I recently wrote a blog post that ended up being very popular. It is based on a presentation I use with clients. It makes some very good points about what will produce results in today’s Internet marketing environment. The question asked is this: “What is the best way to find a wild, thirsty elephant?” We define four types of individuals:
Type 1 chases the wild elephants all over creation. After a lot of effort over many days, however, when he finally manages to corral some of them, he finds that only a miniscule percentage of the wild elephants her corralled are actually thirsty.
Type 2 dresses up in an elephant suit and, as a result, manages to contact many more elephants, as they do not run away from him. He mills around with them and gains their confidence. However, when he does get around to offering the wild elephants water, he finds that the same small percentage are actually thirsty.
Type 3 is the wisest of the bunch. He simply builds a watering fountain, specifically designed for elephants. No need to chase, and the elephants show up of their own free will in droves. 100% of the elephants are thirsty, or they would not show up in the first place.
Type 4 begins by chasing elephants, but soon grows discouraged. He then dresses up like an elephant and find the returns very disappointing. He tries to build a fountain, but ends up with a small mud puddle instead. And so he declares the entire effort a dismal failure.
This analogy describes the four types of Internet business marketing approaches I see in my work.
Type 1 chases buyers – he advertises. But, as anyone in marketing will tell you, the yield will be small, as Type 1 sends a generic message to everyone, in the hopes that a percentage of those to whom he blasts that message will be interested. Advertising is expensive. This approach may work for large ticket items but for small ticket items or low profit items, it’s likely not the best approach.
Type 2 is the ‘social media marketer’ (in the way most people approach the subject). While social media can be a good marketing tool, making ‘friends’ in the hopes of pulling out a surprise sales message from under the ‘friend disguise’ is never a good idea.
Type 3 is the inbound marketer who concentrates solely on providing valuable information his target audience will appreciate and crave. Providing what the target audience seeks is the strongest and most effective form of marketing. It always has been and it always will be. When your audience knows you have something they seek, they will come to you in droves.
Type 4 experiments endlessly and does not understand the effort involved in producing results. The marketing game is a marathon, not a sprint. Type 4 expects to produce overnight results. These are the same people who spend money on ‘miracle diets’ and try to lose 20 pounds in a week. It’s not likely to happen and the effort is ultimately dismally disappointing.
Effective Internet marketing today, in the year 2013, is all about attracting – it is not about chasing. It is about pulling - not pushing. It is about honesty – it is not about trickery or deceit. It is about offering what your target market wants - it is not attempting to convince them that they need something they don’t want.
One dictionary I use defines the word ‘compelling’ as “having a powerful and irresistible effect; requiring acute admiration, attention, or respect”.
Effective Internet marketing is not about ‘yelling’, ‘telling’ or ‘selling’.
Effective Internet marketing is all about being compelling.