Building my first web site (FoundObjects.com) in 1999 presence was half the battle. Creating a site was no small challenge. Everyone wanted $5,000 to write basic HTML and we didn’t have $500 much less ten times that. I used some precious cash to buy a book and learned how write HTML.
There was a problem. HTML structured the page but didn’t fill it with copy or images. Each time I learned one skill two more that needed learning popped up. Web development challenge in these early days centered on finding people willing to help for a reasonable amount of money or learning how to DIY (do it yourself). We’ve come a way since 1999, but some things don’t change. Anyone can have a website only a few will understand how to make money online.
You Get What You Pay For And Web Development Costs Are Going Up
In 1999 presence was the challenge. In 2012 presence is assumed. Once everyone has an Internet marketing presence competition moves from presence and engineering to the battle for hearts, minds and advocacy.
Fighting for hearts, minds and advocacy requires different skills. Internet marketing may be the most engineering-like marketing thanks to a sea of behavior and heuristic information, but cutting clutter to make strangers love your company, brand or product is as much business therapy as business.
As web development business therapist we see common mistakes such as:
- Search For Silver Bullets
- Know Thyself To Know Others
- Barking Dog Marketing
- Cathedral vs. Bazaar
Stop Silver Bullet Search
We believe in the quick fix even when life teaches otherwise. The search for silver bullets is distracting and bleeds our most valuable asset – TIME. Reject quick fixes and instant millions. People do win the lottery, but their winning never improves your odds. “Win the lottery” isn’t an effective Internet marketing plan. Anyone who tries to sell you a silver bullet or lottery ticket should be avoided. Creating greatness is HARD and requires sweat, tears and treasure.
Know Thyself To Know Others
Thinking Like An Internet Marketer values the web for what it can and can not accomplish. No web site makes a company’s communication more organized or clear. The web is a huge guassian blur making pointed and sharp ideas, potentially dull and confusing. How would you rate your knowledge of your company’s character on a ten point scale? If you answer anything below a 8 then you have introspective work to do. If your company, brand or product is blowing from pillar to post then, as Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland, “There is no there, there.” Know yourself BEFORE you create any site, blog, social media or email campaign. Compare each effort in some meaningful and measurable way to your company’s core values.
Barking Dog Marketing
Do you walk toward or run away from a barking dog? Barking at visitors has the same impact. Greatness, transparency and honesty are more sustainable and profitable than any short term bark. Barking may improve sales or conversions for a short time, but damage to brand, positioning and long term profits and advocacy may be significant and long lasting. Every day and action matters in the battle for hearts, minds and advocacy. Read Dov Seidman’s great book HOW: Why we do anything means everything. Seidman explains why values and processes are the only things any business truly own.
Cathedrals vs. Bazaars
Internet marketers build sand castles. Whatever we create will be gone soon. Building sand castles requires different attributes than constructing Renaissance cathedrals meant to last a hundred years. Thinking like an Internet marketer means organizing work around:
- Creative Use Of Convention (don’t recreate what visitors expect)
- The Magic 11% (see 1:10:89 Rule)
- Listening and Leading
Speed, passion and wrecking what needs ruination means errors, bumps and mistakes happen. If mistakes drive you crazy don’t become an Internet marketer. Mistakes are a part of the cost of being relevant in a constantly shifting space such as Internet marketing. Perfection isn’t a sustainable Internet marketing strategy. Speed, being data-centric and listening more than you talk work better. Understanding the difference between creating sand castles and accepting input from the bazaar instead of laying stones to live for a hundred years is why “Thinking Like An Internet Marketer” requires a paradigm shift. Perfectionism is too expensive for sand castle builders working in the world’s largest bazaar dodging silver bullets and barking dogs.