Your Online Marketing Strategy – Naive or Mature?

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I read a really good post yesterday on copyblogger.  How to Find Thousands More Prospects for Your Business.  The title sounds like it might be an infomercial for the next big traffic generation scheme but it’s not.  A “good” sales page converts between 1% and 5% of it’s readers and the article discusses why, and what happens to the other 95%.  Lets look at how it might help us formulate a mature strategy for our site.

To bring you up to speed:
The article quotes sales strategist Chet Holmes in saying that, at any given time,

  • 3% of your market are in active buying mode,
  • 7% are receptive to the idea of buying (not currently looking but receptive),
  • 30% might buy from you someday but not now, 
  • 30% are mildly turned off by the notion of buying your product and
  • 30% are highly turned off and will never buy your product from you.

I really recommend that you go and read this article because it helps to explain a lot of things that are central to a mature Internet marketing strategy.  Essentially, if you communicate effectively with these groups and provide them with appropriate content you can “keep them close” until they are ready to buy.  If you look at the figures, a whopping 70% are possible buyers some day. 

This bit I’m not so sure of:

“Traditional internet marketing is all about finding this 3 percent. The smartest Adwords, SEO, and affiliate marketers are all trying to selectively find that 3 percent and weed out the other 97. You can call this the Desperate Buyers Only strategy, which is the title of a very solid program by Alexis Dawes on writing and selling ebooks.”

“The trouble is that the desperate 3 percent are expensive, because everyone wants them. What are called the “converting keywords” (the keywords that are proven to attract the 3 percent who are ready to buy today) are expensive to buy with pay-per-click. Those same keywords are usually highly competitive for SEO, and getting more so every day.”

I don’t know what passes for traditional Internet marketing these days but I would characterise things more like this: 

Naive Internet marketing is about trying to get everyone to your site.  Every potential client I talk to and everyone who starts an online shop thinks they should rank number one for the highest traffic term they can find.  To use an extreme example they set up a site selling cars and they want to rank for “cars”. 

They want everyone looking for anything to do with cars to come to their site and then they want them all to buy a 2002 Toyota Corolla with 2 previous owners because that’s what they are selling.

This doesn’t work.  Your content isn’t relevant, your site can’t handle the competition and the visitors you are trying to attract aren’t looking for the only thing you are giving them (an opportunity to buy a 2002 Toyota Corolla) so they leave.  And you complain about poor conversion rates.

As a result, Internet marketers (in SEO and PPC) consider relevance and then move on to consider search intent.  You look not for terms that are vaguely relevant.  You look at all terms that are vaguely relevant and you consider how relevant?  What is the searcher looking for and what is the intent behind the query? 

It is true that the smartest online marketers are trying to find the 3% that are desperate buyers now and that they have a strong focus on “converting keywords”.  It is not always true that these terms are more expensive.  The smartest marketers are looking for them precisely because that is where the value lies.  In PPC, where you pay for every visit, the naive money is off chasing the headline, high traffic terms that won’t convert and the smart money is on long-tailed “converting keywords” that not only convert better but are often cheaper.  The same strategy works very well in SEO.

Granted, more and more people are writing about this and more and more people are copping on so things will tend to get more competitive over time and it will vary by market.

Here’s where the real step in understanding comes though

The smartest online marketers are trying to find the 3% but they are not trying to weed out the other 97%.  They probably aren’t willing to pay $10 a click for them on Adwords but they will be targeting them. 

This is where the article linked to above can really give you some insight into what a mature Internet marketing strategy should look like.  People that aren’t buyers today, may well be buyers some day, or influence a buyer someday.  A naive strategy attempts to take every vaguely relevant visitor and sell them that 2002 Toyota Corolla.  A mature strategy looks at the intent behind the queries and asks “What are they looking for?”, “What can I give these people?”, “How can I engage with them?”.  It implies planning content and creating resources and relationships to reach out to the other 97% so that when they are buying, they are buying from you. 

It can be hard work.  It can be resource intensive but it can also be necessary.  There will come a day when your hotel website or the site that describes your services is simply not enough regardless of the tricks you pull.  You want those high traffic terms (not “cars” but maybe “toyota corolla”) because you want to meet your buyers before they are buyers.  In a previous post I suggested you “Build a Better Website”  Hopefully this helps to flesh out what I mean.

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6 Responses to “Your Online Marketing Strategy – Naive or Mature?”

  1. says:

    Your Online Marketing Strategy – Naive or Mature?…

    Two days ago, Bizsugar led me to a really good post- “How to Find Thousands More Prospects for Your Business” and a couple of questions. What happens to the 95% of your visitors that don’t convert? How can figuring it out help us develop a mature on…

  2. This is a fantastic article. Thanks for this, it’s something I’ll need to think about. Like lots of people I tend not to look past that 3%.

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amanda Stillwagon, SiteStream SEO. SiteStream SEO said: How naive is your online marketing and SEO strategy? – [...]

  4. Superfantastic article….. Nuture (content, content, content) the 97%, and POUNCE (gently) on the 3%… and follow the platinum rule… “treat others as THEY want to be treated” Best, Brian=

  5. [...] You might wonder why you care.  You care because different query intents will provide radically different values to you.  People with different query intents are looking for different things and to market to them successfully you will need to pitch content appropriate not just to a word or phrase but to a need (the intent behind the query).  I’ve written about this before in this post on developing a mature online marketing strategy. [...]