Search traffic and impressions and page rank and link building and keywords and all of that internet stuff is what most search marketers go completely batshit crazy about. Some search marketers will try to get traffic for almost any keyword that is even loosely related to their webpage, and to me, they are wasting resources and wasting their time, and cluttering up the internet while they are at it. So doods, stop, you’re making me type in run-on sentences.
In this maddening land grab of search results page property, some search marketers are forgetting something pretty important…marketing. It seems that after what is relatively only a few years, what’s been missing from search marketing is the actual marketing. This is not to say that EVERYBODY is lacking in the marketing skills, just a general trend I’ve been noticing. And, it’s cyclical, whenever a new crop of sites start going for the gusto, it’s 2002 all over again, with the links, and the spam, and the strange keywords, and a whole bunch of other internet shenanigans which Google looks like they are rewarding. The strong online sites know the value of marketing and they use it to their advantage. The wannabe’s, not so much.
But at this point, marketing the term has taken on so many new sets of definitions that it’s hard to filter out what real marketing is from what “somebody” says it is. As I was preparing this post, I was contemplating giving all three of my readers a quiz, and then I woke up. Let me just tell you what marketing really and truly is. No long treatise on marketing segmentation and age specific retail comparisons, those are for uppity ups who need to do complex statistical formula so their privates get all tingly. No, the definition AND purpose of marketing can be summed up in one life changing sentence.
Marketing is presenting the right product, to the right person, at the right time, with the right message, for the right price.
That’s it. That all of it. That one sentence is the secret to killer frickin’ marketing. If anybody tells you otherwise, they are trying to impress you and get you into bed, or make you wish to see them naked. There are very rich and necessary subtleties to marketing that make that sentence even stronger, and yes, data mining is up there on that list. But data and research are meant to help you achieve what that one sentence encompasses. If someone has a different definition that they can prove is more true than mine, then I will buy and eat one of the packs of sno-balls that has been sitting on a shelf for 6 years from my corner gas station. I’ll even take a picture of what is happening to me three hours later and post it on twitter for the world to see. That’s how dedicated I am to my shizzle.
But how do I, or any badass marketer, knows this to be true? Well, experience teaches like a mofo. It’s not the same to know something you learned from books as to actually be wearing your Stacy Adams when you get beat up by an old guy, but I digress. Each phrase in the sentence is a concept. They are not dependant on any order unless your marketing campaign creates the order. Each of these concept phrases is dependent on all the others, and each must be true to complete the cycle. Get all of them, and you have the optimum marketing opportunity for your sale, and usually converts your opportunity about ninety-nine percent of the time. Get each one right, and your gold. Miss on any of them, and you’re done. Can you still convert if you only hit a few of the concepts? Sure, that’s possible, but not as rewarding, and certainly not as frequent.
Think about it. Marketing is essentially about finding and creating opportunities, the end result hopefully being a “sale.” The sale could be the sale of a product or service, or the ability to sell someone on clicking on an affiliate link. This one sentence covers everything from selling t-shirts online to affiliate marketing iPads. Here is an example of what exactly it is that I’m talking about.
In the retail bricks and mortar world, say what you want about Walmart, but one thing they know how to do is sell products, and they use a lot of the right kind of marketing to do it. Here is one genius marketing tactic they’ve been employing for at least the last year. Toys in the cereal aisle. Yes Georgia, that’s really good marketing. It is also product placement and effective sales, but it’s perfect marketing. Here’s why. If you’re shopping in Walmart, they’ve already got to points working on you, the right time and the right price. You are shopping , so you represent a hot opportunity, and you know that Walmart discounts everything, so almost everything you are shopping for at the time is at the right price. Ok, but let’s say you are towing along a 4 to 6 year old with you, which happens to be the source of a major percentage of impulse buys. This child is more than happy to inundate you with every possible argument from every possible angle on why they absolutely need a LEGO Star Wars Droid Fighter in order to survive the next few years because they will never, ever ask for anything again. So they are hitting you with the right message, which is “Please shut this child up” without even trying. So what do you do? You avoid the toy aisle like I avoid dentists with blood in their hair, and keep on shopping. You head towards the cereal aisle and whoah and behold, Captain Crunch and LEGO! You are the right person, a parent, at the right time, shopping, receiving the right message, toys and cereal blasted to you at 300 words per minute, about the right product, NO DUH, at the right price; it’s discounted, so grab it. That’s good marketing. No, it is not IMPULSE, and yes, it is good SALESMANSHIP, but good marketing delivers the opportunity good salesmanship.
But how do you translate this online where the first step in any marketing opportunity is search? A great example would be BBGeeks. Rae Hoffman is a great online marketer, and I’ve blown smoke up her ass before, and I don’t blow smoke up peoples rears that often, but it’s well deserved. She has done an awesome job of marketing BBGeeks, and creating the kinds of marketing opportunities many of us wish to have. And when she told everyone how she did it, I certainly paid attention. How does BBGeeks fit into the marketing mantra of truth? Let’s go old school rap on this, BREAK IT DOWN:
- The Right Product – Sure there are plenty of cellular products that people go on and on about, but only two of them have captured the love and imagination of the nation, and one of them are BlackBerrys’. The other one is pissing everybody off. But the BB is a topic of conversation, and topics of conversation are often searched for and purchased online. BB owners and potential owners share some common needs.
- The Right Person – The BB owner or potential customer wants something a bit more than flash and lights. They need communication and performance, and a set of functions that will facilitate those needs. They can go one way or another, but the BlackBerry has them. They want to make their BlackBerry special, and BBGeeks shows them how.
- The Right Time AND the Right Message- BBGeeks doesn’t necessarily go after potential customers with when they are interested in the features of a BlackBerry. BlackBerry and RIM do that just fine all by themselves. However. BBGeeks is there with the right message when a potential BB customer is getting to the nitty gritty, improving their BB or finding the right service providers, or pimping out their BB. BBGeeks is there when a BB owner needs help, via twitter, or when they search a particular BlackBerry application and why it’s spouting German cuss words at you.
- The Right Price – Free is good. Free attracts. It doesn’t hold, but it attracts strongly. With a vast amount of free help, free information, free reviews, and the freedom to communicate, the BBGeeks customer is ready to buy the app, or the service, or the actual phone at a price that is now evident to them represents value.
Anyone can argue that I’ve got my analogy all messed up, but I’ve been playin’ this game for years. BBGeeks owns the secret to marketing sentence, and if you are an online entrepreneur, you can too. Make the right decisions when marketing your products or services, and follow the Secret To Marketing. It’s actually quite easy. Some Do’s And Don’ts:
- Don’t try to sell a 160,000 dollar car to a 15,000 dollar car customer, or vice-versa. See how Rolls-Royce does it. (Right Price)
- Why in the hell are you marketing DeWalt power tools to 50 year old homemakers? See how Toolbarn does it. (Right Product)
- It’s five o’clock and Mom is driving the kids home after soccer practice. She’s tired, she’s hungry, she’s got kids screaming. Not a good time to tell her about your sale on lithium cell batteries. (Right Time)
- Tell your stereo customer who is interested in Bach and Beethoven about the fidelity and presence of the mid-base tones of the speakers you want to sell. Don’t tell them how much their ears will bleed when they crank up Manowar. (Right Message)
- If your customer is shopping for one of the worlds finest leather couches, don’t tell them they can have it in six easy payments of 399.99. (Right Price)
And as for how this relates to search marketing? Well, search results aren’t just an opportunity for someone to find you; it’s an opportunity to tell a potential customer that they need you. If you have high end luxury products, don’t go for “discount” and “lowest price” in your keywords. If you an affiliate marketer representing toys, attract your audience with “fuzzy warm bears” or “fun outdoor games”, and use prices in your descriptions; Parents like low price, but they don’t trust cheap
And if you’re ever on a bus in Atlanta, don’t even mention shoe shines.