Internet marketing attracts all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons. I recently found an intelligent and helpful article (link below) from Lori Robertson, a working mother who uses Internet marketing to create more free time. One quick, early lesson learned with millions riding on my team’s Internet marketing decisions was what WE THINK only mattered in very specific ways. This was a hard lesson since I LOVE communicating everything I believe at all times (lol).
Another important difference, part of the 5 degrees of difference, is Lori wants to “destroy” competition. My teams and I like to win too, but we view Internet marketing over time. I’ve lived through several hero to goat, goat to hero cycles in Internet marketing. I have no desire to destroy competition. I respect good competitors, learn from them and want to beat them at least partially because I want to see how the respond. Death, taxes and good Internet marketing competitors WILL respond are the only sure things in life.
The give and take of Internet marketing is graceful, beautiful and requires dance partners. My teams and I got BETTER because our competitors got better. We built on each other. We would change something with universal implications for the space, and they GOT it right away and built on it, challenging us to spend little time congratulating ourselves and more time getting back down to business. There were times when we would put up an idea and it would be copied by lunch. Such is the immediate, real time nature of great Internet marketing.
Learning about what helped people via metrics, data and direct feedback convinced us we needed to delegate some important work. We needed to change our Internet marketing and web design approach. This post highlights the difference between someone who uses Internet marketing to free up time to be with her family versus the people I work with who free up time to do more Internet marketing (lol).
Marty’s Internet Marketing Note On Scoop.it
I like the workman-like nature of many of these tips. Lori is an Internet marketer to make money, and I respect that. Internet marketing is my calling. I think of money as the scorecard indicating acceptance of those ideas my team and I are creating online.
There is a difference between Lori’s post and my approach, but only in degrees. The Internet marketing ideas I would pull out and highlight from her piece include:
1. Cause Marketing
Very, very important to save the world in some appreciable, measurable and easy to share way. When I pitch this idea to people, many recoil. I had an HVAC website owner tell me his products were boring. “Air conditioning isn’t boring to a mother with a sick child on a hot North Carolina day,” I shared, and he agreed.
Every product, brand or business saves the world in some way, large or small. Discover how your ideas, business, brands or products saves the world, and then align with a cause that is consistent, aligned and a good partner for those brand values.
Choose carefully, as you want the association to be long, rewarding for both parties and helpful in completing your brand’s story (see post from earlier about telling your brand story: http://www.scoop.it/t/curation-revolution/p/2295257933/how-to-create-your-brand-s-style-guide-tell-your-brand-s-story .
2. Friendly Error Pages
Another great idea from Lori is dressing up your error page’s look and feel. When something goes bad, visitors see an error page. I’ve had times when the hardware supporting our site was so error prone that Google indexed our 500 (server in trouble) page (lol). This is NOT good, but I had an offer on that page, and there were months when it was the most used offer on our site. Imagine the money we would have lost WITHOUT the offer.
You can’t change the behind the curtain coding of this or any error page. Google will mess you UP if you recode behind the curtain values, so don’t do that. This “be careful approach” when under the car is something Lori doesn’t cover – the potential blow up if you mess with the code- but I’ve been there and done that and so know to avoid the wrong move BEHIND the curtain.
You can change the page’s presentation layer, what customers see, without ticking Google off. Make customers a special offer. Tell them you are sorry they are seeing this error page, it means something messed up, and here is an offer of 50% off their next order (or free shipping or whatever) for hanging with your site through the temporary issue.
Error pages can lower your SEO and hurt credibility, so look to your webmaster report to resolve as soon as you can. Most errors are caused by links attempting to drive into pages that are gone.
These 404 errors are damaging and should be resolved by removing the page from Google’s index, redirecting the link or correcting the link at its source. Other errors can be cause by image-heavy under-serving (these would be in the 500 range).
The final issue on this page is to reassert security and trust. I like to write these pages with a sense of humor and ask for help. Provide a special email and ask customers to provide feedback if they see the page more than once. When in doubt, giving your audience a job enlists them into your tribe and helps create trust and security lost by presentation of an error page.
3. Claims and Offers
Lori talks about how to make a claim. I NEVER MAKE CLAIMS. I came to the conclusion that my job as an Internet marketer wasn’t to sell things anymore. I LOVE selling things, but that ship has sailed. To the extent we spoke about any claim, our credibility decreased and conversions went down. I came to understand my job was different. My team and I started to delegate the feature and benefit selling on our site to our users. That decision was worth several million dollars.
We became coaches, curators and helpers to our Buzz Team, a special group of highly vested users. Any claim on our site came from that team, not mine. We COULD discuss our values, beliefs and the facts of what we did to prove those values and beliefs.
If I took a plane trip to help you get a prom dress in time for a customer AND a customer noted it, then and only then would we confirm and complete the story. We didn’t stop making claims because the web is a huge wisdom of crowds cow palace. We LOWERED our authenticity and legitimacy when we pitched ourselves, so we didn’t.
Thought people might find it interesting to see the 5 degrees difference between someone who makes money from her Internet marketing and someone who views the Internet as his church, his calling, his raison d’etre. Lori speaks of having more free time. Any free time I have is spent right here doing this, because I am hopelessly in love with the web’s power, ferocity and chameleon nature. M
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