I was thinking today about how scalable Internet or Web Marketing & PPC (pay per click) advertising are as a service or business. I realized that they are, but not in the sense they are typically bundled under.
The problem with Internet Marketing
I think the problem with Internet Marketing lies in the platform. The computer (and Internet Marketing) continue to have or resemble a very robotic assembly architecture. Throw in some inputs, these keywords, these marketing dollars and measure the output, more leads, sales etc. Although this is an accurate depiction of what should be done (Internet Marketing is especially powerful because it empowers you, a company owner, to cost-effectively measure the effectiveness of your marketing dollars) it is an incomplete summary of the entire process.
Input and output are only the final two stages of the equation, an equation that varies depending on the company or organization and situation. Most people forget the most important parts of Internet Marketing, the first two steps.
The following are the first two steps that you should go through in order to effectively market online:
1. Know your Clients & Audience
The first step in going online with your marketing dollars should involve the first step in EVERY marketing tweak or revision… getting to know your clients and audience better.
By interviewing your clients and audience and getting a sense of what they really want, really like, really need, and really use (not just what you assume to be true about them) you are better able to select a medium or service that will properly target others like them. Learn what sites your clients and audience frequent for business or industry news and establish yourself in the same way. Find out what networks they frequent or what magazines they read and select an advertising service that targets these publications or ezines.
2. Creativity & Application
Your children, eccentric uncle, or creepy neighbor may be your greatest asset in Internet Marketing.
The next step is usually creativity. And this is the scalability speed bump.
You can’t necessarily teach creativity. The greatest marketing in any of its forms always involved creativity, at least that first time. The most successful, singular ideas, are almost always new and genuine, but then get repeated and copied and their effectiveness continues to decline with their popularity.
And this is the point where companies typically hire internet marketing firms. There are some pros and cons to this.
The pros: Internet Marketing firms have a structure conducive to creativity and as outsiders have no preconceived ideas about your business or clients. SEO (search engine optimization) or Internet Marketing firms are also typically more familiar with the solutions online that might best meet your needs or connect you with targeted clients.
The Cons: On the other hand, they are not as familiar with your company’s needs and your clients and therefore cannot always provide a solution that completely harmonizes with these two things. Cost is also an issue as SEO is both time consuming. DISCLAIMER: Be wary of any Internet Marketing company that promises your company immediate great or #1 rankings with any major search engine.
And creativity is applicable even in areas that are typically considered cut and dry. Creativity is a huge component of keyword selection. I recently consulted with a large portal that needed to drive more qualified visitors to their site. They KNEW EXACTLY what their users were searching for and had already been bidding on a set of key terms that matched.
As a laymen, I was pretty sure we were leaving some very important terms out. But, the missing terms were not yet obvious. At first the company wasn’t open to suggestions, but after a few months of constant tweaking our tremendous results helped us establish a level of trust and confidence with our client. We were then allowed to brainstorm on a set of terms.
In a matter of weeks we came up with a set of terms that completely doubled results and were much less expensive than the terms they were already bidding on. Unfortunately I can’t go into too much detail, but the portal was essentially bidding on industry terms, terms only the most qualified visitors and searchers would know about, terms only industry insiders would know about.
As an outsider we were able to see the disparity and disconnection and bid on that first stage consumer, a consumer unfamiliar with the industry terms related to that particular service, but still completely qualified.
When it comes to creativity, having some kind of outside perspective can help a great deal. Ask your friends, your children, your wife, if something makes sense to them, as an outsider unfamiliar with the terminology of your industry.