amazon

2007-11-25

Key Marketing Methods

Old marketing methods are failing because users are beginning to wise up (Rise Up) against the old brute force advertising that tries to win users over through sheer volume, using abrasive web-page banners, unrelated Adwords displayed on the page, or repeated newsletters (most being restricted by anti-spam laws).

The old methods no longer work effectively for two key reasons. One is the fact that they are a "flash in the pan", directing users to websites only so long as you continue to pay for the campaign, the second reason is consumers are now at the stage where they either ignore them or go out of their way to block them (with plug-in based browser or email filtering).

Let's quickly run through some of the "traditional" ways to market on the web, and their failings.

Paid Campaigns - (These only work while active) Paid campaigns may lure people to your site, but they are regularly not your target market and after arriving they promptly leave (High "bounce" rate).

Banner Ads - People hate banner ads. Most of the ads on the Internet are loathed because they aren't relevant. Seeing a banner for a better insurance rate when on a gaming site is a massive disconnect for the audience and a significant portion of banner ads are plain abrasive to users. Filling one third of your page with banner ads will not increase the likelihood anyone will care.

Adwords - Adwords (PPC, Pay Per Click) have the same problem as banner ads, though to a lesser extent. Adwords work by displaying "sponsored results," in search engine results. Adword results are separated from normal search results so not many people select them and the unknown quality in the users eye causes distrust (how do I know that a sponsored result is better than an organic result). Competition is fierce, with prices spiraling upwards, and returns staying constant. For more information see our article about Google marketing pitfalls.

Newsletters - One word: Spam. Because of the spam epidemic, users are becoming ever more wary signing up to receive mail from any online source. Legislation and the ever increasing ability of spam filters mean a continually shrinking audience (Restricting the ability to send newsletters, and filtering them before they reach your audience).

The "Old World" marketing relied on one or two large marketing sources to drive traffic with big budgets and marketing firms. You have to get people to create the "news" then you pay other people to distribute the "news", so you are pulling people into your "store" to show them what you have (whether they want it or not).
New methods for marketing

These days having other create and distribute your content for you is in vogue, this can mean syndicating your articles for other users to repost, paying users to review or rate your services, guiding users directly on forums or having users sign up to receive exclusive information. In every case, the handiwork of distribution is left to others.

Lets quickly run through some of the new "web 2.0" ways to market on the web, and the reason you should try them:

Blogs - Blogs are a goldmine to both the reader and the writer. Blogging is less time consuming and considerably cheaper than traditional marketing. Blogs give you the ability to convey your personal thoughts on happenings in your industry and your personal and corporate life, letting you really connect with your audience. Another positive is the viral marketing component where you are referenced through various social media websites, search engines and other blogs, increasing both your credibility and searchability, making it easier for consumers to find and trust you.

Forums - Forums give you an insight into what people are talking about, letting you get directly into the heads of potential customers. An easy way to find an appropriate forum is by asking existing customers what forums they frequent. Join in conversations, threads, contribute to the community and become a trusted member, then you can give your professional advice and mention what you do for a living. You should approach this as a way to get insight into what people are talking about, with the side-effect of possibly generating leads. If you approach this as direct marketing the community will quickly tell and either ban you, or develop a healthy disdain of you.

Articles - Articles are a great way to show you are connected to the issues in your industry and the wider world around you. You can either submit your articles through a syndication service, or post it on your blog, even better is a combination of the two: Choose a topic you enjoy talking about and write an article (like this one!) with your personal opinion or some helpful advice. If it is well-written and educates readers, you will already have an edge on your competition.

The theme of the new marketing methods is tailoring your content to the audience. The intent is to create something reader want to read. Marketing is not about trickery or insincerity, it's about communicating your ideas with honesty and authenticity. If it is worthwhile to your users, then they will happily talk about the content and spread it around, you have to communicate authentically with your customers and it simply doesn't happen using "traditional" online marketing.