In spite of the fact that many entrepreneurs have used the online marketplace to build lucrative businesses and build the lifestyle of their dreams, for every successful marketer there are dozens who never even make enough money to even stay in business. Thankfully, you can avoid being a part of this unfortunate majority by learning from their failure and duplicating the strategies which have made other marketer successful before you. The article will outline five fatal errors that experts like Mitch Meyerson, Frank Rumbauskas, Ali Brown, and Timothy Ferris have deemed as being the leading causes of failure in online marketing.

Developing a Product without Finding an Audience

This is a mistake that can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars and cause your business to fail before it even gets off the ground. No matter how creative or interesting you believe that your product is, you can still end up wasting your time and money creating it if no one wants to buy it. Just ask the founder of Border’s Books who spent $375 million on developing the first nationwide redelivery service called Webvan that completely flopped because there was not enough customer interest to support it. This is a mistake that could have been easily avoided with proper research and advertisement testing.

Since most startup entrepreneurs don't have tons of money to throw away, it's imperative that you conduct proper keyword research and even some ad testing for your product before you invest your time and money in creating it. If this process is handled correctly, you could have scores of qualified customers ready to buy your product before it even goes on the market.

Chasing Opportunity Instead of Passion

Success in the online marketplace takes a lot more hard work, diligence, and persistence than most people think. No matter how much research and study you do before starting your business, there is always going to be a degree of trial and error involved when which will test the patience and persistence of even the most diehard entrepreneur. There also are hundreds and even thousands of tedious details that go into building and optimizing a website, creating a product, and running an effective marketing campaign.

When this happens, it is only your passion for the business that you are starting which is going to provide the fuel to keep you going. The online marketplace is also very competitive and requires you to be constantly learning about your niche and understanding your customers. This kind of commitment is difficult to keep if you are not building the type of business that really interests you. So be sure that as you are choosing your online business you take these things into consideration and give yourself the best opportunity possible to achieve success.

Failure to Control Advertising Costs

The most valuable investment you'll ever make in your online business is in smart advertising. No matter how spectacular your product is or how interesting your website is, no one is going to care if they never get the chance to hear about what you are doing. The problem is that the most effective online marketing strategies such as pay-per-click marketing, search engine optimization, article marketing, and e-mail marketing are also the most potentially costly when it comes to time and dollars spent. The only way to make sure that these methods are cost-effective for both time and money is to practice consistent and strategic testing for your marketing campaigns and your ad copy.

Tools such as theGoogle website Optimizer, Google analyticsand other various applications for split testing and visitor behavior tracking are a must if you want to make sure that your time and money are spent wisely.

Expecting a Sale on the First Visit

According to online marketing expert Mitch Meyerson’s book “Mastering Online Marketing” 37% of prospects take anywhere from 0 to 3 months to become customers, 28% Takes 3 to 6 months, 18% 6 to 12 months, and 17% take more than one year. In addition to this, general advertising research consistently reveals that it takes anywhere from seven to twelve times for a prospect to see a message before they become a purchasing customer. This is why an effective list-building strategy is regarded by many online marketing experts to be the most important part of building a successful online business.

Even if you have a website that is converting well and a good traffic strategy, you’re likely (according to the above statistics) to miss out on 50% of your potential customers if you don’t have a good email marketing strategy to stay in touch after their first visit. These are customers that will end up buying from your competition and likely becoming their loyal customers when they could have been yours. This is why it's so important to create a good marketing funnel that includes a system for viral marketing and relationship building with your prospects.

Lack of Focus  

Lack of focus is a common cause for failure in any undertaking because it keeps you from using your resources of time and money wisely. It also makes it difficult for you to consistently track your progress and make the improvements necessary to increase your success. If you are attempting to market your website by dabbling in social media marketing one day, and then switching sporadically to article marketing then to PPC marketing, or being inconsistent with your e-mail marketing, you’ll probably end up getting taken down by your competition.

If you feel that you don’t have enough energy and attention to pursue all of the marketing strategies which you want to use such as social media marketing, Adwords advertising, e-mail marketing, article marketing, video marketing, search engine optimization, finding joint ventures, and ezine advertising, it might be time to seek the help of an online marketing firm. This will allow you to focus on aspects of marketing your business which you are most interested in and have the best knack for.

The more focused you are, the quicker you will learn and the better edge you will have on your competition. So if you've gotten into the habit of being all over the place with your online marketing, it might be time to find your most effective method and to focus only on that until you develop a solid foundation upon which you can build your other methods.

No matter where you are in your process of starting your own online business, it’s important to remember that there is always room for improvement. Check yourself on each of these five common errors, find your weak points, and get to work on a plan for correcting them. It might just be a decision that will make the difference between failure and success.