As an online marketer I get contacted on a daily basis by potential clients from around the world. A common denominator among them is that they are looking for a quick solution to an urgent problem:
- For two years we have been running an email newsletter. Four months ago we started noticing that our subscribers are dropping out like flies. Can you buy us a couple email lists?
- We rank well in our desired keywords on Google. We receive about 30% of our traffic from mobile phones, however they quickly bounce off our site. Can you creates us a mobile online media plan to increase our mobile traffic?
The answer to all of these questions is: “Yes, I can.” However, these are two perfect examples of what healthy Internet marketing strategies are NOT. Chris, Kilbourn, Founder and CEO of Utah-based Tofu Marketing, explains it well: “You’ll never hear us throw around the term ‘traffic’ as though it is the be-all and end-all of Internet marketing. Instead, we are an online marketing agency that focuses on sending qualified leads to your website.” He adds: “We understand that 10 qualified leads are worth more to you than 10,000 or even 10,000,000 totally unqualified visitors.”
The two scenarios are asking for “unhealthy” solutions: quick fixes that will do a lot of harm in the future. In this article let’s discuss about how to develop healthier Internet marketing strategies for each one.
The Mystery of the Disappearing Email Subscribers
While nobody expects email list growth every single month, a big, continuous drop off is a major red flag about your email marketing strategy. Trying to fix the dropoff by buying a random list solves the problem of maintaining a constant number of subscribers, it plants the seed of a major future problem. As you start using that purchased email list, there will be several people that will either unsubscribe right away or, even worse, will report your email as spam because you did not specifically ask them for their authorization to contact them. [If you think that buying an email list equals authorization to email, you need to read this primer on email permission marketing.]
Kilbourn explains: “Unsubscribes mean one of two, bad things: The people who signed up aren’t receiving what they expected. The people who signed up aren’t liking what they are receiving.” He adds: “In both cases this usually means you need to overhaul your content to make it more targeted and higher quality.” In other words, the healthy marketing solution is to take a look at what content expectations (if any!) are you providing to your email subscribers, and whether you are following up on that promise. An example would be that you’re promising tips on pet care to your subscribers, and instead you end up just pushing a list of your partner’s pet care businesses. Remember to keep your quality content promises!
The Mobile Bounce-Off Blues
It would be great for me to cash on every opportunity to create a mobile media plan for all businesses that knock on my door, but this would only backfire not only to me but also for all those businesses. It is important to always take a step back and remember that responsive design is 2013’s web design trend. Ethan Marcotte coined the term responsive web design (RWD) in a May 2010 article in A List Apart. In a nutshell, responsive design is a website design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices.
This is the healthy marketing strategy to address the needs of your mobile visitors. “UX is the bread and butter of your marketing efforts. UX is an abbreviation for “user experience” — a concept that is foundational to business on the Internet. No matter your marketing or business strategy, you need to make sure that you’re creating a positive atmosphere for your customers and prospects”, explains Kilbourn. Savvy business owners are realizing the benefits of having a site that is optimized for the mobile web. An example of one of these businesses is HaymoreEndodontics.com, an endodontics practice in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada. Tofu Marketing established a framework to address all mobile and non-mobile devices simultaneously through responsive design. This way Haymore Endodontics’ site is tablet- and mobile-ready from the initial wireframes as opposed to having to rejigger a desktop version to other formats.
Another example of a site developed using responsive design is TaskBullet, a virtual assistant services provider.
Resist the temptation of taking on fast, unhealthy Internet marketing strategies. No matter if you’re an eCommerce site selling products, or an informational site to collect leads, you need to develop a sustainable, healthy Internet strategy. You need to combine both short-term and long-term strategies that help sustain your growth and the number of visitors to your site.