Internet Marketing’s Up Is Down Problem
The key to making money online is doing some things to create trust and then disrupting those very things enough to create money.
Internet marketing takes time to learn. Problem is that TIME is a lure. Strike at that lure, the “learn as we go” school of Internet marketing, and you become dinner. Not hard to see why Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs) feel overwhelmed by Internet marketing. They enter the game late, but with a diligence that only creates further trouble.
Doing what everyone else is doing online when they are doing it is important but hardly sufficient. If you aren’t content marketing now, as everyone in the world is, then your website, company and brand will look dangerously out of step. On the other hand if you ARE content marketing like everyone else you will make no money.
The key to Internet marketing success is learning the difference between two types of marketing:
- Marketing where your ABSENCE costs you money but PRESENCE won’t make you any to generate TRUST.
- Marketing where your PRESENCE makes you money and the ABSENCE of everyone else confirms your action.
Most companies work on a, “We do things when RISK has been removed”. There is no “risk removed” Internet marketing. Marketing that was “best practices” two years ago can get your website thrown in Google jail now. Internet marketing is alive and pinging all the time. “Pinging” means in a constant state of update, revision and share.
Unlike almost every other form of marketing Internet marketing is a conversation held over time where everything changes all the time.
Relationships can grow or decline based on how well your Internet marketing listens, incorporates feedback and grows. Can’t say the same thing about a print ad or an infomercial. Actually, print ads and infomercials have feedback loops, but TIME is so different. A print ad that runs in a magazine was conceived three months ago (to meet the print deadline). You can fill out a “more information” card that will sit in some inbox for weeks. An infomercial would take weeks or months to respond to feedback discovered after broadcast begins.
The Internet always happens NOW, like every conversation you’ve ever had. Now is a POWERFUL time, but it is hard to live there.
NOW changes constantly. It is hard to know what is important NOW due to lack of context and NOW is expensive. The secret to “NOW Marketing” is to be present enough often enough to create predictive models. If that sounds like HUMANS are becoming Internet marketing bottleneck you win a cookie.
As a Director of Ecommerce it was clear humans couldn’t manage Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. Computers and algorithms were the only systems capable of managing PPC’s real time marketplace where complex variables changed in an instant. We are coming to the same point with your company, brand or Internet marketing. Trying to create orderly plans based on yesterday’s numbers, numbers invalid the moment the plan is put into action, is becoming a losing proposition.
Practical Implications for SMBs
* Strong social presence is needed (Facebook, Twitter, G+ minimum).
* Checking Social Media several times a day is mandatory.
* Leave at least 25% of your time and budget for RESPONSE.
* Curate more than you create (as high at 90% curation to 10% creation).
* Mine User Generated Content (by asking for UGC and rewarding it when granted).
* Create new Key Performance Indicators that value content marketing & social media marketing.
The last bullet is from the, “We are what we measure,” school of thinking. Don’t get caught up in the tornado of debate around social media Return On Investment (ROI). Assign values (if you have too) that connect top of funnel (traffic generation activities) to the funnel’s bottom (conversion where traffic turns into money). Each business in every vertical has different models for understanding what works. There is no silver bullet we can share other than this:
- Create Marketing where your ABSENCE costs you money but PRESENCE won’t make you any to generate TRUST.
- Create Marketing where your PRESENCE makes you money and the ABSENCE of everyone else confirms your action.
The first bullet protects your Internet marketing flank while the second generates ROI (and lots of it if you are even slightly ahead of others). Content marketing is defined these days by the first bullet where your absence is suspicious and trust reducing. Even when everyone is doing something you can still create disruption by how you execute.
Examples of How Content Marketing Can Be Disruptive
- Create a platform approach to mine User Generated Content (UGC).
- Curate more than you create (as high as 90% curation to 10% creation).
- Gamify your content marketing (see Atlantic BT Gamification White Paper).
- Visualize your content marketing.
- Embrace “lean content” or highly visual and more UGC.
- Pick a fight (controversy sells visits).
- Make visitors laugh (humor is viral).
- Create videos.
Videos are like widgets. They aren’t IN your website as much as they float above it. When people grab a video, embed it and share it they create an island of highly targeted and well defined (if you’ve done your keyword work) traffic. The reason we will experience a “video tsunami” is video content is richer (than reading) and about 10x more viral (see Brandon Hoe’s blog post from yesterday: Video As An Effective Marketing Tactic).
Make sure your Internet marketing plays games everyone is playing to create trust and develops enough disruption you win more traffic, advocacy, list growth and money than you lose. Internet marketing’s strange money making secret is you must do some Internet marketing to look “normal” and trustworthy and other marketing to look “abnormal” and special. Knowing where the line between presence and absence is NOW is Internet marketing’s secret.
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