If you’re even halfway smart – and you must be since you’ve chosen to read this – you’re spending some amount of energy marketing online. Word on the street is that the Internet is still going strong, and it’s one of the best (and cheapest) ways to tell people about whatever awesome thing you do that they simply have to buy.
But, as anyone who’s spent too much time reading the hateful comment threads that follow pick-literally-any-article-written-that-includes-a-space-for-reader-comments knows, there are several ways to market yourself into obscurity, poverty, and a total lack of invitations to any really interesting party. So if you’re tired of people poking you – and you should be, because poking people isn’t nice – here are a few ways you can use the Internet to drive a fiery stake into the heart of your thriving web traffic.
Promise readers something, give them something else! I was browsing on LinkedIn this week and saw what I thought looked like an interesting article about marketing. When I clicked, however, I was not taken to the article. Instead I was immediately directed to a sign-up form. Well done, article posters! Not only did you break two of the 10 commandments of the Internet – Thou Shalt Not Post Misleading Links and Thou Shalt Only Allow One Click to Promised Content – but you also used cringe worthy tactic number 2…
Ask users for personal information before they get to know you! If someone I didn’t know came up to me on the street and asked me for my name and email I wouldn’t give it to them, unless of course they were exceptionally hot. But we all know that bloggers and other Internet content-providers are a uniformly unattractive group of people. Besides, I’m not giving my information away just to read an article from a company I’ve never heard of when there are about 5 million other articles out there that don’t require a sign-up form. Keep putting out great content and eventually people will want it in their inbox (and hence, give up the e-mail address), but there’s no magic formula to get them to sign up right away… or is there? If you know it, please tell me.
Use a QR code that makes no logical sense! If you still don’t totally understand QR codes, that’s ok. If you think they’re an enormous waste of time, I happen to agree with you. But here’s a tip for you – never use a QR code when a link will do. If your web designer looks like he wants to punch you when you ask for a QR code in your homepage, it’s because he DOES want to punch you. A QR code is supposed to direct people to your website or a video when the code is scanned with a mobile device. Putting a QR code on a website is silly since if they are looking at a website they are on some kind of device already. I’m not an expert but I can’t think of a situation when you would want to scan a device with a different device. Which means that a QR code on your homepage is kind of having a picture of your face tattooed on your face.
Design your website for yourself, not for your customers! This is especially an issue with big bureaucratic companies. Just because customers service is under the Marketing Department, which is under the Consumer Division, doesn’t mean your website should be designed that way. Put the information the customer needs up front so they don’t have to dig for it. Trust me, most people will give up after one click. But of course, maybe avoiding customers is your point.
Hope that helps. After all, nobody likes traffic. I’ll do pretty much anything I can to avoid getting stuck in traffic. Why should your Internet marketing policies be any different?