Imagine you’re house is on fire. This is obviously distressing and you work to get your family out of the house and to a place of safety. You live out in the country and there isn’t a neighbor for at least a mile.

You have your cell phone in hand and a pad of sticky notes in the other. Instead of calling for help or alerting extended family members (or even neighbors) you scrawl a note on the sticky note that reads, “My house is burning – just though you’d want to know. Send help soon.” This is placed on the front door for any visitor to see.

With that you stand on the lawn waiting for help. You can’t understand why the fire trucks aren’t rolling in. You find it hard to believe your extended family and neighbors didn’t care enough to come by and help.

Soon the fire dwindles and the darkness of night settle in and you wonder why your message wasn’t effective. How could those who are charged with protection and familial care simply ignore your message? After all, you had written the note legibly and it was posted in a conspicuous place.

This is a far-fetched picture of what it is like to engage the online world without proper marketing expressions. Far too many sites exist with the proverbial sticky note on their website when they need to be calling 911.

So many marketing tools are at the disposal of online business it becomes difficult to understand why many online businesses still use the sticky note approach. This scenario may be the result of ignorance, but it could also be a fear of the unknown or perennial laziness.

We can smile at the strange irony of a family that believes a legible note on the door of a burning farmhouse is enough to summon all the help they will need, yet many online businesses do not find it strange to effectively refuse to use tools at their disposal to get the message out about their business.

In both cases (a house on fire and a business) we lament the regrettable decision to either ignore or never explore the possibilities that exist for rescue and support.

There is an old saying that no man hides a lit candle under a basket. If they do they can’t see where they are going and others can’t see how to come to them. Yet, in online business there are more hidden candles than you would think possible.

The prevailing theory seems to be that if you put a business online people will simply find you and buy products from you. This is a naïve notion and is the ultimate result of failed logic and improper planning.

The Internet remains a great platform for business, but sticky notes will never succeed in an atmosphere where you need to call in reinforcements and get the word out – I AM IN BUSINESS AND I WANT TO HELP YOU.