It has been a while since I’ve written a blog post. I’ve been doing videos for the past few months and I figured it would be a good opportunity for me to write out a blog post. I’ve been getting quite a few e-mails recently about how to win and succeed in internet marketing.
Well, you are in luck! In today’s blog post I will be discussing the 7 different ways you can embrace and win the internet marketing game. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to do so.
So let’s start off with the game theory and that the idea that, when behaving rationally and when ruling out moral consequence, people will tend to act in their best interest. This may seem like the type of thing that is straightforward and obvious, the sort of thing that has laypeople rolling their eyes and saying, “someone actually funded that?” However, game theory is actually of significant consequence not just in academia, but in business and economics as well – not to mention actual games. Far from being a simple and straightforward concept, it illustrates how people will behave given the necessity of interdependence – that is, what is good for me and good for you is probably better for me.
Take, for example, the idea of an online workplace. There is less face-to-face interaction, and one might be tempted to believe that this would encourage people to be freer with disparaging commentary or negative reviews. However, in an open marketplace where reviews are visible to everyone, no one will want to offer their services to an employer who gives out primarily negative reviews, or indeed any scathing reviews at all; and no employer will want to work with an employee who will give them a negative review. The result is an atmosphere that is polite, collegial and unusually restrained for the internet because what is good for the individual is to be good to others. Game theory, far from being a philosophy of selfishness, is a guide to recognizing the long-term consequences of one’s actions and behaving accordingly – which usually means that, in any long-term relationship (or any particular public one) each side behaves themselves!
In this example, the ‘players’ of the game are online employers and online employees. Both are working in their own best interest. If you were studying game theory you might make a sort of if-then chart, displaying what might happen to each ‘player’ where they to undertake a specific action. It should come as a surprise to no one that this kind of map is also created by actual game designers.
It requires a lot of strategic thinking: if player 1 does x, how will player 2 respond? And how will player 1 respond to that? This is actually quite a lot like the gameplay of any strategy game, such as chess, checkers, or even more physical games like tennis (where will she run if I hit the ball in this direction, and therefore where should I aim next?) Game theory is everywhere.
Internet marketing, too, is a game. In this case, it is a game played by you and your customers, and the best way to ‘win’ is to ensure that both players benefit so that everyone walks away from the (metaphorical) table pleased with their decision and without regret. You do so by creating an atmosphere in which the risk is low for the customer and the reward is high. Perhaps needless to say, in the interdependent world of game theory, you are creating the same atmosphere for your company…
Let’s talk now, though, about where it can all go wrong. How do internet marketers win the game? Here are five virtues anyone in business must embrace in order to be successful.
In today’s fast-paced world, we want things to happen instantly. Remember when we would log on to the internet and it would chirrup and brrrr and you’d wait for two to five minutes before you even got to the welcome screen? (Okay, maybe not all of you remember that.) And how today, if it takes your computer more than a moment to switch to a new webpage (even with forty other tabs open) you’re about ready to throw it across the room?
When it comes to technology, it’s all about harder, better, faster, stronger. We expect technology to not just work for us, but work for us instantly. Perhaps that’s why, when we use Internet advertising, we expect it to yield instant results. However, somewhat ironically, internet marketing is actually slow as molasses. It’s something you’ve got to get used to, accept, and do other things while you wait.
Getting new customers via Internet marketing is like fishing. Real fishermen who do it for a living will cast out a bunch of nets and wait, sometimes not even on the boat! They will cast their nets into the sea, but anchored so that they do not merely float away. Then, they will return the next day and see how many fish they’ve managed to catch.
They do not pull the nets out of the water constantly. They do not assume that their nets have holes or are no good; they do not wait an hour and then pick their nets up and move it to a new location; they do not assume that the craftsman who wove the net was no good and rush off to purchase a new one made of better materials.
They might do such things if they didn’t catch anything for a week or two, but not if they didn’t catch something for an hour or two.
Instead, they wait.
You must be like the patient fisherman and stop assuming that even the right Internet marketing will net you instant results.
Creativity and Risk-Taking
If you are going to stand out, you have to be willing and able to try new things – pitch to a new market, pitch in a new way. Your customers online are sick and tired of the same-old, same-old with which they are inundated day in, day out, and will respond better to something they haven’t seen before. Forget flashing adverts, forget ones that take up the whole screen – they irritate the customer. Try something that is catchy and intriguing and clever instead.
This takes a little brainpower, and it takes the chutzpah to step out of the line of drones and be noticed as someone who’s doing something really new and exciting. If you are doing something new, it also increases the possibility you may fail at it, but that’s really all right. It’s better to screw up once in a while than to never do anything that interests or excites you!
It’s not every day you hear that, is it?
The thing is, failure is a sign you tried something new – something that a thousand other people hadn’t tried. It didn’t work out. It happens.
Rather than hiding behind your couch, or spending all of your energy trying to ‘spin’ your failure as a success, look deeply into the failure. What failed? How did it fail? What have you learned from the experience that you can take into your next job? All of this is far more important and should be far more interesting than a job where you followed all the rules and had minor to moderate inquiries and interest from customers.
It was said of Albert Einstein that he was ‘slow’ in school and would never master mathematics. It was said of Lincoln that he would never amount to anything. Dr. Seuss submitted his first book (‘The Cat in the Hat’) hundreds to times to publishers who never bit. It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes, seeming failures will eventually lead to successes with persistence.
The Japanese mantra: ‘Fall down seven times; get up eight.’ That is a success.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether you are on the right path or are persisting to your detriment. Make sure you surround yourself with clever and supportive people whose advice you trust. The key to choosing the right people is that they will be those who strengthen you after speaking with them – who make you feel strong and capable even when they help you correct your course. Naysayers, no matter how well-meaning, will make you feel drained and dubious about your own efforts.
And remember, above all: failure is the opportunity to improve.
It’s easy to have a marvelous idea – it’s tougher to follow through. When you have a great idea, and you feel it is worth something, write it down. Don’t focus on what a great thought it is to have. Instead, immediately start planning how you will execute this idea. Keep a planner and be realistic about your timelines.
Then, and here’s the innovative bit: you start doing it.
An idea scribbled on a Post-It isn’t worth the Post-it it’s scribbled on because that Post-it now has random stuff scribbled all over it.
Don’t just think: do.
Remember, too, that it is your responsibility, no matter how dull it may seem, to maintain a budget for marketing and stick to it. If you are a beginner, discuss with some more seasoned veterans how much is reasonable to spend. Then, go shopping for your best venues.
Do not allow yourself to be swayed by scheisters swearing that they will get millions of hits for your product if only you will promise them your firstborn. First of all, they are lying, and second of all, you can’t break the bank on someone else’s promises.
Finally, it is very, very important that you have a marketing plan in place. You can’t just ‘fudge it’. If you are uncomfortable putting together your own marketing plan, again, seek expert advice or hire someone to do that for you, making sure that you maintain constant communication so that the author knows exactly what it is that you truly want. Starting to advertise without a plan is like starting to knit a sweater or build a fence and just hoping it all comes together in the end. It’s not practical or reasonable to assume that the sweater is going to look wearable or that the fence is going to be more than, particularly avant-garde lawn art.
Ethics, Morality, and Virtue
Bet you didn’t expect this one on an internet marketing gig, did you? Advertisers along with lawyers are supposed to be sharks, right?
Remember game theory – unless everyone’s happy, it’s just not good business.
Just like having good ideas isn’t enough to produce an excellent product, speaking of ethics and virtue and even believing in your or your company’s ethics doesn’t mean squat. This is about knowing what’s right and doing what’s right and being honest about your own company’s scruples.
Here’s the bottom line: no one likes to think of himself as the bad guy. Even people who are unethical by habit have reams of justifications for their actions, explaining to themselves (and to others!) why that action, in that time and place, was justified.
But you can’t be that guy and be successful, and here’s why.
Everyone sees through that guy as he comes up with why cheating his client was ‘just business’ or stealing someone else’s work was putting his ‘spin’ on it. Even as they nod, they are silently categorizing him as ‘that cheating scumbag’.
Don’t be this guy! You will lose business partners, employees, and clients left and right, and you may not even know why.
Instead, be courteous, be kind, and be your own person. Interject a bit of your personality into your business dealings, nothing super-personal but enough so that your client knows you as a human being. Be friendly. Be human.
Show kindness and humility even towards your competition. You’d be surprised how swiftly a customer can be turned off by trash talk about other customers or even a competitor. They rightfully see your statement as being far more about you than about the other person not in the room; and they rightfully see your statement as an indication that you will probably speak negatively about them in the future. Even when the customer comes to you and states, “I went with company X and they cheated me,” agree without agreeing: “That must have been really upsetting.”
Posturing is not impressive; it’s bad business.
Kindness shows the customer that they, too, will be treated with kindness and compassion.
Finally, don’t set your sights too low. Often, people believe that there is some group of successful ‘others’ out in the world for whom success is easy. This is far from the case. Success is never easy. Those who work hard and work more often in the right direction than not are the ones who are successful. Good luck does not play as much of a part in success as people tend to think.
So go out there and, with hard work, practicality, and loving-kindness, win the game for yourself, your employees – and your client…
because now, it’s your turn!
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as I enjoyed creating it for you. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments in the feedback section below!