How Not To Promote Your Business On The Internet

December 6, 2008

If you want to promote your business on the Internet, do it right. If you make some of these mistakes when you try to promote your business, you could do it more harm than good.

1. Using keyword stuffed names in blog comments and on social networking sites, is a foolish way to promote your business. Folk can’t have a serious conversation with someone called “WoodenFurniture” or “ColonMadness”(yes I really saw that name on Twitter). And building any sort of relationship would be out of the question.

2. Talking persistently on Twitter about how you’ve got almost 2000 followers. Nothing makes folk hit the unfollow button quicker. Folk in social networks want friends who are going to join in the conversation, not count them like sheep.

3. Ripping people off.
I was promoting an affiliate product on this blog and the seller offered one of my readers the product for free, if she bought an additional product from her. That was really scammy, as it meant I wouldn’t get any commission for promoting her product. I complained, giving her the opportunity to put things right. But instead she ignored me and wrote a lengthy, drivelling blog post about how she deserves to make money.

If one person calls you a scamming bitch, some folk might think that person has a grudge against you and give you the benefit of the doubt. But do it more than once, maybe someone will write about it and link to other articles or videos that have called you out. And no matter how much you try to promote your business, it won’t do you much good, if you’re known as a scammer.

4. Bombarding webmasters with requests to link to your articles.
Get to know folk before you ask them to do stuff for you. I have one guy who does this to me. I’ve never had a conversation with him, beyond his requests to “give his articles the exposure they deserve”. The only exposure his articles get from me now, is to the spam folder, with the rest of the crap I get.

5. Asking favours from folk you haven’t even tried to get to know.
I get asked some pretty huge favours, often from complete strangers. Why should folk bother to spend hours doing something for you, when you’ve not even taken the trouble to get to know them? Spelling my name right would be a huge start.

6. Making sycophantic comments on blogs that get more traffic than yours.
Being friendly is one thing but there’s a distinctive line between a genuine compliment and false flattery. And folk will see through you, even if they pretend not to.

7. Leaving spam comments all over the Internet.
You should know that most folk have Askimet installed to pick up spam. And most bloggers will delete things like “great post - I really like your site”, aside from those who are desperate for comments.

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Does Your Business Really Understand People?

November 21, 2008

How well does your business understand people?

If your business is going to be a success, it’s important that you understand your potential customers. Because, if you don’t know what people want to begin with, it’s impossible to give it to them.

Motrin Didn’t Understand People

Unless you’ve had no Internet access recently, you probably heard about Motrin’s marketing disaster. They released a viral video on YouTube, claiming to understand the pain of new mothers. But the video showed that they understand bugger all about them.

More than 100 people blogged about the Motrin marketing fiasco and the news shot round the social networking sites like a mosquito on coke.

This would have been great for Motrin if folk had been spreading good news about them. But, almost everyone who’d ever had a baby was totally pissed off with the company’s marketing cock up. And within a few hours, Motrin had taken their website down. It’s now back up and there’s an impersonal apology for their marketing video, on the front page of their site.

Motrin Screwed Up Because They Tried To Find A Problem, Not A Solution

In the Secret Business Success Formula, I mentioned finding new customers for a product you already have. And I guess that’s what Motrin tried to do.

Trouble is, they didn’t find a group of customers who had a problem one of their products could solve. They focused on a large group of customers - new mothers. Then they brainstormed what problems they might have, that their painkiller could solve and came up with a totally ridiculous, non-existent one. How stupid is that?

So How Can Your Business Understand What People Want?

Guessing really isn’t enough to understand what people want. If you’re planning to market your business to a particular group of people, you need to understand what their problems are, so you can provide what they need.

If you don’t try to understand what people really want, at the very least, you could lose a whole heap of money. And if you get into the type of situation Motrin did, it could cripple your small business.

Research Helps Us To Really Understand People

Research is so easy, now we have the Internet. There’s no need to stand out in the street, with a clipboard, freezing your ass off. Talk to people you know and ask questions, browse message boards, read magazines. The world is full of problems, so you won’t have to look far to find out what people want.

You don’t have to be a big company to do affordable research. Inexpensive products like Simple Market Research are an affordable way for you to discover what folk want to buy. They also show you which online niches are the most profitable and what profit margins you can expect from different products.

Don’t be like Motrin. Make sure you understand people, if you expect them to buy what you are selling.

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The Blog Express - A Marketing Experiment Gone Wrong

November 18, 2008

Three months ago, I suggested the Blog Express - an ebook collection of the work of members of this community. The trouble is, the Blog Express didn’t even get started yet. Here’s why:

Many community members had mentioned they were having trouble promoting their blogs - mostly due to time constraints. So, I figured the Blog Express would enable a few of you to work together in a joint marketing effort.

But I don’t think I communicated the whole idea properly and things became so overwhelming that I put it to one side. The trouble was certain individuals saw the Blog Express as a chance for self promotion and there was talk about a Chief Editor getting their name on the cover of the book etc. And it all became so far removed from what I intended the project to be.

When I suggested the Blog Express, I didn’t even intend to be part of the project at all, although I will, if folk want me to be. But I think it can only go ahead if:

It’s kept simple. It doesn’t need to be complicated. The original idea was to save folk time - not waste even more of their time. Some people suggested that it could become a full-time project for me. That was never my intention and it won’t be happening. I’m happy to help out as part of the group. But it’s a group project and everyone needs to agree to put in equal effort if it’s to work.

It stays as a group project and the focus is on marketing the group, not particular individuals. You don’t need a Chief Editor, or anyone who wants to take all the credit for the project. You’re all capable of editing your own work. It can’t be a group marketing project if one person’s name goes on the front of the book.

If you still want to take part in this simple, joint marketing effort, please send a blank email to me at:
cath at cathlawson dot com with the title: Blog Express in the subject field. And if at least a dozen people still want to go ahead, we’ll get started.

Would You Sing To Your Customers?

November 12, 2008

I like to see businesses use interesting marketing techniques. And this guy had me laughing out loud. You’ve got to see his website to believe it.

As soon as you arrive at, Jim will invite you to join his mailing list. And to persuade you to fill out your details, he’s offering to send you a free video of himself playing the ukelele and singing Happy Birthday to you, on your birthday. How could you turn him down?

And he’s not going to let you escape from his blog without making sure you come back either. At the end of each post, Jim has a very persuasive pic of his kids, literally begging you to sign up to his RSS feed.

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