Benjamin Franklin said insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” and that’s what many business have been lured into by using traditional marketing methods in the online world.
There are two general choices for marketing online, static marketing (traditional) and organic marketing (where users decide what information is worth spreading), both are effective however the static marketing campaign is far more costly and losing it’s effectiveness as the number of business using static campaigns continues to grow.
“Old marketing methods are failing because users are beginning to wise up Rise Up against the old brute force advertising that tries to win users over through sheer volume, using abrasive web-page banners, unrelated Adwords displayed on the page, or repeated newsletters, most being restricted by anti-spam laws,” says ProActive Software Ltd’s CEO Julian Stone who’s company has been researching online marketing methods in the hope of finding a better way to promote their product.
ProActive Software Ltd, the flagship company for project management software ProWorkflow.com, has been using various forms of online marketing for the past five years and has recently changed their approach to online marketing, rejecting traditional static marketing, to organic marketing with solid results.
“Online businesses are coming to the realization that in an organic environment like the Internet, organic marketing is required. Paying for traditional or static marketing only gets you so far before it becomes ineffective,” says Stone.
Stone says that the use of traditional advertising models which have been adapted from the print sector for use in online advertising are flawed and more targeted methods need to be developed so business waste less money advertising to customers outside of their target market.
“The old methods no longer work effectively for two key reasons. One is the fact that they are a flash in the pan, directing users to websites only so long as you continue to pay for the campaign, the second reason is consumers are now at the stage where they either ignore them or go out of their way to block them with plug-in based browser or email filtering.”
ProActive Software’s research found some major pitfalls in the most common online marketing methods;
- Paid Campaigns – These only work while active. Paid campaigns may lure people to your site, but they are regularly not your target market and after arriving they promptly leave creating a High ‘bounce’ rate.
- Banner Ads – People hate banner ads. Most of the ads on the Internet are loathed because they aren’t relevant. Seeing a banner for a better insurance rate when on a gaming site is a massive disconnect for the audience and a significant portion of banner ads are plain abrasive to users. Filling one third of your page with banner ads will not increase the likelihood anyone will care.
- Adwords – Adwords (PPC, Pay Per Click) have the same problem as banner ads, though to a lesser extent. Adwords work by displaying ‘sponsored results,’ in search engine results.Adword results are separated from normal search results so not many people select them and the unknown quality in the users eye causes distrust (how do I know that a sponsored result is better than an organic result). Competition is fierce, with prices spiraling upwards, and returns staying constant. For more information see our article about Google marketing pitfalls.
- Newsletters – One word: Spam. Because of the spam epidemic, users are becoming ever more wary signing up to receive mail from any online source. Legislation and the ever increasing ability of spam filters mean a continually shrinking audience restricting the ability to send newsletters, and filtering them before they reach the audience.
In highlighting the pitfalls of current marketing methods ProActive Software Ltd was left looking for a better way to market their product ProWorkflow.com and started to investigate organic marketing methods.
“These days having others create and distribute your content for you is in vogue, this can mean syndicating your articles for other users to repost, paying users to review or rate your services, guiding users directly on forums or having users sign up to receive exclusive information. In every case, the handiwork of distribution is left to others,” says Stone.
ProActive Software Ltd’s research has received good results early on from several different avenues of organic marketing which include;
- Blogs – Blogs are a goldmine to both the reader and the writer. Blogging is less time consuming and considerably cheaper than traditional marketing. Blogs give you the ability to convey your personal thoughts on happenings in your industry and your personal and corporate life, letting you really connect with your audience. Another positive is the viral marketing component where you are referenced through various social media websites, search engines and other blogs, increasing both your credibility and searchability, making it easier for consumers to find and trust you.
- Forums – Forums give you an insight into what people are talking about, letting you get directly into the heads of potential customers. An easy way to find an appropriate forum is by asking existing customers what forums they frequent. Join in conversations, threads, contribute to the community and become a trusted member, then you can give your professional advice and mention what you do for a living. You should approach this as a way to get insight into what people are talking about, with the side-effect of possibly generating leads. If you approach this as direct marketing the community will quickly tell and either ban you, or develop a healthy disdain of you.
- Articles – Articles are a great way to show you are connected to the issues in your industry and the wider world around you. You can either submit your articles through a syndication service, or post it on your blog, even better is a combination of the two: Choose a topic you enjoy talking about and write an article (like this one!) with your personal opinion or some helpful advice. If it is well-written and educates readers, you will already have an edge on your competition.
The theme of the new marketing methods is tailoring your content to the audience. The intent is to create something readers want to read. Marketing is not about trickery or insincerity, it’s about communicating your ideas with honesty and authenticity. If it is worthwhile to your users, then they will happily talk about the content and spread it around, you have to communicate authentically with your customers and it simply doesn’t happen using ‘traditional’ online marketing.
Stone issues a word of caution to businesses looking for new ways to market online.
“If you try any of the above methods but approach them traditionally, as a direct marketing channel, then not only will you annoy a great deal of users, you can also damage your company image. Again I stress the above point, make the content something people want to read, not just marketing material.”
For the full research document and more about online marketing check Julian101.com or check out the links below:
Anyone is welcome to republish this article as free online content, provided that the paragraph below is included in the full form as shown.
About the authors:
Julian Stone, CEO – Project, Task & Time Management specialist for: ProActiveSoftware.com, ProWorkflow.com & Julian101.com
Peter Hodge, Editor/Writer – UnderdogPR.co.nz
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About The Author:
Julian Stone begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting is the CEO of ProActive Software, developers and creators of the leading web based project management software http://www.proworkflow.com.