E’s or Evils. Perspective brings clarity when dealing with an ever-changing digital marketing landscape. Rather than debating the nature of evil in the world, let’s discuss the three necessities of successful Internet promotion.
Change. It happens. Experts pontificate and we the people are left wondering what effect it’ll have on our business. This is where most Internet promotions go wrong. Change is a constant in technology. Trying to keep up will drive you mad. It’s out of your control. Rather, focus on the things you CAN control, like the following:
Social media is here. Accept it. These social networks provide an avenue for engaging with a wider audience. Whether you tweet or not, you’ll need to develop an expertise in at least one platform. Why?
The number one reason to start using social media is… relationships. Most will turn out to be casual with mutual interests. Others will be unique, but short-lived. It’s the ‘one percenters' (to borrow a term) that will contribute dividends to your promotional efforts.
"The number one reason to start using social media is… relationships. Most will turn out to be casual with mutual interests. Others will be unique, but short-lived. It’s the ‘one percenters' (to borrow a term) that will contribute dividends to your promotional efforts."
Engaging these small but powerful contacts will help you spread the word. Yes, old fashioned word of mouth is still the most powerful way of promoting. Think of social media as a virtual version of this ‘oldie but a goodie.’ But, in order to make the most of this, you need to go beyond just posting haphazardly to your account(s).
Facebook fan pages are fine, yet visibility of the posts has dropped considerably since being introduced. Twitter tweets have a shelf life of about an hour. Google+ is dead… again! Why the dropoff? Probably has to due with users forgetting the ‘social’ and solely concentrating on the ‘media.’
Personality is everything. Story is even more (I’ll elaborate on this under Experience). Blanket company profiles tend to be run by multiple people (just in case the account handles leave the company). This is fine for Fan pages and customer service, but accounts with a personality attached thrive the most. This is why your company or organization should have a social media program in place. Active engagement showcases the ‘behind the scenes.’ Why do you think reality shows have huge followings?
As you gain fans and followers, you’ll want to prepare to receive your visitors.
Remember the last restaurant you went to? Good food, good service, not too pricey, right? What did you do when people asked how you liked the place? Exactly, you told them about the experience. Now take that exact scenario and replace it the restaurant with a website. You want website visitors to do the exact same thing.
I recently wrote about the mobile experience getting worse. So far, I’ve not seen any improvements since I wrote that article (I guess the Internet public at large didn’t get the memo). Nevertheless, user interaction (UI) and user experience (UX) require continuous testing while building a website, as well as after the launch. New devices, operating systems and platforms dictate it. It’s the price of innovation.
Once the UI passes inspection, the second half of the experience calls upon your content creating abilities. You don’t have them, you say? Time to start learning and the best place to start is with a story.
Great stories get passed around… quickly. They trend. They go viral. How you tell your story is up to you. Blog, video, podcasts, games, etc. Luckily, the tools for creation have become so user-friendly that just about anyone can become an Internet sensation. Because visitors become interested in and want to follow what you have to say, you’ll eventually gain access to the most coveted thing in promotion.
“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” - email
Let me go on record. Email is not and will not be dead. Ever! Wonky grammar aside, an email address is the holy grail that you seek. Why? It’s a one-on-one connection with someone that (hopefully) willingly gave you that address.
What’s that address worth? It’s worth the time spent creating a strong mailing list. A list that will receive valuable content in the form of a newsletter. As an extension of your website’s content, a newsletter represents a collective offering. A best of the best for those subscribers that hung with you from your initial days of social media engagement.
Email marketing solidifies your earlier efforts of Internet promotion. It is here that you prove your worth, gain acceptance and secure opportunity to fulfill customers’ needs.
"Email marketing solidifies your earlier efforts of Internet promotion. It is here that you prove your worth, gain acceptance and secure opportunity to fulfill customers’ needs."
Need more convincing? Email has gone mobile. According to an April report from Pew Research Center, 52% of US cellphone owners now access their emails from their phones. In fact, all your promotional efforts on social media, websites and email marketing should be approached with mobile in mind. We’re 24/7. I’m not saying to be all accessible all the time. With research and practice, you’ll find tools to automate the process.
This concludes an adventurous journey on Internet promotion (for now). Evil or not, success calls upon you to engage, provide a great experience and to build a massive email database. Now, go be evil (sorry Google).
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