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3 Productivity Tips after 9 years Working Online

May 5th, 2010 by Nathaniel

nathaniel broughtonHere are 3 little suggestions in the name of getting things done when you’re an internet entrepreneur.

After 9 solid years online filled with blinking IM screens and the world at my fingertips, I suggest giving the following a try:

Close your contact list.
Wherever you do your communicating, whether it’s email, Twitter, or some chat client (or all 3), close the contact list box.  Leaving it open on your desktop beckons your attention to wandering thoughts like:

-“Billy just logged on.”
-“I’m bored, who can I hit up.”
-“Only 8 people are on right now, I guess the internet is down in Columbia.  Or they went to the bar.  Maybe I should go to the bar.”

Terrible waste of time. Especially if your contact list sits in between your browser and your email client.  You see it every time you scan from one to other.

These are wasted thoughts because it doesn’t matter when/if Billy logs on or if your friends are at the bar.  Unless you work at Initech, that is.  Stay focused on your own self.  You can always open it up to contact someone when the need arises.  Just close it right after.

Stand up while you work.
I’ve tried this periodically over the years, and recently started doing it every day before 10 am.  I can’t sit down until 10 am, that’s the rule.

Standing up makes you focus.  Maybe it’s science, but I’m no scientist.  It just works.  You keep on task and don’t get lost browsing the news or the Twitterverse.

There are some desks that you can crank up and down throughout the day and I may end up with one.  I also think the iPad (or any tablet) could help here – you stand up and work for a few hours, then sit down and use the iPad for an hour reading news, checking stats, brainstorming.  Get away from your inbox and alerts for a bit then head back – standing of course.

Use short to-do lists.
People generally have a love-hate relationship with to-do lists.  If you keep them short – focus only on the next 2 hours, and check things off as you do them – I find them helpful.

My friend Scott is writing a book on focus and released a simple checklist app.  I actually use it all the time now (if you want a free copy hit me up).  You can only put 3 items on the list at once.

The joy and effectiveness of a to-do list only comes when you can check things off.  Lingering tasks from 8 days ago make you feel anxious.  So keep it short, and make big check marks through them as you finish.

In the End
It’s all about getting things done.  Avoid the dopamine rush all the shiny lights of the internet can provide.  There are millions of drone employees out there getting their fix clicking around in the Age of Distraction.  Gotta watch it, less you become one.

Image: Kristi Broughton

5 Ways You Can Build Links that Count

May 3rd, 2010 by Nathaniel

If you want to successfully market your business online, you need to generate great links for your site.

SEO is all about links.  Jay-Z wanted “Girls, Girls, Girls”.  You want “Links, Links, Links”.

(It might help to sing “I want lee-inks, lee-inks, links” each morning to keep the focus going.)

Every business we’ve successfully built with Growth Partner has benefitted from a steady supply of high quality links.  There are already a lot of good guides on how to build links online, and here’s a discussion of what makes up a “quality” link.

Here are 5 ways to go about getting links you might’ve not tried before:

1. Start a glossary. Any site in the world can have a glossary.  Hire a freelance writer to put together a unique glossary around your topic.  Put it up on your site at /glossary.html, and then go email a bunch of relevant sites in your niche about it.

There are also a bunch of sites that link to multiple glossaries.  You can find this with a “inurl:glossary” search in Google.  These likely won’t be as valuable links, but they will be easier to get.

The best links you’ll get out of this are the niche sites around your topic, who find the glossary useful for their visitors.

2. Start a legit scholarship. Start a yearly scholarship sponsored by your company.  Host it on your main site, with a sign up form.  Then go contact university websites and scholarship sites to get a link.

Don’t be shady about this – give a legit scholarship to someone.  Maybe it’s $2,000, maybe it’s $5,000.  Site owners might think you are not legit at first, but you can solidify the scholarship in two ways.

First, send notices out to the winning person’s school that they won (bonus: It might get featured in a school newsletter that gets posted on the school website).  Second, profile the student on your scholarship page.  Show a picture of them and interview them.

3. Anything can be a ‘calculator’. Widgets and calculators have always been easy ways to get links.  Consider this – any scenario where a user inputs a few bits of information in order to get a result can be a calculator.  That means any business or any site can make one.

Examples?  The “Find your hat size calculator”.  The “Best schools for you calculator”.  The “Laptop of your dreams calculator”.

Think along the lines of matching people with a result based on their input.  The link benefit can come in an embedded link in the calculator code (be sure to rotate them).  If it takes off, people will share it and you’ll get the best links virally.

4. Brand your blog. Years ago, boring company execs read a news story that pleaded them to start a company blog.  So they put up /blog on their site and posted about the company picnic and birthdays.  Maybe a new product or 2.

That’s weak, self-serving, and better for an internal company blog.  If you want links, you need to have a blog with some personality.  So dig into your niche and figure out how to brand your blog as a separate entity from the main website.

Give it a different name.  Focus it on a core customer segment.  And interact with that segment by having guest bloggers and guest blogging on their sites.  Again, don’t fake this.  You should care about these people and engage with them.

For the links, you can still host it at /blog.  Just call it something different and don’t talk about your company.  Talk about people.

5. Get married.
I’m serious.  Or have your employees get married.

Marriage announcements in newspapers can bring in links.  You know when they say “the bride-to-be is employed at _________________”?  That’s your shot.  Make sure they put a link in there.

A lot of companies struggle getting links from any mainstream news outlets.  You may think it’s goofy, but it’s probably one of your best chances.

Takeaway
Links.  It’s all about links.

Photos: Imagonovus and ptrol

Entry/Exit #4 – Interview with Jim Wang of Bargaineering

April 28th, 2010 by Brandon

How to Monetize a Blog Like a Pimp!


cadillac.jpg
photo by taberandrew



Our pal Jim Wang, of Bargaineering (and Scotch Addict!), came on the Entry/Exit Podcast this week. Jim knows a thing or two about making money online and he’s one of the authorities on using a blog to generate a living.

Jim’s pretty much the de facto face of the personal finance blogging space and has made numerous press and television appearances (big dog places like the New York Times and ABC).

We talked to Jim about how he built Bargaineering and he gave some great insights on how aspiring blog moguls should think about growth and monetization.

Have a listen and let us here your thoughts!

 

Don’t have flash? Want to download? Click here.

Program Outline

The Beginnings

  • Money is scary!
  • Why not journal what I’m learning?

Hard Work

  • It’s never easy, but being early is an advantage
  • Bring something unique (distilling complicated financial info)

Going Full Time

  • Began as a hobby
  • Traffic and popularity was more fun than $$$
  • Found affiliate marketing
  • Difficult to monetize a blog, all about traffic
  • PF blog network

Guest Posts

  • Network in your niche
  • Good for SEO, better for influence
  • Being big really helps

Site Design

  • Simple and functional
  • Do things to build credibility
  • “As seen in” needs to link

Monetization

  • Show that you can provide value to get better affiliate payouts
  • Get traffic, convert it, profit (Sounds easy! :) )
  • Are my leads high quality? Raise payout if so!
  • Leads are great because you’re not charging consumers to get a commission

Common Assumptions of Faulty Business Ideas

April 25th, 2010 by Nathaniel

Most new business ideas aren’t very good.  That doesn’t mean we should all stop coming up with them – quite the contrary.

But I’ve started to notice some common rally cries meant to support how ‘great’ an idea will be that are poor, lazy assumptions.

We all know what assumptions lead to.

Whether you are the point man leading a new idea or a possible investor, watch out for these.

(Let this stand as a personal reminder to myself as much as anything.  I only list each of these because I feel myself doing them over and over again.)

“The existing sites in this niche all suck.”
Usually this is an opinion on a combination of factors – site design, SEO strength, lack of dedicated competitors, lack of PPC competitors, and the like.

There are many reasons this is irrelevant to deciding if you should start a business in said niche.  Trust me, it doesn’t matter if you think the existing competition have ‘bad websites’.

“I’ve never heard of anything like this.”
You haven’t?  Neither has your buddy, your mom, or the angel group you talked to?  Wow. Sign me up.

Every idea has been tried before.  You need to find others who’ve attempted your idea, or at least something very similar.  It’s more productive to discuss past attempts or similar businesses, how they’ve done well in some aspects and failed in others, than to take 20 minutes to research and boldly state: I have conjured up the most unique idea in the history of Man.

“I have an idea for a business.  [pause]  That’s as far as I’ve gotten.”
That’s great.  Can you ask her to re-fill my scotch?  I have to go outside now.

“In 2013, we should be banking $2,000,000.”
You have no idea what the future holds, what you’re business will be by then or how you’ll get there.  I love a lofty goal (and I still will set them), but assuming a dollar figure and how you’ll get there is ridiculous.

“Just replicate that over 50 states/1,000 cities/___ groups, that’s huge.”
Making an idea or business work in one small sector is awesome.  It’s hard.

Shit does not scale to the rest of the United States just because you made it work in Bloomfield.  The real flaw here is ignoring the amount of bareknuckle sales work it takes to scale from local to national.  It takes talent, time, money.  It’s not overnight, even if it works.

“Someone came to our site!”
Good.  What did they want?  Did we give it to them?  Did that even pay for our electric bill?

The internet game is all about traffic and lots of it. Get traffic, give them what they want so they convert.  A few small fleeting visits can point to you being on the right track . . . only if you learn something from them to 1) get them to come back 2) get more people to come 3) get them to convert.

Remember Son, Things Change
Timing is incredibly important in determining if a business idea succeeds.  It makes it hard and somewhat foolish to try to copy other businesses you read about in Inc.  There are no overnight successes, and you’re starting much later than your idol company.

The competitive environment will also change quickly.  How you can acquire customers will change – organic, paid, social, affiliate – constant state of flux.  Don’t bank on how it works today working tomorrow.

There is now way you know what people want without asking them first.

Your friend,
Reality

Photo: alibubba

Dear Startups, Test Your Idea on PPC First

April 14th, 2010 by Nathaniel

Test idea on PPC

Let me sum this up in one sentence:
As a startup or new business, the amount of time you spend writing up a sexy business plan to pitch investors would be better spent running a $500 PPC campaign testing your idea.

The pain point for me comes from both sides.  I have new business ideas all the time, much like other entrepreneurial people.  I also do the investor/angel thing, mostly with my boys here on GrowthPartner.com.

You can save everyone a lot of time and trouble with a simple PPC campaign.  Doesn’t matter what side of the coin you’re on.  Let’s look at the how and why . . .

The Business Idea Side
The ‘market potential’ for your product means nothing without testing.  Back in the day, you had to rely on market surveys and other empirical data to determine if your business idea had any mettle.

That was expensive.  The intention, though, should remain with the entrepreneur of 2010.

You are lucky enough to live in a world with Google Adwords.  This is a good thing.  The costs of launching a new business online are hastily reducing to zero.  Testing a business idea or even a half-baked, half-assed business-sorta idea, is easy.  So do it.

Stop thinking about writing a business plan (that you mostly copy of some web template – be honest), and start here:

1. Register a domain name.  Doesn’t have to be good.  Starting a bird feeder biz?  Get birdfeederdepot1.com.
2. Get hosting, install the CMS of your choice.
3. Make 3-4 landing pages.  Ask questions.  Find out some key answers to the market you are hoping to serve with your genius new idea.  Offer to sell your service right now.
4. Setup an Adwords campaign and spend $500.
5. Read the answers you get.  Scour the analytics, the keywords and clicks.  Any sale or response is good.  Email your new ‘customers’ and find out more about them.

Now it’s time to reflect.

That was easy wasn’t it?  And informative? You bet.  Guarantee you have a different perspective of your starter business after a little Adwords campaign and ‘customer’ interaction.  Guarantee you saved yourself from future, more expensive mistakes.

The point is, this is so easy and cheap to do, you should do it.  There’s no risk in doing so, and the upside is possibly priceless.

It could save you from wasting 9 months of your life chasing a bad idea.  It could teach you what people really want, not what you think they want.  It makes you get serious.

The Investor Side
As an investor, I want more of the aspiring to take the time to use Adwords for research.  Putting your idea, or at least a shell of your idea, in front of the right audience is very ‘real world’.

Business plans don’t equal funding. A business plan lives somewhere else than the real world.  Unfortunately, success will only come outside those .doc walls.  Maybe you feel safer with just a ‘plan’?

A quick test PPC campaign toughens you up.  That’s what I like.

Also – How immune to BS business plans do you think a seasoned angel or VC is?  I am 27, and if I read one more sentence about the ‘market potential’ of an idea with 0 customers and 0 test customer interactions, I am going to flip.

If you’ve tried some things online, you’ll ask better questions of your investors.  You’ve saved us all a bunch of time.  You don’t need me or any other crusty angel to help you right now.  Go do, and come back later.

Potential investments that have a passionate leader, a verified business model/service, and existing revenue are so much more inviting than a fluff plan about market potential.  While you may not make it that far in your Adwords test, you’ll be a lot closer than otherwise.

Takeaways
Don’t write a business plan and try to pitch investors without running online campaigns that force you to interact with your desired customers.  You don’t know what people want. Use the easy and cheap tools the internet provides to make yourself more refined, and wiser, ahead of seeking investment.

Image: vbsuresh

Entry/Exit #3 – Interview with Brian Null

April 7th, 2010 by Brandon

This week we had the pleasure of talking to a local entrepreneur by the name of Brain Null.  Brian is based here in Columbia, MO and originally hails from St. Louis.  He’s a well known domain investor and has at one time or another owned gems such as OfficeSupply.com, GolfCourses.com, and RestaurantReviews.com.  He was also involved in the acquisition of many premier domain names such as Hockey.com and Dance.com.

Brian’s current project is MO.com.  His goal with MO is to create a comprehensive online entrepreneurial destination.  Johns Wu, of Bankaholic fame, recently came aboard and Brian surely has lots of other great partners in the wings.  Be sure to check it out.

Have a listen and let us know what you think!

 

Don’t have flash?  Want to download?  Click here.

Program Outline

Brian’s Background

  • Been domaining since Brandon was in diapers
  • Owned OfficeSupply.com and GolfCourses.com
  • Now working on MO.com

Starting on the Web

  • Domains that “obligate” you to start a business
  • True definition of a domainer
  • Vacation rentals biz
  • Web design co.

OfficeSupply.com

  • Started on OrderSuppliesOnline.com
  • Exponential growth right off the bat!
  • Acquiring the OfficeSupply.com
  • Growth in the business
  • Acquisition of the domain by IREIT

GolfCourses.com

  • First bought GolfLessons.com from same seller as OfficeSupply.com
  • Bought GolfCourses.com for $55k
  • Negotiation tips

State of the Industry

  • Market is good right now
  • Last year was the valley
  • Good online resources
  • Domain conference value
  • Domain partnerships

MO.com

  • Branding
  • Most exciting project

Keep Your Adwords Campaigns Tight and You’ll Make More Money

March 30th, 2010 by Nathaniel

Our resident PPC stud, Bryan Rahn, helped contribute to this post.  Bryan has been running PPC campaigns in some of the most competitive industries online since 2004.

As seems to happen every new moon or so, a friend came to me today looking for help with his pay per click campaign.

He is selling a book that helps to increase memory, focus and brain activity. After giving the account the old “once over,” I noticed some common problems I see with most people’s campaigns.  These are fairly standard suggestions that could apply to any account, so I hope it will help with your campaigns as well.

THE GOOD SECTION

Tight Keyword Ad Groups
The most common mistake people make in Adwords is in structuring their campaigns.  The best campaigns, those with the highest click-thrus and quality scores, are broken down into numerous Ad groups.  Each Ad group consists of tightly-related keywords.  Each Ad group points to a specific landing page containing those keywords.

That’s how you setup a great Adwords campaign.

Truth be told, my buddy’s was set up pretty well.  Each Ad group matched the Ad group name to a set of tightly related keywords.  That is, each Ad group contained 8-12 keywords that were closely related to each other, and matched well with the ad copy.

THE “HELP WANTED” SECTION

A Common Mistake
The exception was his “AdGroup #1”. It was way too broad, and similar to what I see in a lot of people’s starter campaigns.

It included keywords about Life Coaching, the 4 Hour Work Week, Make Money Easy and what just felt like random keywords. Plus, it had way too many keywords for one Ad group, nearly 100. These should be split out into smaller groups with matching ads.

A lot of the keywords also had a ‘poor’ quality score. As an example, the keyword ‘increasing creativity’ had a poor score.

Better, Specific Landing Pages
Part of the problem is ‘creativity’ is nowhere in the ad or the landing page.  It also stems from having so many random keywords in “AdGroup #1”.  Remember kids – keep ‘em tight.

Nearly every PPC campaign I audit could benefit from creating more landing pages, specific to a subset of keywords in a new Ad group.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, really it’s quite simple. You just need to dig in and do it.  In my friend’s campaign, if he would split out his ‘Life Coaching’ keywords into their own Ad group, then that Ad group needs a landing page that talks about ‘Life Coaching.’

The content on that landing page doesn’t have to be real in-depth. Just get those keywords on the page somewhere.

Think about Your Title Tags
The <title> tag on all my friend’s landing pages was “Pre Order.”  Not good.  Even though this was a no-index page, and SEO/organic CTR didn’t matter, I still believe each landing page should have a relevant page title and meta description.

Think like an SEO here – it looks better in the browser and may affect conversions.

Remember what You’re Selling
Some PPC ads seemed to leave out the most important part. My friend was selling a book, but the ads did not mention it was a book.

People looking for a seminar or some online help guide may have clicked on the ad when they had no intentions of buying and reading a book. Just letting the user know in the ad that we’re selling a book here will help prevent wasteful clicks,

Nix the Mobile When You’re Just Testing
Since he was just testing and had a small budget, I removed ads from showing on iPhones and mobile devices. For well-established campaigns, it may be ok to have ads showing on iPhones.  If you are just starting and testing out what you will get, you should probably leave them out (in my opinion).

Be Wary the Content Network
Right now, my friend’s campaign is opted “in” to both Search and Content. If you do want to show on the content network, then I suggest making a duplicate campaign, one for content and one for search. Then you can bid, write ads and track separately.

The reason I recommend this is the type of traffic you see from the content network is different than straight searches.  Run them separately, analyze them separately.  You’ll be better off.

Negative Keywords are Important
My friend’s campaign initially had no negative keywords. (Quick tip: Here is a great resource for a list of standard negative keywords that apply in almost every campaign. Before adding these to your campaign straight up, make sure there is nothing on the list that you do want to bid on. Once you confirm, add the whole thing at the Campaign Level.)

To find out what negative keywords to add, I ran a search query report.  I saw he was getting a ton of impressions, but very few clicks from these exact matches –
[focus]
[goals]
[retirement wishes]

I immediately added those keywords as negative exact matches at the campaign level, Without attention, they could kill his quality score.

Why? Because they are too broad for what he is trying to drive traffic for, and all the impressions with no clicks will just drag down the overall quality score of the campaign.

I was also able to pick out a few specific keywords for negatives -
“focus vitamins for kids”
“get rich online”
“does moss always grow on the north side of trees”

Adding specific negative keywords at the Ad group level can also help increase quality score, and ensure both you and my friend get the exact traffic you want coming in.

Takeaways
Most PPC campaigns I see have a good start, but remember- keep your Ad groups tightly bound to specific keyword sets.  You cannot have too many Ad groups.  Make specific landing pages for each one.  Mind your negative keywords.

Images: Follow*Sound and delitefulimage

A Domain is Worth What Someone Will Pay for It

March 23rd, 2010 by Nathaniel

For all the factors that can affect the final price of a domain purchase or sale, it still comes down to a unique agreement between two parties.

Your domain may have all the traffic in the world, high conversion rates and a big fat upward trend surrounding it.  It may be the best ExactMatch.com in the big money niche.  Still –

A domain is worth what someone will pay for it.

Investment bankers and the big companies that gobble domains (Demand Media, Internet Brands, Bankrate, QuinStreet, medical conglomerates) will regale you with their ‘process’ of valuation.

Key factors?
- Organic traffic
- Trend in that traffic
- Over/under monetization
- Domain strength (i.e. Exact match? .com?)
- Clean SEO
- Competing sites

That’s important stuff to consider and to know, yes.  But there’s so much more that affects how much one party will pay another for a domain.  Largely, these are factors that are out of your control.

Things like:
- Is your niche hot?
- Have competing sites been bought already/recently?  By who?
- Is VC money flowing in to your niche?
- Is someone trying to go public, so they’re buying up domains like hotcakes?

This list could go on forever.  The point is, with so much that’s decidedly out of your control, can you ever sit there and place a dollar value on your site?  Can you reasonably expect to sell it any time you get the urge?

No and no.  A domain is only worth what someone will pay for it, at a specific time, if you’re lucky.  It’s got so much more to do with the unpredictable factors than the ones you can control.

Talking from Experience
On the selling side, we’ve sold 2 “companies” that were akin to selling “domains”.  Both were sold to buyers who were looking to add assets (read: traffic, properties) with an eye on going public or getting acquired themselves.

The price we were paid was more about them managing their budget and expectations of a future payout on their end, rather than anything we created consciously with our business.

The acquiring companies got bought and went public, respectively, and now our old properties are on the sale block. Our achievement was simply a means to an end for someone else’s purpose.

Buying
We buy domains all the time.  You know how we price them?  Might as well be a dart board.  Seriously.

I think $25,000 is a sweet number to ballpark a great domain that is currently doing nothing and could become a real business.  So that’s where we start.  No idea where this came from.  It’s just what I’ll pay for a domain.

Other buyers on the market are just as likely to have obscure, unscientific reasoning behind what they offer you.  We were offered $1 million for a domain a few weeks ago, and it had nothing to do with some multiple of revenue or a trending market.  The offer had more to do with the buyer’s desire to accumulate assets, and leverage other related properties in the mortgage and lead-gen space.

See?  Right there, the offer doesn’t have anything to do with the investment banker checklist.  We couldn’t chase it intentionally.  We wouldn’t get the same offer from anyone else, competitor or otherwise.

The domain is worth what someone – some 1 – will pay for it.

It’s Dangerous out There
This makes for a proverbial field of landmines for most domain owners.

So many questions arise about how to price a domain you’re buying, how to trust the other party, how to gauge the potential, etc.  When selling, there’s questions of seeking professional counsel and the buy vs. hold arguments that go through your head.  It’s rough.

The best advice I can give you is to talk to people who’ve done it before. You can pickup some lessons learned the hard way, and try to apply it to the situation at hand.

Every single domain sale in history is a different situation, though.  What Johns Wu did isn’t what Shane Pike did, it isn’t what we did, it’s not what you’ll do.

Takeaway
In buying and selling domains, there’s no blueprint.  It’s a freaking blank canvas, so proceed accordingly.  Go off your instincts.  Don’t bank on building a site only to sell it.  Too much is out of your control.

Images: Hibb08 and Leona Shanana


Entry/Exit #2 – Interview with Shane Pike

March 17th, 2010 by Brandon

I had the opportunity to interview a successful entrepreneur by the name of Shane Pike this past week.  Shane is the former co-owner of NursingJobs.org.  He and his partner sold the site to Internet Brands in 2008.  He regularly blogs on Ask Shane and is a mentor to many successful online entrepreneurs.

Our conversation is pretty much informal chatter on my part–I’m an interviewer newb!–but Shane is excellent and dispenses lots of great advice and “insider” tips for small to mid-sized internet entrepreneurs.  Let us know what you think by leaving a comment!

Important disclaimer:  We’ve never worked with Shane professionally and this profile is in no way meant to pass his success off as something we were a part of.  He’s an inspiration to our team and exemplifies the type of entrepreneurs we associate with and aim to help create.

Listen Here:

 
Don’t have flash? Want to download? Click here.

Program Outline

Shane’s Background

  • Career Trajectory
  • Worked for HeadHunter.net and Career Builder buying distressed sites

Competition

  • Competition between little guys and site hungry beasts
  • Valuation problems
  • Careers niche is exhausted…look for new niches

Nursing Jobs

  • Start with the keywords, search for sites to buy
  • NursingJobs.org start
  • Redesign, long tail, generating revenue
  • Test everything!  “See what sticks”
  • Growth of NursingJobs.org

Road to the Sale

  • Big domain package, raising capital (Founders Investment Banking)
  • Is Nursing Jobs for sale?
  • Big companies don’t get domains generally…want to buy up and running sites

Closing Advice

  • Exact match domain benefits
  • Going for the Grand Slam
  • Tips for selling an internet business

The One and Only Way to Market Online

March 15th, 2010 by Nathaniel

marketing online

There is one way to effectively market online, only one.  And it is never-ending.

To “win” the online game, you have to consistently work on building links.  You have to constantly test your conversions.  You have to be absolutely obsessed with your analytics.  You have to constantly interact with your customers.

You also have to intimately involve your online marketing with the ‘backend’ of your business.

Then, and only then, will you create a beast of company that dominates its niche online.

Two Bad Misconceptions of SEM
There are two common beliefs about running an online business built around search optimization (organic/paid) that you must banish right now.

The first, is “Set it and forget it”.

Popularized by affiliates and early-movers, this concept describes creating a website that makes money and then letting the money roll in while you smoke doobies on the beach.  Cool idea, very appealing to human sensibilities.  It might even work for awhile.  Like 2 years even.

Increasingly by the day, “set it and forget it” doesn’t exist online.  The reason you should abandon this concept in your online marketing is that eventually something is going to change.

Someone is going to come along and kill your cash machine.  It could be Google, it could be the next net-stud up the block, but it’s going to happen.  If you’re too busy “forgetting it”, no way you will see it coming.

Consultants Don’t Work Long-Term
Number two is the idea that a consultant on a 3 month contract will take care of your online marketing.  This does not work long-term.  As a business owner, you care about the long term right?

The reason this does not work is because things change.  It is because the search engines demand your participation.  It is because your customers demand it, too.

The products you’re marketing in months 1-3 may change greatly by months 10-30.  The conversation around your product or service may shift over time.  The pimp blog review you got in ’07 isn’t paying off much in ’10.

Make Marketing Your Heart
Or liver, or lungs.  Whatever makes it a part of you and your company every day it exists.

The talent you have working on your online marketing needs to be as intimately tied to your business as you are, or else you’ll miss opportunities to succeed. Get them in on the sales meetings and brainstorm with the accounting team.  Constantly.

The “set it and forget it” and consultant models fail in keeping a pulse on your company and your industry.  It has to be there every day, in the trenches of “.com” land, or else you’ll falter.

Takeaway
Marketing doesn’t start and stop. You can’t “forget it”.  Marketing online, more than any other medium in history, requires testing and daily interaction.  Act accordingly.

Photo: Bob.Fernal

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