|There's a game which I
sometimes play with marketers when they talk to me on the phone.|
in the many years or that I've been an online publisher (since 1996) it
illustrates one of the things which hasn't changed on the web.
(mostly) search for and learn about new companies and products in a different
way to you.
If you sell an IT product or service on the web and go
about searching for your own company and competitors - you already know what
your company is called, what your product is called and what common terms /
acronyms will find your company in a web search.
may not know any of those things to start with.
They might get to know
about your kind of product or company through articles or news stories.
their interest grows they'll go to sites that talk a lot about similar things.
The more they learn - before they come across you - the harder your task will be
to convert them. Because their initial raw unformed opinions rapidly
transform into informed expert views, expectations and brand awareness within
minutes of researching the new topic online in a trusted context.
after all that, they do get to your website the experience for new visitors is
often off putting.
You'd be surprised how many companies want to
advertise a product that is barely (if at all) mentioned on their web site.
Hiding your best selling product in a maze that can't be reached from your home
page is common too.
You may argue that the ad takes the visitor to
your chosen landing page. I'll counter that by saying that an intelligent
customer (who hasn't heard of your company before) will often independently go
to your website to get another view of what you do. After doing that - they
may not be able to retrace their steps to find the original ad with the magic
landing page url they need.
It happens with PR too. I follow up
thousands of new product press releases to find that there isn't anything
about the recently launched product on the vendor's website at all. Having it
there days after it first appears on a trade publication news page is too late
to do most good.
Or how about this? Does your website say what your
company does? Or who your ideal customers are?
Visitors find it
helpful to compare that kind of statement with themselves and their own needs.
But it's not unusual for me to see company descriptions that haven't changed
since the founders did their first business plan. The company profile text is so
vague (or all encompassing) that it actually says nothing at all.
the stuff on your web site doesn't look like it has anything to do with the ad
messages or PR that you've been spreading around the web - then a high
proportion of the visitors you get will lose interest at that point.
An intelligent buyer should get a good feeling that they've come to the right
place when they get to your site. All too often they just start a futile
navigational nightmare and wonder if the link took them to the right place.
you start an ad campaign you should make sure that you invest at least as much
content in your own web site to support the ad - as you spend on the advertising
and related PR.
The web sites you should be investing more time with -
are those which your customers and future potential customers use to learn about
Most marketers make the mistake of thinking
that search-engine advertising or optimization are the start and the end of
everything they need to concern themselves with. Tick those boxes and the web
marketing is done...
My belief is that the surfers using the ad
words and search terms you spend most of your money and brainpower on - are not
potential customers at all - but are more likely to be your competitors in the
same business - trying to research and improve their own web marketing.
is confirmed by marketers who admit they get lots of traffic from their search
engine ads - but relatively little business.
Find out where your
customers invest their time learning about your market - and that's where you
should put effort too. Customers search differently to you. And in this case the
customer is always the right model to follow.
Strategies in the SSD Market - Few people cared much about the solid
state disk market during most of the first
20 years I
reported on it. In
became a multibillion dollar market. In 2019 it could be worth $100 billion /
year. A lot more companies which had never even heard of this market until
recently are starting to take notice.
- PR Strategies:
Remember, the web has no memory! - Can you remember what your home page
looked like back in 1996? Maybe you think that's not important right now. Like
global warming, you suspect there may be some problems accumulating somewhere
because of all this web stuff, but it's only when your house gets flooded, you
really start to believe in it.
- The 4 Seasons of Publicity
- Building an All-Year Publicity Machine - In this age of immediacy (only a
few seconds separate a Matt Drudge or a CNN from writing a story and putting it
before millions), it's easy to forget that, for many print publications and TV
shows, it can be weeks -- and sometimes months -- before a completed story sees
the light of day.
|8 years later (2016) - how effective are
linkedin and twitter for B2B awareness?|
One of the biggest
bottlenecks to future growth in the market I care about is the same as it's
always been - education and comprehension. How do you get the message across to
someone you meet online for the first time? -
anyone really listening any more?
3 years later (2011):- here's another article on how customers
Me While I Have A Ranking Report Rant is an amusing (but serious)
article by Conrad Saam-
published in February 2011 - on searchengineland.com.
I suspect that many of you too get thrilled when you see your own site
appear top of the page for a search term which real customers looking for your
product would never think of using. ...read
- Press Release Errors I see
every day - Every month I have to disregard thousands of press releases,
which vendors have paid good money to their agencies to write and distribute.
Here are some of the common reasons why.
- The Golden Keys of
E-Commerce - Domain names are no longer small issues to be handled by the
booming logo-centric-slogan-happy-agencies or web-tech-teams.
- Green Storage -
my new year resolution for 2008 is to see how many months I can go without
running a story including this abused term.
Linkrot - this article, written by web usability sage Jakob Nielsen, is
just as relevant today as it was back in 1998 when he first wrote it.
- Think of Web Ads
as Signposts - they can lead the right people to your destination. But give
them a credible message so that the brain follows the mouse click for sound
business reasons. Ideally the ad should also signal to the wrong type of
customer they can filter themselves out at this point and not waste their
time and yours by following this path.
- Venture Capital Funds in
Storage - If you're starting a new storage company where can you go to get
money? - I was asked that question so many times that in 2000 I started a list
of which VCs were giving how much to whom. It lists the failures too. It's
important to have a good story for your prospective VC if your business idea
sounds similar to an earlier one that tanked.
- 7 laws of direct marketing
- The late Isaac Asimov managed to write volumes of entertaining stories which
revolved around his three fundamental laws of robotics... The stories showed
that complex behaviour can result from apparently simple origins.
- Aspects of Web
Advertising - This classic article from 2000 outlines the theoretical
framework behind the major types of online ads.
- Rethinking the
Banner Ad - There are 2 sets of viewers who see you banner ad, and you
should cater for both. The most important set, are the 94% to 99.5% who are
typically going to see the banner, but not click on it at that moment in time.
What impression are they left with after seeing the banner?
- Where B2B IT Web
Advertising Works Best, and Why - I often talk to B2B computer advertisers
who after disappointment with search-engine advertising ask me why advertising
in a portal should be any better? They get hits, from their key word
advertising but not much business.
Reader to Advertiser Ratios are Important to Advertisers - Another way to
apply this kind of ratio is to look at expos. If you divide the total number of
visitors by the total number of booths... That can give you numbers which are
scary, especially when you factor in all the costs. So don't do it if you're the
- Smashing the Myth of the
Press Release - Publicity "gurus" are springing up all over the
Internet touting the press release as the answer to all marketing ills. Just
knock out a release, mass e-mail it to journalists, sit back and wait for Oprah
to call. It's a cruel joke. Here's the reality:
- The Mysteries and
Future of Websites - Either your customers can find you easily or you're
simply lost. No amount of money can create a bounce to your expensive websites
or your big budget branding in these times, except your alpha-structure of your
- Why Batching Up
Press Releases is a Bad Idea for the Web - When it comes to delivering
physical goods, it's a good idea to batch up several items and send them in one
package. It saves time and money. However when it comes to issuing press
releases, this is almost always a bad idea.