Too often online marketing is characterised by quantity rather than quality. There's a pervasive idea that quality is too hard but sheer volume will have the same effect.
Let me give you a shining example of what I mean. I was recently browsing a forum when I found, without a doubt, the dumbest attempt at marketing I've seen in a while.
Here's the text – I've edited the product name out of it because if I were this marketer's boss I'd be dying inside.
It began: "I keep hearing so much about the XXXX from XXXX and I was wondering if anyone here has ever tried it?"
Fair enough, nothing contentious there.
It continued: "Everwhere (sic) I look on the internet I hear people praising this software as if it was gods gift to XXXX or something..."
Okay, the marketer thinks we're stupid but perhaps he or she just really likes their product.
But no, he was just getting started: "It's almost like a weird cult of personality, reminds me of obama mania before he got elected.
Really? You sure?
And then the grand finale, the marketer calls on us to join them in their orgy of delight at the product: "I'm thinking about giving this XXXX a go because of all the great things I hear about it and it's supposed unmatched results..
"Can anyone out there verify these claims from first hand experience or dispell them as just hype ALSO from first hand experience?? Thanks"
Now, that is a particularly dreadful example of someone without a clue actively damaging their brand by… well, clumsy isn’t the word – abysmal marketing endeavours.
Everything you do to promote your brand needs to be driven by quality. Look at just three key online marketing examples:
Search engine optimisation
For a while, the search engines were basic. They valued basic stuff – relevant keywords and lots of them.
Now, they value quality content and they are increasingly good at recognising it.
In fact, the quantity methods that previously worked now actively hurt many optimisation endeavours, as the search engines have got better at recognising and penalising unfair attempts at manipulating the search results.
So many companies still work by furiously spamming the world's inboxes and trusting that some will be opened and then a few will be acted upon. It's become the hallmark of a dodgy firm.
I suppose that, back at the start of the web, an email was such an unusual event that this worked. Now, of course, consumers are bombarded with marketing emails.
Mass-mailouts can result in your email address being automatically dumped in a junk folder, while useless content that does make it through can annoy your prospective client.
Once again, quality needs to be the watchword – target your email marketing carefully and make sure your content is valuable.
Social media marketing
The real skill when it comes to marketing via social media is to actively engage with your audience – i.e. the exact opposite to the forum post that inspired this rant.
You can't hope to achieve good Tweeting, blogging and forum activity without investing some time, thought and effort.
If you try to find shortcuts then you risk damaging your brand, alienating your audience and – as above – looking ridiculous.