom to not be beholden to someone else for access to their audience, but to build an audience of your own. You have all of the tools necessary to get people to gather at your feel and listen to what you have to say.

However, what you say can not be just ads. People don’t buy the magazine for the ads. They buy it for the content. For the cost of a 6-month quarter-page ad, you can begin to amass a sizeable audience, to whom you then have the ability to promote your wares to, whenever and however you’d like.

If you can find, create and/or share information that draws youre customers in, then you can communicate with them directly. Find out exactly what they want, exactly what they need, exactly how to improve your existing offerings… and then turn around and sell that straight to them.

The Internet is not merely a shift in medium or attention. It is a shift in communication. If you’re just trying to figure out “Internet advertising,” then you are leaving lots and lots of easy money on the table.