One of my favorite mentors (even though I have not personally met him) is a gentleman by the name of Seth Godin.
He was formerly the Direct Marketing Vice President at Yahoo!
I call him a mentor because I feel his direction and guidance have helped me immensely in my business career.
He keeps in contact with his readers through his popular blog found HERE .
Seth is also a prolific writer and a creative genius when it comes to understanding human behavior in the context of online marketing psychology and how companies can be successful as they develop relationships with their customers.
He is a pioneer, in my estimation, because he treads where others have not gone and he talks about ways of doing business online that depart from the conventional and traditional thinking of the day.
One of his books, Permission Marketing, is a classic that all solo online business owners ought to study.
The book is short (about 250 pages of easy reading) but it is one that you will come back to often for its insights and wisdom.
I keep his book on my desk rather than on the bookshelf because I refer to it often.
In this time of mega-spam and what Godin calls “interruption marketing,” he preaches that entrepreneurs should market in a way that customers will willingly accept the message.
Instead of interrupting the customer and wasting his time, Godin talks about offering targeted customers an incentive to accept advertising that will be anxiously received.
By nurturing and “deepening” the relationship you create with strangers (prospects), you will turn them into friends and later into customers.
Of particular interest to solo small business owners is Chapter 8 “Everything You Know About Marketing on the Web Is Wrong!” and Chapter 9 “Permission Marketing in the Context of the Web.”
The conventional wisdom of the day seems to be that you treat the Internet as a “broadcast medium.”
You shout your message as loudly as possible to the masses like a TV commercial aired during the Super Bowl.
This classic “interruption marketing” is causing companies to waste millions of dollars in time, capital, and energy because very few consumers accept Internet marketing designed for the masses.
They have learned to ignore spam and click away from messages they haven’t asked to receive. They have become conditioned to turn a blind eye to the usual hard sell techniques that were previously so popular.
Solo owners need to understand the benefits of direct marketing to a targeted audience and focus their efforts on building a permission based list of loyal customers.
According to Godin, these benefits of Internet business and direct marketing include:
1. “Free stamps” – meaning no cost to deliver direct email marketing messages.
2. The speed of testing your marketing is 100 times faster than offline.
3. Response rates are 15 times higher than traditional marketing.
4. You can implement what he calls “curriculum marketing” in both text and via web sites.
5. You can identify and talk with customers efficiently and often.
6. Printing is free.
This is just a quick sampling of some of the numerous and groundbreaking ideas about marketing online that Godin shares in his easy-to-digest style that makes reading his work, Permission Marketing, both fun and profitable.
I’ll share some personal thoughts about a few of his other great books in the future.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to get to know Seth Godin and learn from this master of Internet marketing.
To your online business success,