Internet Marketing – Making A Lot From A LittlePresence isn’t enough anymore. In 1999 I learned HTML and created FoundObjects.com, now RIP except on my blog and in my heart, and presence and heart was enough. Not so much anymore. Today’s Internet is more crowded and noisy by an order of magnitude.
Good News, Bad News and the Death of Average
Good news is today’s Internet is more crowded with average websites doing things in an average way. This day too is over. As Seth Godin pointed out so conclusively in Linchpin, Purple Cow and five other books, average is taken, average is over. If you are reading this post you want more for yourself and your website. You don’t mind the death of average.
It is still as junk bond vexing as ever to create greatness. Junk bond traders live by percentages. Most of what junk bond traders buy will crap out, but a few will go and go and go. I’ve been an Internet marketer for a long time. 12 years online is like 30 off (lol). Here are things I know beyond any reasonable doubt:
- The most important product you create is a TEAM capable of finishing each other’s sentences, supportive of one another, innovation and fearless.
- Do, think, analyze, do faster and better is the most important virtual Internet marketing cycle.
- The only real Internet marketing sin is sloth, any other action can be learned from.
- Presence is the price of Internet marketing poker, greatness wins the pot.
How To Become A Great Internet MarketerBecoming great online is a process. The process has common immutable elements, but its exact recipe is never the same twice. Here are tips for how to become great for three groups: those who are already great offline, those who were once great online and have lost it and those who aspire to greatness online.
Great Offline, Unknown Online
You may already be great offline. If so you face the hardest path. People who are already great offline believe their greatness extends online. It does not. Online greatness must be earned it is never granted by fiat. You can win a Nobel and your PageRank will still stink if you don’t obey Internet marketing’s laws. Here is how you can become great online too:
- Strip your assumptions bare, become tabula rasa (blank slate_.
- Curate those who think you are great offline.
- Share credit those you think you are great AND those you don't love you.
- Be humble.
Once Great Online, Now Not So Much
Internet marketing is like predicting the weather. Predict the weather long enough and you are bound to blow a forecast here or there. If your online reputation is suffering from such short term problems don’t worry it will bounce back on its own as the majority of information about you presses the outlier information further to the margin. Speed the process by sharing your human failure in a straightforward and honest way.
It is difficult to come back from an institutional, “We don’t get it.” I had one of these situations when, as a Director of Ecommerce, my company continued to feed millions into print advertising long after such investment provided return. Read Seth Godin’s great little book The Dip to know when you are in a short term dip vs. a long term dead-end then hang with the one and leave the other.
Solving the don’t get it problem takes skill I frankly haven’t mastered. I try to use shock therapy and this never works. People in denial can’t be shocked back to life. Denial requires a Made To Stick (another great Heath Brothers book) argument. Wrap the shock of the new thing in the skin of the old. I stink at this. I see the new thing and want to shout it from the rooftops. Shouting drives the denial tribe further underground. Here are ways friends (Red Maxwell at OnRamp Branding for one example) help those in denial:
- Tell A Story.
- Share A Book.
- Find A Trusted Intermediary (Red and Seth Godin are life long friends).
- Help “deniers” visualize a positive future and their role in it.
Want To Be Great Online
To be great online you must have elevator fast responses to these questions:
- Why are you, your company, products and brands different?
- Who loves you baby?
- Why should strangers love you?
- How are you saving the world in some measurable way?
To achieve your aspiration of being great online you must answer every one of these process questions in the affirmative:
- Can you fail and go again, fail and go again, fail and go again?
- Do you WANT to create greatness?
- Are you willing to sacrifice ego, assumptions and your past to become great?
- Do you believe in black swans?
- Do you believe greatness is more learned than genetic?
- Do you believe in a combination of perspiration and inspiration?
- Can you value your team and relationships above any short-term glitch, problem or mess up?
- Can you take harsh feedback and find useful information in it (after you calm down lol).
- Can you be honest, real and naked as a J Bird in front of millions?
Good luck. Let me know if I can help. Share your stories of creating greatness.
PS. Forgot to mention and Mark just reminded me, the two best books to help with align values ad company to greatness are Jim Collins Good To Great and Built To Last.