The Internet and online marketing: musings

I am fascinated by marketing and read lots of emails from online gurus galore. I have gradually assembled some thoughts on the Internet and online marketing and am gearing up to apply these “principles” to my business. My “theories” are based largely on my analysis of my own preferences and practices.

(I am writing an ebook on how to start freelancing and consulting which I hope to offer for sale soon. I mull over how to get the attention of the marketplace when my visibility is, frankly, limited.)

Musings on the Internet

A watery metaphor illustrates my view of the Internet.

The Internet is the Pacific Ocean of information. Lots of water, or in this case, lots of info. Or perhaps I should say “content.” I don’t know how much of the water is actual info, but there sure is a lot of content.

My marketing has consisted of using a delicate filigreed-glass eyedropper to add pure, natural spring water drop by careful drop into the Pacific Ocean. On the other hand, other marketers have hooked up thick fire-department hoses to their faucets and have turned the water on full force.

They preach Know-Like-Trust (KLT) but here’s what I see instead:

LinkedIn “discussion” threads that link to blogs or sales pages and stimulate no discussion on LinkedIn.

Stupid Tweets telling me how I can be like The Donald. (No thanks.)

Short, bland, bulleted articles poured into tens or hundreds of article banks. (Wow! All those people revealing all those secrets for free. Someone call The Enquirer.)

Social networking where I can be one among thousands of friends. (Let’s sing: Can you feel the love tonight…)

Upon completing my e-book, my task is to get out my fire hose.

Or to change metaphors:

“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” Yes! Like a blow torch!!

Musings on how to market electronic information products

“They” say that marketing is about “touching” people a certain number of times, perhaps 7 or even 12 times. I believe these numbers were developed in pre-Internet days and explain the old-style insurance agent or realtor sales process. These numbers totally fall apart on the Internet.

I’ve bought from people I hardly know. And I’ve received years of free ezines from other people whom I will never buy from. (I get a kick out of seeing what jerks they are.)

Of course, I concede that there’s the matter of timing. When the student is ready to learn, the teacher will appear. And meanwhile, the teacher will flood our inboxes.

How to choose the topic for an information product? I am seeing lots of Survey Monkey surveys that miss the mark totally, as far as I’m concerned. They ask a question such as which of the following do you want to learn more about:

A    How to determine a niche
B    How to build a list
C    How to create a product
D    How to multipurpose content

I can’t participate intelligently in such a survey. I will never be done learning about any of these topics so I may be an eternal market. On the other hand, there is no clue that the individual asking has anything that I would be moved to spend money on. (But sure, bring on the free teleseminars. I put them on CDs and listen in the car months after the fee program has started.)

I think the job of the info marketer or coach is to take the incoherent frustrations in the world and distill the problem and a solution.
We may find that someone else has already stated it (perhaps a question on LinkedIn or a statement in a Yahoo group), and our genius is in recognizing its potential and turning it into a product.

Do any of these ideas resonate with you? Please share your opinions on the blog, whether you agree or disagree.


11 responses to “The Internet and online marketing: musings

  1. I’ve also been learning about online marketing and completely agree that there is a ton of ‘content’ out there but not much of it is useful information. I’m being followed on Twitter by truck loads of internet marketing gurus who have guaranteed ways of making me $$$ with minimal effort. It makes me wonder how I can ever get noticed in the Pacific Ocean of information – your eyedropper metaphor sums it up exactly.

    But you’re right, with so much stuff out there that misses the mark, surely if we distill and communicate a problem plus its solution exceptionally well, we will stand out from the crowd?

    A thought provoking post, thank you. Good luck with that e-book!

  2. “I think the job of the info marketer or coach is to take the incoherent frustrations in the world and distill the problem and a solution. We may find that someone else has already stated it (perhaps a question on LinkedIn or a statement in a Yahoo group), and our genius is in recognizing its potential and turning it into a product.”

    Only thing I’d add is finding ways to connect that message with the people who need our solutions.

    Otherwise, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Love it Diana!


  3. I agree with the problem of SurveyMonkey topics. But I’ve gotten good results with fairly broad topics, although I would present them as seminar titles. So I wouldn’t offer “List Marketing,” but
    I would have “Copywriting for List Marketing.”

  4. Barbara Johnson

    What a great newsletter! Why people buy is a fascinating question. I too have purchased from people I didn’t know much about and was well pleased with what I received. Then, I bought from somebody I had heard about, a person who had all sorts of “testimonials” and was very disappointed.
    It’s the trust factor. Your words can reach a person and inspire trust. I also know about the folks who send out multitudes of stuff and are very easy to ignore.
    Thanks for your blog.

  5. Good musings indeed.

    I heard tonight on All Things Considered that some people are going to Slow Communication – back to phone calls and letters and no more electronics. There is TOO MUCH INFO — but it’s funny that people have to be cool about saying “No” to all of it.

    It is hard to find the gems without wasting too much time searching on line.

    I look forward to the book too.


  6. It’s all in perspective. If you are “in to” Internet marketing than topics like
    A How to determine a niche
    B How to build a list
    C How to create a product
    D How to multipurpose content
    are going to make perfect sense. But if you are coming from a a different background of knowledge and skills then none of those things are going to resonate with you because that is not the language you using to ask for you needs to be met.

    You say, “I think the job of the info marketer or coach is to take the incoherent frustrations in the world and distill the problem and a solution.” This is very true and the very tools that most coaches run from because they seem too complicated are the tools that will help them do just that.

    For example, when I mention “search engine optimization” to some of my clients they say, “I’ll do that when I’m getting some traffic to my blog.” Little do they realize is that they won’t get traffic to their blog if they don’t optimize for the search engines to match them up with people that are looking.

    “Search Engine Optimization” is geek language for matching you and your blog or website up with people that are using words & phrases to search for things. If the words and phrases on your blog match with the words & phrases that “Jane Client” put into the search field on Google or Bing then you will show up in the search results.

    For coaches to stand out and be found they need to identify themselves with a particular group of people with a common interest or challenge. Speak only to those people in any one platform (e.g. on a blog). Your product offerings & events should address their needs and provide a very specific solution…one that they’ve identified that they are actually looking for and willing to spend money on. And, it is really important to use their language.

    I once had a coach who wanted to promote a program on “weight release” for people that wanted to lose weight. There were exactly zero searches for that phrase. So, even though that is the concept she wanted to teach she needed to capture the attention of her marketplace using words they used to describe both their problem & the solution they thought they were looking for.

    Your blog post echoes what I hear from many coaches. It’s all just too overwhelming and it doesn’t speak to ME. We need to make sure that we’re not doing this to OUR customers.

  7. It is getting to the point where you do see a lot of surveys being distributed out through email. In part, I think they do these surveys to keep the client happy and see what others ways to keep them engaged and coming back for more information, services, or products.

  8. Yes, I think the person conducting the survey is assessing the likely number of sign-ups for the coaching program and/or the likely number of purchases of information products. However, since the wording is too dainty to pin down if people will buy, it’s not a reliable instrument.

  9. Your example of “weight release” is an excellent example of a keyword phrase that doesn’t work with its intended audience.

    For myself, I avoid the term “cold calling” because it has such a negative connotation for a practice that I favor. But I can’t totally abandon the term because that’s what readers naturally search for.

  10. Good point! And I love your example of “weight release.” Maybe the coach thought that “release” is a more positive concept to embrace than “loss.” Still, it’s a term that is unfamiliar to most Google searchers. (I, for one, have never thought of weight loss as a form of release.)

  11. It’s interesting that phone calls are considered “slow communication.” I think that phone calls are exceptionally efficient–once both individuals are on the call at the same time!

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