Welcome To The Show That Never Ends
Instantly in love the first time I saw a website (early 1990s) something tectonic shifted. I knew the feeling. In 1982 not long after graduating from Vassar I purchased my first computer, an Apple. I climbed up on a soapbox and started preaching.
When I was asked to come to M&M/Mars Headquarters for training. I drove down from Buffalo to bring the Apple with me. I told everyone who would listen about this cool new thing called a “personal computer”. A group came over to my hotel room to see the marvel.
When we created FoundObjects.com in 1999 (gone now sadly), I was home. Internet marketing and websites require such a strange mix of right brain creative and left brain engineering my liberal arts education and love of art, science and fiction found a home.
Reading this post now means you are either new to Internet marketing and the web or have been tipping a toe in and now want to dive in. There is good and bad news.
Good and Bad News
The good news is it has never been easier to become an Internet marketer. The bad news is becoming an Internet marketer is so easy everyone is doing it and, ironically, that makes Internet marketing vastly more difficult.
Let’s start slow and simple with 3 ideas:
- Purpose of a website.
- Purpose of a blog.
- Social media.
At their core websites are a two way communication medium. We didn’t start that way. When I created my first website in 1999 we shared information without thinking about having a conversation. Anything online today in our social, mobile and global time is a two way communication.
Send information out and expect to get feedback, feedback that requires response and may mean changing your website, business plan or marketing. If your website or other digital properties aren’t supported by engagement your website will exist in a room by itself. “Engagement” means more visitors spending more time and “converting”. Conversion can be anything from filling out a form to making a purchase.
Interaction, communication and feedback is the purpose of any website today. Yesterday I wrote, “Own the conversation, own the traffic,” and conversations are always two way communication so expect to listen more than you talk. How to design a website as a two way communication tool is beyond today’s scope. Be aware that how you code, present and support content on your site matters.
Blogs emerged in the late 1990s as an easy publication tool for online journals and diaries. Blog content plays well with search engines and most of your visitors will start on a search engine. Blogs are seen as immediate and happening now.
Blogs are also a commitment. If you blog once a month without knowing it you are breaking a promise. Blogs need a daily or several times a week commitment to not break the promise made in the word “blog”.
Blogs are critical to your Internet marketing success because they are immediate, informative and easy to interact with. Anyone who says your Internet marketing doesn’t need a blog is wrong. “Blog” can also be a confusing term since some “websites” are made from blogging tolls like WordPress. Writing an article for Curattti.com about the difference between blogs and websites so keep an eye out next week.
Social media is where conversational rubber meets road. Don’t create a social media plan where you Tweet 12 times a day, Facebook 1 time a day and Gplus 5 times a day because social media is more dynamic than such static “rules”. Use social media to support your Internet marketing and to support your listening.
You need a Facebook page, a Twitter handle and a Gplus account (at least). Each of these tools excel at supporting your nascent Internet marketing, but they excel in different ways:
* Twitter – Twitter is the “radio” of the web. Use Twitter to share what is happening today. Follow related experts, Retweet related content and ReTweet people who ReTweet you. Be sure to say THANKS too. You may want to read about how Twitter works (since some of its features can be hard to grasp).
* Facebook - Facebook is the friendly people picture and video hub of the web. Use Facebook to humanize your company or brand, ask great questions and get LIKES and SHARES (both help with Search Engine Optimization or SEO).
* GPlus – GooglePlus is a series of tools that B. L. Ochman, a GPlus guru, describes as “Not just another social network but a revolution in online communication,” we tend to agree. If you are new to the web the GPlus learning curve can feel steep, but there is more “blue ocean” (uncontested space) on GPlus than anywhere else so we suggest you make a real commitment to getting over the GPlus learning curve. Start by following Mark Traphagen and learn fast.
Internet Marketing – The Show That Never Ends
Once you begin Internet marketing you’ve agreed to a covenant. The covenant is between search engines and your visitors and it is simple but must be adhered to or a hard rain falls. You agree to create helpful content, to listen at least as much as you talk and get better in ever faster loops.
Create a website with a blog and hang on since you are about to walk on the moon.