Since phrase online marketing was coined there have been two opposing forces wrestling for total control. Black-hat and white-hat.
Black-hat marketing is basically underhand marketing and manipulation of technology to promote websites and products without a thorough presentation to the consumers. White-hat marketing involves promotion of websites, products and services using methods that are not frowned upon on by the consumer Black hat forum.
Email spam, junk mail, keyword stuffing and forum posting spamming are the tools of the black-hat marketer. The white-hat marketer relies on good interaction with his potential and existing customers to foster a long term mutually beneficial relationship.
The tools for the white-hat marketers are more obscure than the obvious in your face tactics of the black-hat marketer. But they are much more effective in the long run.
Black-hat techniques work with a shot gun mentality, “You bound to hit something if you use a shot gun in a dense population”. That does work with the short term profit but it becomes unsustainable as your conversion diminishes because more and more people become weary of hearing from you.
That shot gun approach has survived only because the internet is growing at a phenomenal rate and new customers sign up to make their lives easier every day.
I believe that white-hat marketing is harder to stick to but ultimately brings steady flow of customer orders and re-orders. Black-hat specialists all agree on one thing about black-hat techniques, “Do not expect the same person to order twice.”
From what I said above it is clear that white-hat is the best approach to building a successful and long-lasting marketing campaign. It has its disadvantages in that building trust takes time, and that is why I recommend that you start slow, build your name and brand through free marketing techniques like article writing, consistency, integrity and excellent customer service.