Internet marketing has evolved significantly in the few short years that the Internet has been available to the masses. Strategies, tactics, and methods of business marketing and promotion seem to come and go at an ever accelerating pace.
It pays (literally) to stay on top of what’s working at the moment because the “time to market” and the “time to saturation” are also quickening. If you rest to long in any one spot, if you decide to take a break and give your business a rest for awhile, the cutting edge marketers will disappear on the horizon in front of you and you will be left scratching your head wondering where you went wrong!
There are reasons why you need to stay abreast of the trends in online marketing:
1. Innovation. Pay attention to it and try to stay on the leading edge of innovation in your niche and marketplace. You don’t necessarily have to be the innovator but you should learn to differentiate true innovations from fads. Be one of the first marketers to grab hold of innovation as an early adopter and you will be paid well for being alert and a quick responder. The masses typically grab hold of fads and short-lived schemes and end up lost in the crowd left behind by the smart and agile first adopters.
2. Market sentiment. The consumer is a fickle fellow or gal. Here are a few examples: it used to be cool to smoke, then smoking became a vice and a health hazard. I love donuts and grew up with donuts always around the house when I was a kid. Now they are rarely ever seen in my kitchen for good reason, yet I still love them. If you wanted to get ahead as a young adult, you went to college and worked in a related corporate job. Now many college grads can’t launch their chosen careers because jobs are scarce and competitive. So many young people are turning to alternative careers for training, entrepreneuring, and flying solo as a business owner or freelancer.
3. Marketing abuse. We marketers are often our own worst enemies! Someone discovers a new strategy that absolutely drives big sales and decides to share it. (Or maybe others figure out what the marketer is doing and copy it.) Inevitably, the idea either becomes so common that prospects begin to ignore it – or – marketers abuse it and pervert it to the point that the strategy loses all its effectiveness. Much of the abuse in marketing seems to come from slip-shod and short-cut attempts to remove all the work from the strategy and the result is often scammy and hollow (valueless) garbage.
4. Marketing credibility. Let’s face it – if you don’t market in certain ways your business will be perceived as archaic and behind the times. For instance, what marketer can afford to ignore social media marketing these days? Can you afford not to have a Facebook presence (or Twitter or Instagram) if you have many customers that use social media on a daily basis? Technology has become a huge part of most businesses. It’s a way to do market research (using the latest technology), marketing, customer service, transacting financial exchanges, product creation and fulfillment, and delivery and followup. If you don’t take advantage of all that technology makes available, your business will suffer in most cases.
5. Market demand. One of the most important aspects of marketing online is to understand what the niche marketplace wants, needs, and desires. Why? Marketers should always sell into demand. Given the size of the online audience, marketing is best done when the audience you’re marketing too is demanding the same solution or product type. When that happens, online marketing can be extremely focused and relevant to the audience. Technology allows the marketer to assess and analyze demand up front by looking for it online – before actually creating or choosing a product to satisfy the audience. Many small business owners wrongfully believe that they know and understand what their market wants. Never fall into that trap . . . you are not your audience!
A few examples of marketing strategies that I think have been abused: free plr ebooks to introduce a product or service, niched mini-sites (build thousands and collect $1/day from each one, so the saying goes), private blog networks, cookie-cutter affiliate review sites, paid back linking and blog posting, self-anointed guru status, and article directory marketing, among others.
I think pitch-fest webinars are the latest example of a strategy that is being abused and I predict they will become less and less effective as a marketing tool. I used to love webinars. Now most have gotten to the point that they are difficult for me to sit through. Listening to increasingly little valuable content, having to endure the ultimate pitch session, then sitting through endless questions and comments from listeners who would be better served emailing support … it’s a painful experience. Fake “live” webinars (recorded sessions that marketed as happening live) have become commonplace.
What are your thoughts? Have you experienced other marketing strategies that seem to be going downhill?
How well do you keep up with the times in your own business?
Thanks for any input you’d like to share.