“Hi, my name is Michael and I’m a Traditional Marketer”
This is my confession. Despite years of tinkering with computers and geeking out on the latest tech news, professionally, I am a newbie in Internet Marketing. But in a way, the concepts in this book are not new to me. Why? Because it’s the same pattern we’ve seen a hundred times, whenever an industry goes through the buzz saw that is the internet: disintermediation. Why is NetFlix Interesting? Why is Craigslist interesting? Why is Amazon interesting? Because of what they disintermediate, because of what they eliminate, and the value they’re able to capture by doing so. Every industry is facing this reality : if the internet can break down distance and time between people, places, agencies, then the businesses that rely on those distances and obstacles are going to suffer, or go away forever. Case in point: Blockbuster Video. Do we need a video rental service, when we can rent a move digitally via Apple TV (or the many digital cable boxes, like TiVo, or just download shows and movies on our laptops)? Nope. So Blockbuster is gone.
In Advertising and PR, what has been disintermediated? Access to the most valuable real estate in advertising (previously TV Studios and Print Media). The Internet is now an advertising goldmine (thanks in no small part to Google) . Now, I admit, the power of a genuine, in-person, relationship will never go away, but everything else has changed drastically. In short, Internet Marketing allows marketers to talk directly, specifically, and meaningfully to their customers, in ways Traditionally Marketing could only dream of. As is typical of disrupted industries, the whole ‘sales, marketing and PR’ triumvirate has been collapsed into one group of skills: Internet Marketing.
Why Google matters
First, Google. Being the dominant Search Engine on the web means Google is the entry point for most queries on the Internet. The internet is the new Oracle (pardon the pun), and the answer is almost always a click away. If your company is at the top of the Search results for a number of questions, you’re a millionaire. So how are the websites on a search for, say, “Hawaiian Travel” ranked, and why are they there?
Well, just like a popular kid in high school, Google believes “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you”. On the internet that means, the best website is probably the one to which the most other sites are linked. You may have noticed Google’s business model (charging for ads, little text links) are basically artificial inbound links. The other thing that determines your ‘ranking’ under a particular search term, is the relevance, and this is determined by the ‘density’ of a few keywords on webpages.
As I said, Internet Marketing collapses the Sales, Marketing, PR factions into one discipline. If Marketing is about listening to your customers, then Personas are about understand who your customers are. If you understand the different types of visitors and customers you have you know how to cater to them. This is no stretch for traditional marketers. If your company sells athletic apparel, how many different sports do you cater to: Tennis, Basketball, Jogging, Running, Soccer, Cycling, etc. So for each different ‘role’ you need to devote at least a page (or a mini-site) to that personality. Why? Because the targeted keywords (in the last section) will be different for each one. Be careful: if you skip this ‘differentiation’ process, your site will be totally generic, and no one will ever find it. And if each page is devoted to one persona, and one associated set of keywords, then each page should also be devoted to one call to action: Subscribe to a newsletter, Donate to a Charity, Download a free eBook. Because everything is a link, you can easily measure the success of various campaigns and pages — a key advantage over print/traditional advertisting.
Social Media (Pokes, Tweets, Shares, Pins)
In the last 5 years we’ve seen an explosion of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and untold numbers of other social networking sites. And while it’s no surprise why ‘talking’ and ‘socializing’ is popular, to many it’s a mystery why that’s important to Internet Marketers. After all, the thinking goes, ‘my customers are high powered professionals in their 50′s! They don’t care about Twitter, or any of this chat stuff!’ Which is fine. But remember what we said about how pages and websites are ranked. They need to be linked to by the biggest and best websites in the world. Being linked to by Facebook and Twitter (and other popular blogs) is a very good thing. So even if you don’t make any money of those Social Networking sites, it’s important that you have a presence there.
PR (Public Relations, Press Releases, News Releases)
So now that you’ve got your content designed to optimize Google Ranking, and you’re even designed individual pages for each of your customer types (eg. Cars for Young Men, Young Women, Seniors, Families, etc), the only thing left to do is say something. You should be putting out a News Release a few times a week, telling the world about every little thing your cool company is doing! In the past, PR professionals would craft a very ‘business-speak’ press release, then shoot it out to hundreds of publications, TV stations and radio stations, then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. When the internet exploded in the late 90′s, it got so incredibly easy to do this that TV Stations and Print Publications got flooded with…let’s face it…spam. Of course spam is annoying to everyone, so instead of spamming the New York times and the Boston Globe writers, you have to put the time in to actually reach them. Establish real relationships with the top bloggers, by showing them that you read their work, but personally addressing emails to them, by commenting on their blogs, and writing in the style that they appreciate. You can follow them on Twitter, and contact them there too. Read their blogs, comment, and cater the Press Release to each individual writer. Also, on your own website, you can create a media-rich Press page .
In the end, the secret to Social Media and Internet Marketing is the old adage: Know Thyself. Most Marketers (and CEOs) are so enticed by the rich possibilities online, they try to be all things to all people. Cater to your true prospects, using the above strategies (knowing who you are, and who you definitely aren’t), and you’ll prosper. Waver from your brand, and join the trashheap (aka. page 10 of Google rankings) of wannabe marketers who stood for nothing.