One of the most important principles of doing business online is the push-pull principle. You “push” your content out and “pull” your prospects in. But in order for this principle to work, your content has to be findable. You have to make it easy to find by the type of people you want to find you. The best way to make that happen is to start with a simple inventory.
How are people finding you now?
There are various ways to be found online. Here are a few easy ones to pick:
- Your website
- Your blog
- Other blogs in your niche
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Paid advertising
- Organic search
- Podcast directories
- Business directories
There are others, but the point is, you need to take inventory. If you don’t know how people are finding you, then you need to take some time and figure that out before you go on.
After finding out how you are currently being found, do an inventory of your content assets. What resources do you have available to push your content out to the places you are more likely to find prospects to pull in?
Having a good idea about what assets are at your disposal is critical to being able to use them effectively. Once you know what is available, you can put together a content strategy to reach the type of people you want to reach. Create awesome content that pulls people in to your sales funnel – then sell them what you have to offer.
We are heading towards that really silly time of year where post after post tries to predict what 2011 will look like. It’s interesting to go back to last year’s predictions and, surprise surprise, apart from the social media and its effect on internet marketing, few made predictions either accurate or worthwhile. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking forward – if you’re in business, then that should be a constant in your life.
What is interesting is to look back over the last twelve months. What has worked (and what hasn’t)? I don’t necessarily mean within your own business either since you should be making note of what your competitors are doing, what is working for them, and whether or not you have made up any ground, lost ground, or shot ahead of them.
You should also be looking at how others are using social media, particularly Facebook, and comparing it to your own attempts. Social media marketing is by no means new, however, the approaches required on sites like Facebook is new. A lot of businesses taking the Facebook approach are doing so without any history to guide them – much of it is trial and error – so we can learn from their attempts.
I don’t need a crystal ball to see where internet marketing is going. Social has become the main channel and that is being mastered in two ways: offering something unique or special; and by opening your business to true multi-way communications. Search is not dead, social is not yet king, but customers are increasing online at a rapid rate. Our internet marketing has to satisfy their needs using the best in pull marketing.
Internet marketing has few dos and don’ts. There are not a lot of rules and best practices is largely a matter of experimenting to see what works. Most Internet marketers today have learned from others who have gone before them and pioneered the strategies that are in common use. But there is one big, huge don’t – a practice that everyone detests and that will do your business more harm than good.
The big Don’t in Internet marketing is Don’t Spam. That’s easier said than done.
Most small businesses going online today to market their businesses listen to SEOs and Internet marketers who are simply trying to sell a service. Nothing wrong with running a business, but spamming the people you want to become your customers is not the answer.
Online, marketing is about building relationships, otherwise called Pull Marketing. It is about drawing people to you with a message that will make them want to see you out. It isn’t about “pushing” your product or service upon them in hopes that they will see its value. This kind of marketing is different than the kind of marketing that most small business owners are used to, but it is a type of marketing that is effective online. We hope you’ll see its value for you.