In work, in life, in whatever you do, it’s easy to get in a groove (sometimes it’s a rut). I started in Internet Marketing before Google was even around ResponseDirect.com became iProsepct.com (around 10 years). Traditional marketing never made any sense to me. You throw millions of dollars out the window and if your sales go up, then you throw more money out the window. Actually you don’t throw it out the window, you throw millions at an agency that has a bunch of creative types and some account managers and then they throw a significantly smaller pile at the media properties and hope your sales go up so they will get another pile of money to pick through.
On the web, people look for stuff. They search. People are scavengers, all they do online (in life?) is search. Search isn’t always turning to a search engine to search. It could be reading an article in search of information, it could be talking to a friend searching for critical information to make a decision but in some form or another people are almost always searching actively or passively.
The beauty of the Internet was immediately obvious to me. People tell you exactly or approximately what they are looking for in the form of a keyword search and you can serve it up to them to generate a sale, give them what they want in an honest and efficient manner. You have the opportunity to measure results, change the website to better align with what your customers want and zero in on making more money and helping your customer quickly and easily get what they want from you.
I originally intended my focus to be on Search Enigne Optimization (SEO). Fundamentally SEO is really simple. Instead of structuting a website like a catalog or Microsoft Word with the implicit assumption that the end user (or consumer) is already on your website or in your application, you need to assume that the consumer may enter the website from any page on the website. In order to account for this some redundancy is needed in site navigation so that someone who starts out deep in the site knows exactly where they are and how to get where they want to go. The copy, navigation and architecture of the site needs to reflect the way your target consumer thinks and evoke emotions that make them want to continue on through the website to complete a sale, generate a lead or take another action that will help you and your customer achive a common goal.
Despite the inital intended focus on SEO, I ended up focusing more on PPC search which I got pretty good at, maybe even damn good. I threw some PPC traffic at at least 100 different sites. Some got only a few clicks, others got millions. If they could convert the traffic, they kept getting traffic. If they couldn’t convert then the traffic stopped unless working with them was part of a more traditional fee for services arrangement. In that case they often paid to have someone to tell what to do and push out the message they wanted consumers to hear more so than they hired someone to generate sales for them or help them provide what thier consumers were actually looking for. Is it more important to say what you want to say and tell someone what to do, or would you rather make money? The goal of any business is to make more money now and in the future but in many such pay for services arrangements, the goal of making money often seemed to get lost in the shuffle.
When you operate in a fee for services arrangement you often have to do what the client buying the services wants you to do whether or not it makes any sense. If you have a lot of clients you can make a lot of money if the billable hourly rate is high, your costs are low or some combination of the two. Over the long term, this type of business arrangement can be a dangerous one in a fast changing industry like the web. While your clients stand still and direct you to do what they want, it can strip you of growth opportunities and hinder your ability to be on the cutting edge and be able to deliver what the market is ultimately going to need as opposed to what a slow moving organization wants NOW. You know Gretsky’s quote “I always skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is.” Maybe it takes a number of concussions before most people think like that and more execs should get out there on the ice.
The web is a much different place now than it was when I got into this industry. It is more crowded, it is full of social media noise, traffic can come from many more places than just search but people are still scavengers.
Up until today, I had never purchased any books or ebooks or anything of the sort on any kind of Internet Marketing wiht the exception of Fredrick Marckini’s Search Engine Optimization book from many years ago.
Today, I decided to purchase the “Blueprint to Profitability” put together by Jeremy Palmer of Quit Your Day Job. I’ve known him for a while, always been a good guy and top performer in CJ. I know paid search, how to sit in meetings, write POVs, many things that work really well and everything that doesn’t. The thing I don’t know is how to make the things that don’t work go from not working to working. By this I mean fixing a paid search campaign or setting one up that will generate staggering results is easy IF the site is setup to convert the traffic. It’s fairly easy to tell if a site will convert traffic but I’ve got little to no skill at actually building a site that will convert traffic. When you are catering to someone else and building what they want instead of what works, what the analytics tell you works, and relentlessly driving in the direction the analytics tell you to go, it is like trying to run a marathon with your feet stuck in cement.
So tonight I finally broke down and paid for someone else’s expertise and bought the Blueprint For Profitability. Not to long ago, I came across a quote that struck me. “You Can’t Do What You Want By Doing Something Else” This should be the first step toward doing what I want and learning the things I want to learn that will power future success and growth to achive anything in the world of Internet Marketing. It’ll be something new, some actual brain food and will likely be an eye opener. As time permits and things progress, I’ll add some updates as to how things are going and share some results. As the title of this post states, “One of the Most Important Things to Know is What You Don’t” I know wht I don’t know and have for a while. It’s time to change that!