Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Internet Marketing is a Journey not a Destination

This is a blog post I have been meaning to write for sometime now.  As an Internet marketing consultant I work with a variety of businesses of all sizes and industries.  Far too often I get businesses that simply don't understand that Internet marketing and honestly all marketing is often a process or journey as opposed to fixed finite projects that can be forgotten about as soon as they are "finished".

The core of most Internet marketing revolves around a web site.  Most businesses undertake the development of a web site akin to the process of building a pyramid!  They hire someone to design, develop, write and complete a web site and once done, like God in Genesis, they declare it is good and forget about it for a few million years!  They never add content or do search engine optimization activities.  They don't test their copy or test their pages.  They simply walk away from the project.  I find small and even some medium sized businesses to be the primary offenders here and unfortunately those are the companies that shouldn't be doing it.

SEO (Search Engine Optimaztion) 

Take search engine optimization (SEO) for example.  There are a variety of activities that you can do, but for simplicity sake I am going to break it down into two general categories.  Building content and building inbound links.  Doing both will help boost your search engine strategy.  Contrary to myths being promoted by some in the market there is no "adjustments" "buttons" "quick fixes" or "tweaks" that suddenly shoot you up to the top of the search engines and keep you there.  Simply doesn't exist any longer.  Those strategies worked years ago in some cases but now days the search engines are smarter and better built.  They aren't fooled so easily no matter what any snake oil salesman says.  Therefore you are left with doing it the hard way which means creating quality content and building incoming links.  You need to be working on this process all the time to insure that you are constantly improving.  If you aren't going to do it then you need to hire somebody to do it.  Simply ignorning it or doing a few things every once in a while is simply not going to cut it.

eCommerce Marketing

eCommerce is another area that requires constant work.  If you just sank a chunk of your retirement savings into a new retail store I am reasonably sure you wouldn't show up on the first day and open the door and then leave for 6 months and occasionally stop by the clean out the cash register.  As ridicoulous as this sounds this is exactly how many people who get started in eCommerce act.  They pay to create a nice store somewhere and then walk away and think people will simply find them and buy from them.  Simply not true.  A good eCommerce site is like a good store requiring constant marketing, testing products, testing copy and pages, building an email marketing list, social media presence etc.  As you do this over and over eventually you tap into those strategies that are working and those that are not and your success builds.

Internet Marketing is Direct Marketing

Most marketing on the Internet falls into the category of what we call direct marketing, which means you are trying to get people to take some type of action right now as opposed to waiting until later.  That being said direct marketing requires that you are always tweaking and changing your marketing startegy until it pulls better than anything else and once that is done you start the process over again to improve it even further.  You need to be trying new copy, pages, offers, technology, graphics, etc.  In direct marketing we say test, test, test.  That is how successful Internet marketing is done.

It is a journey which never ends.  It is a process that requires constant and never ending improvement like the Japanese term of Kaizen.  If you aren't willing to do this then you shouldn't expect your marketing to produce good results, but to those businesses that are willing to take the time and effort to do it right they will find the rewards far exceed the work.