Sometimes in business we have a vision; yet, in our quest to capture, to attain the image, we wrestle with the reality of the situation. It happens. Otherwise, every business that ever started would flourish. That’s a beautiful vision, pile-driven by the reality of business.
How can you better gauge whether your vision is coming to fruition? Admittedly, I’m not a numbers person. I don’t like TI-80…anythings, and statistics was not one of my favorite classes in college. However, I do respect and understand the importance of data. The data is the wake-up call, allowing you to see how well reality superimposes itself on original vision.
Many business owners don’t want to get their hands dirty with computers. I understand. I had to catch-up myself in my college years. I didn’t grow up with computers like the youth of today. They’ll be in good shape regarding online business. At present, many of you are a bit intimidated. Additionally, if you can pay for someone to check analytics for you, then you don’t have to be bothered, right?
Sure, you can find marketing companies to track and make decisions based on your analytics; but, I really suggest the notion of stepping out of your comfort zone a bit; I know; it’s not an appealing notion; but, think about it.
I read a good post by a peer earlier today on the topic of putting in more time, going all the way when it comes to your passion and profession. I really celebrate that.
Take a look at this Google support page. Look at all the questions you should be asking regarding your site analytics and marketing campaign. Wouldn’t you rather have a better understanding of analytics so you can answer those questions yourself? Marketers know marketing, but who knows your business better than you? If it’s not you, then maybe that person should steer the ship.
It’s time to stop being hands-off regarding your online marketing campaign. Is your business your passion? Have you decided to offer your business online? Then you need to engage just as always.
It’s your business. Start thinking analytically (yes, I choose the topic of ‘analytics’ to make you start thinking more practically, more analytically about your online efforts. I enjoy punning.) Don’t leave things ‘up to the experts.’ Be an expert regarding your business in all its facets offline and online.
With outsourcing comes deep responsibility. The advantage of having others do something so you can focus on your business is understood; but, that by no means should give you license to take a hands-off approach to your business. Get involved and stay involved. It’s your vision quest; do your part in making it a reality.
By now, if you’re reading me, you understand online marketing is marketing in essence. Marketing involves relating to people. People can be creatures of routine; yet, life is not so pragmatic. Exceptions do and will always exist; people are extremely dynamic as well as routine.
How many interests do you have? I’ll assume you have more than one. Imagine if you only had one topic of interest. That’s all you would think, hear, and speak upon? That would be incredibly…vanilla.
Mix up the media. Take advantage of a plethora of tools available in the marketing world. Stop writing (all the time) to convey your brand’s messages. Information is what browsers seek; it doesn’t have to be written information.
When I was a teacher, I had to be diligent in regard to how I presented information to subsets of students. Some people are visual learners; others are audio learners; other people can’t really ‘get’ something until they actively attend to a matter in physical form… Think about the theory of multiple learning styles.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Here, WebiMax CEO, Ken Wisnefski supplies information through phone interview scenarios. The brand could issue the sentiments in written format; yet, the interview allows users to engage the marketing material via auditory means.
SEOmoz issues a lot of content, much of it written; but, the brand issues video posts on a weekly basis. The audio and video cues offer something different from the purely-textual norm. People have preferences. For instance, I’d rather read text; but, that’s me. Many people rather listen to audio or have it combined with visual cues.
Info-graphics can really make an impact. I see them as ‘business comics.’ Somewhat of an oxymoron, yes; but, you can see how the emphasis on visual cues and the de-emphasis of textual information can make for an intriguing synergy. The Blue Glass brand recently did an info-graphic for Forbes; the graphics really complement the textual information.
Before the info-graphic was born; publishers aligned pictures and text together in comics. ‘Comics’ have an entertainment connotation to them; but, that’s okay. It’s okay to both entertain and educate. Ask any high school teacher. Peter Attia often mixes comics in with his posts. The ‘jokes’ are relevant to his blog’s target market.
Let Someone Else Hold the Pen
Julie Joyce of Link Fish Media recently let me write a copywriting guest post on her brand’s blog. It’s much appreciated and allows my writing and brand to reach more people.
Don’t forget to look for information-suppliers existing outside of your brand. Yes! That’s right. Stop playing the same in-house songs; mix things up a bit. Ask others to guest on your site. It gives your site and browsers a breath of fresh air, which is always championed by people; remember- we are all dynamic! New is often exciting. Dare to be a bit different; or, you can continue to your regularly (boring) scheduled content programming.
I’ve somewhat embraced the Google zoo because the inability to ‘game’ the engine has called for more marketing. Sorry, (you know who you are). So, this thing marketing, I’m no expert; but, I know a little about a little.
If I was to understand marketing, since I’m online, I may as well check out ‘Marketing 101′ as supplied by the US Small Business Administration. Surely, the .gov site can give us some direction as how to market.
Oh wow, look, one of the very first sentiments offered broaches the subject of people:
All company policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs. (Their choice of bold, not mine; but, I concur.)
Read that over a few times until it begins to sink in. Take all the time you need. Notice how the ending doesn’t read “your” needs. If you’re not starting from that integral point of view, you’re doomed to fail, and to be socially awkward in between. Let’s consider how you may look to customers.
Hey, who misses phone solicitations? (No hands go up.) Why did we hate? Because the ‘cold calling’ process is socially awkward. It immediately establishes a defensive, annoyed demeanor. Someone calls your phone and starts trying to sell you on something; yet, to start, they really don’t know you as an individual; they just see you as dollar signs. People like being valued as people and not dollars.
How can you generate the boldness to attempt to satisfy the needs of someone you don’t know?
The Bait and Switcher
Sometimes companies do take interest in us. Hooray for common sense! They’ll gain the intelligence of our interests and offer germane goods and services, many times at an initial discount. That’s awesome. We all like saving money! Oh wait. The interest, the sale, the ‘special’ offer was a means to an end?
So basically, it’s kind of like someone taking interest in me for ultimately selfish reasons. It’s REALLY about what I can do FOR THEM. That’s really socially awkward. People don’t like the feeling of being used.
The Miyagi Marketer
I think we all can understand the pursuit of money is inextricably caught up in business; however, running a business does not mean I owe you a thing as a consumer. On the contrary, if you want my business, you owe me, in an ongoing fashion. Otherwise, why would I stick around? It would be like staying with an unappreciative mate otherwise; there are greener pastures for everyone.
Some businesses lay on the romance thick in the ‘honeymoon’ phase then once consumers are ‘entranced’ the act is dropped. The wax on/off dynamic is socially awkward. It makes me question your brand’s integrity. It makes me question why you’re in business. Is it to make money or something useful? If that question makes you feel awkward, take a number. You’re doing it to many others.
Let me identify some business interactions I find to be socially awkward. If you’re employing these think of reconsidering. There must be a reason I’m writing these down.
- Stop the automatic DMs once consumers follows you on Twitter
- Don’t email people you don’t have pre-established relations with
- Don’t follow or befriend then drop people to manipulate perception
- Don’t treat consumers as dollar signs; they’re likely to treat your brand similarly
- Don’t worry about the competition, focus on your clients (all the time)
So, you wanna successfully leverage online marketing. How thick is your SEO skin? Would you mind if I combed over your initiatives with a felt-tipped, red pen. I used to get ‘my red on’ regarding student essays. I wasn’t being malicious; as the song goes, ‘you gotta be cruel to be kind’ sometimes.
I’m going to go ahead and prescribe your medicine. This may hurt (just) a little; but, it will make you better. (Pops the top of the pen, stretches, and puts his kinder sentiments on Penguin ice.)
Your Social Media Participation is Awful
Are you Facebook fooling me? Are you tweetin out of your mind? The errors are so rampant, I can’t include them in a flowing paragraph. I need to resort to bullets.
- You don’t engage. You simply share.
- You don’t share the content of others
- You handle expresses zero personality, you know those things real people have
- You follow people just to gain followers then un-follow them.
- You share the most-popular content, that which everyone else shares
That’s a good place to start. In short, use social media effectively; or, don’t use it at all; because, using it in a poor fashion is worsening your state, as if you were better off not engaging at all. Wow, the irony…
Here are two good resources on how to use social media. Read them.
No One’s Reading That
I get it. ‘Content is king.’ You need content on your site. Let’s plan for good copy. Nah. On second thought, let’s just throw anything up on the site. Readers can’t tell the difference, right? (Sighs) I need to go back to bullets.
- Your content is incredibly basic, even for laypeople, offering little to no value
- Your content does not link to other helpful resources
- You’re focused on quantity rather than quality
- Your site content reads like you’re just ‘going through the motions’ rather than using copy to connect with people
- You don’t devote enough time to the process end-to-end (ideas, research, reflection, etc)
Content is king; but, yours is more like a jester. Do you want to engage consumers or just host content? I can tell the difference. I’m not the only one. Are you serious about improving your content? Read the following.
You Live in an Online World; But, Goods, Services, and Customers Reside Elsewhere
Don’t get too bogged down in search engine obfuscation.’ SEO is marketing using a search engine. Is that so revolutionary of a concept? It’s really not. Perhaps it’s due to limited understanding, but many business owners have a fallacious understanding of SEO methinks.
In what reality does a platform afford the opportunity to discredit traditional marketing sympathies, ones that focus on people? I’ll tell you right now; there’s no such SEO reality. Maybe some providers have you ‘fooled.’ It’s time to wake up now.
- SEO is not magic. It is a form of marketing.
- SEO does not compensate for a lack of brand quality, nothing can.
- SEO is about engines. Any business is about people.
- Learn about SEO before you spend your money and your provider’s time
- Stop chasing trends. Start chasing your consumers’ interests.
This is one of the most recent, simplified, and succinct SEO posts I’ve seen in some time. Read it.
Are you tired of hearing of Google pets? I am too. There are some SEO lessons to learn due to Penguin. I’m sure you’ve seen a resource or two so far. However, in this post, I would like to review some business insights to take away from the pet’s recent visit.
Google is not a Given
Google is a business just like yours. Google has an idea of how it would like to offer its search engine service. Sure, Google makes most of its money from advertising; so, it wants you to use its search engine; however, nothing is ‘given’ regarding Google, just as nothing is given regarding other forms of marketing. The search engine is a platform your business can use to intrigue consumers. Your brand must make the marketing channel ‘work’ just like other methods. The Google search engine is not a revolutionary marketing exception; don’t think of it as such.
You Can’t Compensate for Quality
I say this a lot. I hope some are reading and heeding the words. You can’t compensate (EVER) for a lack of quality. You could facilitate more exposure without providing quality; but, such an endeavor seems wasteful in itself. Additionally, consumers have choices. Just because your service/product ranks well, doesn’t secure an eventual purchase or ongoing appreciation. You can’t compensate for quality no matter how you organize your online marketing campaign.
Don’t Chase Trends
It’s likely many affected webmasters did not directly have bad intentions; alternatively, many could have been chasing the ‘trend’ of achieving great rank. Don’t chase trends; organize online marketing endeavors utilizing tools and initiatives which make sense.
Recently, we’ve seen information related to GM, America’s third-largest advertiser. GM no longer uses Facebook for paid advertising. Additionally, GM does not plan to invest in the upcoming Super Bowl advertising fiesta. (To date, advertisers will be expected to invest over $3 million for 30 seconds! Wow!) GM is a perfect example of crafting marketing against brand intentions and markets, regardless of the most ‘popular’ social networks and sense of ‘tradition.’
Listen to Customers, Not SEOs
Every marketing campaign needs to devote unwavering attention to target markets. You know your target market; SEOs do not. SEOs know online marketing tools and platforms. Marketing aligns targets with your brand. SEOs can help from a third-party perspective; but, SEOs can’t do YOUR JOB for you. In theory, such sentiments create potential for a bad relationship. SEOs want to help; but, they can’t compensate for your lack of target-market understanding or quality of service/product.
I, for one, celebrate the recent updates. It ushers a returned sentiment of ‘marketing.’ SEO is a tangent of marketing. Marketing relies on understanding people. When did so many get led astray from the ‘people’ aspect of marketing? SEO is not automated marketing; if you think it is, you need more than my words and a Penguin.
Those, native to Philadelphia, are no strangers to professional sports teams. Philly’s got a couple of great ones, the Flyers among them. In attempts to exorcise their playoff opponent, the ‘Flyguys’ were eliminated this year. True fans are disappointed but hardly turned off of the team, the brand, the Flyers.
It may not come as readily as looking at a name such as Ford or Folgers, but the Flyers are a brand, a business too. They have consumers, just like Ford and Folgers; except in the realm of sports ‘marketing,’ consumers are called ‘fans.’
It’s an interesting concept. Marketing exists for sports teams, yet the heavy lifting is done by the ‘service’ itself, the performance of players. For only one team per year in the NHL, does the service make due on its original promise, to ‘go all the way.’ All but one teams’ mass of fans is ultimately disappointed to some degree. But that’s okay. There’s always next year. The ‘fans’ are okay with that. They’re okay with the trying even though for most, it doesn’t end in triumph. That’s interesting.
Flyers fans are fans of the game. The ‘service’ is supplied by the players. The players have a pure love for what they do. The players played before there was an NHL or Flyers in their personal lives. Such purity is pretty easy to market. The players’ abilities speak idly, just as any business’ services or products should be able to stand alone.
What is your business’ level of purity? Is it comparable to that of natural-born players? I came across a quote earlier while working on today’s previous copywriting post:
“The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can’t help it.”
It’s tongue-in-cheek, yes, but true. I (literally) have a choice; yet, I kinda don’t; writing is me. It makes a lot of sense for me. It comes naturally. Such a true passion makes it easy for me to market myself as a writer. The writing (hopefully) ‘speaks’ for itself. A product/service should be able to do so. Such a dynamic is not putting the cart before the horse.
Marketing could never take the place of the ‘horse.’ You can’t market a ‘lame’ product or service; the marketing can’t create such inertia. Sure, a business can try; yet, such images (and such campaigns) elicit some chuckles, don’t they?
Of course, it’s horrible to see your team lose. But the players will train harder and get better; because, they have no choice. It’s what they (truly want to) do. Will it guarantee a Cup next year? The odds are against them and their faithful fans. So, why gravitate toward the business, the brand, the Flyers? We’ll keep watching as long as the players keep doing what they love, despite the road bumps and disappointments.
True passion inspires faithful followers. The passion represented in a resulting service/product is really marketable within itself. The marketing part only warrants the reception of the market. The marketing can’t ‘play the game’ for the players; it can only illuminate the passion which was always there.