Archive for the ‘Viral Marketing’ Category

No Silver Bullet For Web Traffic

April 11, 2008

During a digital coaching session, a potential customer and I were discussing different mechanisms she could use to drive traffic to her website and generate interest in her business. She told me that numerous vendors have promised her front-page listing on Google within a matter of days if she chose to do business with them.

This morning, I spoke with an old friend of mine who works in the funeral industry. He told me how he gets a call a week from vendors promising him the same success rate for prices ranging from $500 to $3000 for their services (not the purchase of the Google Adwords).

My response to all of this stuff is that it’s bunk. Sure, if you pay enough money, you can get on the front page of Google. With deep enough pockets, it’s easy. The thing is, what kind of traffic do you want to get? Are you willing to pay a premium for people to visit your site who have no intention of buying from you? Are the traffic numbers so valuable to you that when people go to your site they get absolutely nothing out of it?
Why do this to yourself and your visitors? Why pay for traffic when it is not relevant to the service that you are offering? That’s foolish. Relevant traffic is the key.

My recommendation for driving traffic to your site is this: start with unique, updated and useful content. Make your site so good, so compelling, that people share your message with others. Write your content in such a way that Google’s robots pick up on it naturally. The best traffic is free traffic. Once you have mastered this concept and have a site that is working really well, then start paying for Adwords. At this point, you should have been studying the behavior of the people who come to you without your needing to interrupt them with an ad. You will know what content effectively drives your message and subsequently the right words on which to pay for clicks.

The moral of the story is this: target your marketing to people who will possibly buy from you. Make your products so compelling that they will tell others about you. Understand your customers and speak to them directly. This is an organic, slow-burn process that demands a continuous improvement mindset.

You can’t get good traffic with no effort and little understanding of your visitors. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling snake oil.


Who’s Listening, Anyway?

March 17, 2008

From MediaPost, 75% of consumers channel surf or chat during TV commercials. As I said in an earlier post, the old ways of marketing aren’t working any more. We are bombarded with over 4000+ advertisements a day, and like any good spam filter, we continually improve our ability to filter out the rubbish from the stuff we need/want. The new model of marketing is permission-based. If my product/website/content/blog/whatever is good enough and important enough, you will seek it out and share it with others who are looking for something that is relevant to their world.

No matter how hard I yell “Look at me!”, it won’t register above the noise of 4000+ daily advertisements. As small businesses, blog owners, website owners, widgeters, you’ve got to deliver something that is unique and helps people out. The best part of all of this is that you don’t need a big advertising budget — just the ability to be creative, passionate and know a little something about something to rise above the noise.

Here’s the full post:

According to the BIGresearch latest Simultaneous Media Survey, the only way for people to keep up with the deluge of media options is to multitask with other media. Specifically, says Gary Drenik, President of BIGresearch, “TV’s influence on consumers to purchase products declined, whereas new media options such as web radio, satellite radio, instant messaging and blogging all increased. Consumers seem to be seeking information from digital platforms while TV has traditionally been viewed as a brand building medium, which isn’t providing the requisite information.”

Media that can target, be timely, and deliver value to consumers, such as coupons/direct mail, radio, yellow pages, newspapers and newspaper inserts all increased in influence to purchase as consumers are looking to stretch budgets in a slowing economy.?More key findings from the study include:?

1. Regular simultaneous media consumption for online, newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and direct mail is up from 1% to 35%, depending on the medium.

2. Channel surfing remains the number one regular activity engaged in during TV commercials with 41.2% doing so followed by:

  • 33.5% talk with others in the room or by phone
  • 30.2% mentally tune out
  • 5.5% regularly fully attend to commercials

3. Eating continues to be the number one activity people engage in while using media followed by doing housework, doing laundry, cooking and talking on phone.

4. Top simultaneous media used when reading a newspaper are:

  • Watch TV
  • Listen to the radio
  • Go online

5. For people listening to radio, the top three other media simultaneously used are:

  • Engage in other activities
  • Go online
  • Read the newspaper

6. Web radio usage is up in all dayparts.

7. Cable is where most TV viewing takes place.

8. The top three In-Store Promotions for influence of purchasing a product are:

  • Product Samples
  • Shelf Coupons
  • Special Displays

9. The top three Media for triggering an online search are:

  • Magazines
  • Reading an article on the product
  • TV

“Unfortunately for marketers faced with the challenges of an uncertain economy and the need to increase marketing ROI, new media options are impacting how consumers use traditional media, ” concludes Drenik .

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It Only Takes a Few

March 17, 2008

You don’t have to be the biggest in the world. Just be the most important thing to a small number of people, and success will follow.

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Video Delivery and Meeting Consumers More Than Half Way

March 13, 2008

While reading a post at Dan Miller’s blog, I began thinking about the changing models of entertainment delivery, and it occurred to me that Hollywood Video is going to go away because they weren’t able to respond to customers fast enough. They held onto the old model of entertainment delivery for too long and are being replaced by iTunes and Netflix. I am a Netflix subscriber and will soon be doing away with the subscription in favor of iTunes (as soon as iTunes gets more movies…). Netflix delivers physical DVDs with astounding efficiency, but I prefer immediate and cheaper. I have a Mac at home, and Netflix’s reaction to the iTunes download service only works with Windows. I will be a Netflix missed opportunity.

Companies need to meet consumers more than half way. Companies can no longer rely on the consumer coming to them any more. Interruptions are no longer needed. Why interrupt my life to go to a video store when I can download a movie? Interruption marketing is no longer a working model. Million dollar commercials don’t sell me — the opinions/comments of millions of people on Amazon and in various blogs do. This is permission marketing at its finest. You and your product must be ready for me when I need you to be. Not before, and (as in the case of Netflix and Hollywood Video) certainly not after.

Whether you run your own business or are working for someone else, the old model of selling and marketing will continue to produce diminishing results. Find, embrace and enhance a new model that puts the people to whom you hope to sell in control. Serve them well. Get them talking to their friends. Deliver something amazing, and they will handle 99% of your marketing for you.

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Creating A Social Network Around Church

March 12, 2008

My younger brother is a Brethren Minister in Northeastern Ohio. His primary focus for the past several years has been to plant churches in new areas and bring people to church who are “tired of the idea of church.” I have been to a few of his services, and they are very compelling and non-traditional. The message is usually very personal and relates directly to my brother or one of the people who has joined the church family.

My brother’s church is growing. People feel connected to him and each other on Sunday morning — and during the numerous get-togethers they have throughout the week. The personable way that the message is delivered coupled with the genuine caring that has been fostered in this community has resulted in a committed church.

I had lunch with my brother today, and we discussed the growth and the challenges that he faced as a church leader. I challenged him to think even more differently about how he could continue to engage his community and get his message out to even more people. I can think of no organization that would benefit more from a well done, interactive web presence. I encouraged my brother to start blogging routinely to share his insights with the church. Gather their responses. Foster dialog about beliefs, current events, daily living. The members would invite friends to join in the discussion through sharing of posts, and though there would not necessarily be more butts in seats on Sunday morning, the church and the church’s message would reach a huge number of people.

Just like non-profits are changing their models (think to engage people with their marketing versus interrupting them asking for money, churches (along with every other people-based venture) need to re-think how they are connecting with their flocks. Are churches keeping current members engaged? Are churches engaging enough to attract new members? Are churches meeting people’s needs and enabling their personal growth on their terms?

If you know of any churches who are doing this kind of stuff well, please let me know.

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Apple’s Time Machine Debacle

March 3, 2008

Apple royally messed up their support for wireless backups via Time Machine by not allowing their customers to backup to a hard drive that is connected to their Airport Extreme Base Station. Many people purchased an Airport Extreme just to be able to take advantage of this capability when Leopard was released. Insult-to-injury time came when Apple release Time Capsule: an Airport Extreme Base Station with a hard drive included. So, what you have is some of your early adopters feeling taken advantage of (see the complaining at MacWorld).

For all of the good things about Apple, they have a habit of making their early adopters pay. Lessons can be learned from Apple’s behavior: treat your customers like gold. Treat the ones who put faith in you early on by giving you money before you’ve proven yourself even better. If you don’t, the instant feedback mechanism of the web will hurt you tremendously.

Keeping Track With Google

February 24, 2008

Think about it. How much work do you have to do to rise above the noise on the web? Google is amazing and provides most of the tools that you need for free, but keeping track of everything you have to do (much less doing it well) is tough.

Here is a short list of Google offerings that will help you market your site:

  1. Analytics
  2. Webmaster Toolkit
  3. Blogger
  4. Feedburner
  5. Adsense

Each is free. Each is powerful. The real issue comes down to harnessing them to be effective for you. A few weeks ago, I wrote about focusing your efforts on what you do well. If you can’t focus on this stuff, it will get away from you. If you’re in that boat, maybe it makes sense to pay someone to focus on it for you. Hinutech can do it, or there are a ton of others who will be happy to. Your mileage may vary, but if this stuff isn’t your core competency, let someone who is good at it do it for you.

E In The Making

February 13, 2008

There is a great website and podcast available from a couple of guys who are building a new business available at They are utilizing the web and podcasting to show their growth and to deliver insights. The content is great, but what makes this even better is how they are creating a viral interest in their company long before they launch. We can all learn something from them and how they are looking at New Marketing in a compelling way.