It used to be, the only way to win at acquiring customers was to buy as much advertising as you could afford. The more you spent, the higher the results. That is and was the traditional advertising model that worked for a bricks & mortar business. Today the game has changed, yes traditional ways still work, not because it’s effective, because it’s what older generations prefer it, and they still have the money.
It’s easy to reach a traditional buyer, just run enough ads on traditional advertising vehicles, and you’ll get their attention. Today the customer with money is getting younger by the minute, and we need to market to them differently. We have to make offers that make us extremely uncomfortable. It used to be, if you wanted to get the greatest reach, you ran radio & television ads, newspaper has never had the same reach. You could run 30 second ads on radio for $30 a piece, but to get the frequency for it to be effective, you had to run more than 3 spots a day. The minimum would be 10 spots a day, because the life span of a radio ad is much like a Tweet on Twitter, about 20 minutes. So to have a successful customer acquisition campaign you had to spend significant amounts of money. The same held true for television, but at a much higher cost, not to run the ads, but to make the ad. Customer acquisition campaigns can also be considered branding campaigns, but they are different.
Today we have the Internet, we can reach more people via the NET than we could with radio & television together, for FREE! I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, I am wondering why there is still such resistance to it. The resistance has the power to kill your business, and you the business owner must guard against it, not succumb to it.
The challenge with having such great reach on the Internet isn’t the cost, it’s being found, and being heard. Hence, we have a new kind of advertising vehicle like Google, Yahoo & Bing. These powerful search networks have really just adopted the traditional way of advertising for the Internet. If you want to be found, land on the first page, you now have a sufficient budget to have that desired result.
Today you can purchase qualified traffic, which, if you speak to them the right way, will become newly acquired customers. The same challenge you had with traditional mediums, holds true with digital ad networks, you need to dedicate resources to get the desired results you’re looking for.
The secret to customer acquisition today, is by leveraging and Open & Free Business Model, where free is the driving force. Like the resistance, free has the same problem, for reasons unknown to me, entrepreneurs and business owners can’t seem to wrap their brains around free. We understand loss leader concepts, but not free, I suspect the fear of giving something away and not getting paid is far greater than we would like to believe.
Companies that have figured out how to use free, have also figured out how to generate revenue because of it. Companies like Google, Spotify, Skype, Vimeo, Twitter, Evernote, Grooveshark and many more. These companies have proven free works, and they have mastered acquiring customers, they have mastered list building to the 9th degree. It does work, but we seem to have more reasons not to use the model. Whatever the excuse is, it’ll work.
You want to get more customers, give them something they want….for free, and then figure out how to monetize your new customers. The old business models are in the genre of win-lose, the open and free business model is about win-win, where everyone benefits. Mater giving products and services for free, and you will have an entirely new market to sell to. The concept makes sense, it just sounds and feels foreign.
FREE is not the enemy, free is your best friend, learn to embrace free, figure out where free fits in your business, because free is the secret to customer acquisition.
- The Definition Of The Open & Free Business Model (owengreaves.com)
- The Future Of Business – Build Small Loyal Communities (owengreaves.com)
- The Future Of Business – Create. Differentiate. Deliver. (owengreaves.com)
There is much confusion on what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, and what it will do for you, in fact, there are many claiming it to be the end all to your websites problems. I’m not going to go into the details of SEO, I’m going to share an experience, what I’m often asked to do for a business. I can safely say, if you think SEO is going to bring the desired outcomes you’re hoping to obtain without planning, without knowing why you’re flexing the SEO muscle in the first place, you most likely would be wrong and disappointed. If your website sucks, SEO will merely reveal that it sucks even more, much like Social Media Networks do.
SEO is not duck-tape, it’s not a quick fix to a perceived problem,I’m not saying SEO doesn’t play a role in your marketing efforts, I am saying…you need to step back, fly at 50,000 feet, and ask yourself what it is you want your website to accomplish, and then work towards that end. It’s called a realistic strategy, and then a marketing strategy. To explore, to discover what your business objectives are, why do you even have a website? There are many, many questions that need to be answered long before you journey down the Search Engine Optimization road. The future of business is not about shortcuts, it’s not about SEO either.
SEO is not duck-tape, it’s not a quick fix to a perceived problem, it’s supposed to enhance, to improve your findability on the interwebs, to assist your conversion ratio, and much, much more. SEO is so much more than just trying to game Google or Bing, to just end up on page one. If you haven’t done the hard work, SEO won’t do anything if your site isn’t designed or setup to make people do something. If you’re only goal is to end up on page one, that’s easier than you think….but you will still fall short of your desired outcome.
SEO is so much more than just trying to game Google or Bing. SEO, in my opinion, should be in your marketing efforts, well after the planning and building, after you have completed a mind map of your site’s objectives. SEO is a tool to ensure your content is directing visitors to a call to action of some kind. SEO is not a destination, it will not fix other broken problems with your content, or your website, it will reveal them. SEO should be used to qualify those visitors, and then enticing them to go where you want them to go, what you want them to do. The very notion that SEO should is the solution to your site reaching page one is the wrong objective, it’s the wrong goal, you are asking the wrong questions, there are deeper reasons why Google and other search engines aren’t giving your site it’s due, your site isn’t doing the right things to garner their attention in the first place.
The future of business is not SEO!
Today marks another date on the calendar that Google disrupts everyone’s day to try a new feature. How predictable is it that we just have to try whatever Google puts in front of us? They know everything about us, so they know exactly what they are doing come rollout time.
What you may not have heard though, has nothing to do with Google Instant. Think about all the Meta Data Google has in it’s possession, all that it knows about how you search, how you work and maybe even more about how you live. But what about how you travel?
Google’s purchase of an online travel firm (ITA Software Inc.) is under review, that’s right, did you see that coming? The premise of the review is a concern by the US Justice Department, they are looking at what power Google would have if this sale was to be approved. Apparently, the merger investigation is at an early stage and very little is known about it. The Justice Anti-trust authorities are looking at two potential areas of concern:
And I quote from the Globe & Mail, “whether rivals would continue to have access to ITA’s data and whether Google would unfairly steer web searches to it’s travel services.”
Why yes, yes that would be a concern, but isn’t that free enterprise?
ITA Software is used by flight-comparison sites like Kayak.com, SideStep.com, and Hotwire.com, among others, not too mention Bing as well.
After reading Jeff Jarvis’s book “What Would Google Do?” for the second time, I am not shocked by what Google does, they are a smart innovative company that is forward thinking, and they act on that thinking rather than not. Google already has many at an unfair advantage, not because they are a mean unscrupulous run company, but because they see something all of us don’t.
And as far as Google Instant goes, we are in for some interesting times, the SEO snarky pants will be trying to figure out how to game this new search tool.
That’s what’s on my mind today, what do you think of these two moves?