A useful web strategy

This is not a holistic approach to Internet Marketing. Ever think about what a holistic strategy even means? Holistic is a nice word because it communicates the variety of hats an Internet marketer wears. There’s the PPC hat, the organic SEO hat, the Social Media hat, etc. There are many hats but one problem. Internet Marketing is not holistic.

There is a word. The word is disparate. The word disparate means, “essentially different in kind; not allowing comparison.” Internet marketing hats are disparate. Social media is not interconnected with PPC. You can do PPC on Social Media channels, but it’s still PPC and will never be connected to Social Media. Ever. There is no interconnection between the two.  And don’t just take my word on it. Brad Geddes wrote the book on PPC, Advanced Google AdWords. Take a look at the Table of Contents. Nowhere does Brad discuss the interconnectedness between PPC and Social Media, or for that matter, PPC and Link Building. That’s because PPC is one thing and Social Media is another. There is no interconnection. A holistic approach to Internet Marketing is a meaningless buzz phrase. And because it is meaningless it is useless to you because the concept of Holistic Marketing will not help you make more money, either for yourself or for your clients.

Liberate yourself from meaningless buzz phrases

Slogans often are true. But truth changes with time. Slogans can be shallow but sound reassuring, like Holistic Marketing Strategy. Liberate yourself from slogans and what’s left? Focus.

Content is not king

Content is King is another meaningless slogan that is taken for truth. I am guilty of saying it. But no more. Here is why: My focus has changed.

Consider the top internet companies by market capitalization. They number Google, Alibaba, Facebook, eBay, Priceline, Saleforce and Netflix. None of them are in the content business. Now ask yourself this: If content is king, how come the top Internet businesses sites are not in the content business? What about Netflix? You think that’s content you are paying a monthly subscription for? Or is it convenience? Netflix is not in the content business. They are in the convenience business. Anyone can provide content but nobody delivers convenience the way Netflix does. That’s because their focus is and always has been the user experience. Convenience, the user experience, is why customers pay Netflix.

If Netflix had followed the Content is King strategy it would have been Blockbuster. For all the lip service Blockbuster gave to convenience, Blockbuster’s true focus was content and lots of it. Their walls were lined with the latest releases. That’s not the only thing long at Blockbuster. Their lines rivaled Disneyland. If I could have back all the minutes I wasted standing in line at Blockbuster I’d take a year off to visit Hawaii.

Marketing slogans are harmful

Content is King is an example of a meaningless phrase that does more harm than help. It has led to businesses focusing on the wrong thing. Don’t focus on cranking out content. Focus on understanding what the user wants and your content strategy follows.

An example of poor Content is King strategy is the ecommerce site that turns into an article website. Do consumers who want to buy green widgets really want to read articles? Or do they prefer to read consumer reviews about green widgets? Focusing on User Experience forces a business to make the right choices for growth. The Content is King approach is directly responsible for shallow content that lacks focus. Focus.

Let’s say it again… Focus.

We are not in the business of siphoning traffic from search engines. We are not in the business of building traffic outside of search engines. We are in the business of making money. Now focus.

It make sense to understand what Google is doing, understand what it is feeding on and having learned what makes Google get up in the morning and brush it’s teeth, we should also understand what it has for breakfast.

What does the beast require?

Answer this question and you will approach Internet Marketing in a manner that largely sidesteps concerns about Panda. You will have little to nothing to worry about Penguin.  Here is another word I like: Pragmatic. Pragmatic means to accomplish something in a sensible manner. No theories. No hypotheses. Just getting it on. And getting it done. So what is Google feeding on? What is the formula that underlies the algorithmic decisions that Google makes? Understand this and you have a set of keys.

Here is the key. Google’s number one philosophical foundation for everything they do, including the algorithm, is this:

“Focus on the user and all else will follow.”

Google then explains:

“Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line.”

User experience as a marketing tactic

I cannot understate the importance of understanding that the user experience underlies many of Google’s important decisions related to it’s algorithm. Here is a true example. Many years ago I was at a crossroad at how to proceed with a website I owned. To the left, was a pile of money (and a poor user experience). On the right, was a smaller bag of money, but a better user experience. I chose the smaller bag of money because I intuited (pragmatically) that for long term positioning on the web I needed sustainable growth. In order to sustain growth I needed to provide the best user experience. A few years after I made that decision to focus on the user Google’s algorithm demoted websites with a poor user experience, to be specific, Google demoted sites featuring aggressive advertising.

Think that’s keywords Google is breathing?

Fast forward to 2015 and we have something called MobileGeddon. What was that about? User Experience. Flash back to 2012 and we have the Panda algorithm, an algorithm designed to tackle shallow content with the goal of improving user experience. Do you see a trend? This is the heart of what I call, User Experience Marketing.

User Experience in Content Marketing

Whatever you do, step back and view it as a user. You will find answers and most importantly, focus.  Let’s take content marketing for example. You can make genuine breakthroughs in achieving popularity by asking,  “What does this help the user accomplish?” What does the user want when they visit my site and does this piece of content satisfy that goal? That voice pointing the way to improving your content and making it popular, improving conversions, that voice providing answers belongs to User Experience Marketing.

Focus

Focus. There’s that word again. Focus on what? Ask a question then view it from the perspective of User Experience. The answer you come up with is User Experience Marketing. Focus on User Experience Marketing and you are focusing on growth, innovation, and industry leadership. It works for Netflix, Amazon, Zappos, Google and countless other successful businesses. Now you give it a try. I would love to hear about your experiences with it!

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