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.
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.