Category Archives: marketing

6 Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make Every Day

marketing mistakes

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Back in the old days, marketing meant throwing out a few flyers or advertising in the local newspaper. Nowadays, with so many cheap and readily available options such as social media, SMEs certainly have plenty to choose from. All too often, businesses make those choices badly, opting for useless quick fixes and spurious marketing strategies that at best have little or no effect and at worse can seriously damage their online reputation.

There are no quick and easy solutions when it comes to online marketing – no magic wand you can wave and have people rushing to your site. You have to build a following, engage them, and prove that you are a good person to do business with. You can’t simply go out and buy popularity.

Here are some prime marketing mistakes all businesses should try to avoid:

1. Buying Followers

It’s a waste of money and it doesn’t work. All you get is a bunch of spam accounts attached to yours which makes you look unprofessional and takes an age to get rid of when you realise what an idiot you’ve been. That’s why it’s only £10 for 1000 REAL followers. Sellers of this kind of product just press a button and send a bunch of spam your way.

2. Buying Likes and Retweets

The same goes for spending your limited marketing budget on likes for Facebook or retweets on Twitter to make your posts look popular. People can recognise this kind of scam a mile off and you’ll lose more customers than you gain. If someone has the gall to tell you that it boosts SEO then hunt them down and drown them in pineapple juice.

3. Buying or Making Up Testimonials

Would you be surprised to learn that some of the major brands still do this? It might seem like a great idea to make yourself seem popular but doesn’t actually work. The practice has led to people not trusting testimonials at all. One or two in depth and honest case studies are worth a thousand fake thank you notes.

4. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Yes, they are important but only to a certain extent. If you stuff your prose full of keywords you’ll end up sounding like a robot stuck on repeat.

Content needs to make sense. Don’t get too focused on having X amount of keywords in the hope that it’s going to improve traffic. Marketing online is all about having a holistic approach – you need to combine good content with a solid social media strategy at the very least. By all means throw in a few keywords but don’t get obsessive about it.

5. Taking the Wrong Advice

With the growth of websites that allow you to work from home, there has been a big rise in the number of people setting up marketing businesses. Unfortunately, this means that you can get saddled with someone who has learned their trade off the back of a crisp packet (or worse still by reading the wrong articles on the internet). Do your own research about what works and what doesn’t and don’t be afraid to shop around or be critical of someone who purports to be an expert.

6. Going Cheap

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for in this world. If something is excessively cheap then the chances are it’s going to be poor quality. As a general rule of thumb, the cheaper the service the more likely you are to be the victim of marketing mistakes.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find some bargain solutions out there, you just have to search pretty deep to find it. Don’t give all your work at once to a new marketing organisation, test them out with a small job first. The same with anyone you hire on a freelance site. And remember to monitor their progress – it’s amazing the number of companies that start off bright and breezy because you are a new customer but begin to flag in the ensuing months when they think you are hooked.

If you’re a new business, you’re going to make marketing mistakes. It’s part of the process of finding what works for you and your brand. The trick is to box clever, don’t part with your hard earned cash based on half-baked promises, and allow time for your strategy to develop in a positive direction.

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Business Blogging Tips: Blog Posts Don’t Have to be Long

Business Blogging Tips
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Looking for ways to fill up space on your website?

Shorter posts can be just as good as long ones. The marketing adage that you need word count on content to create an impact isn’t always true, especially when it comes to that all-important blog.

Breaking up your blog content with short and long posts is a great way to breathe life into your content and get more people visiting.

Sometimes, people don’t want a long read. What they want is a quick tidbit that gives them ideas. Provides a useful tip or simply brightens up their day.

Add your own business blogging tips in the comments section below.

Finding a Good Content Writer for your Business

content writer
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Let’s face it, your customer doesn’t care about you.

They don’t care about your products, about your logo design, about your workload or your website, about your two point four children,  your staff or your ingrowing toenail.

They don’t care that your Skoda just got pranged by a Porsche. They don’t care that you want to save the environment, they don’t particularly care that you work 17 hours every Monday through to Sunday, and they certainly don’t care you haven’t pulled a sickie in the last ten years.

They don’t care that you prefer red wine to white, have a dog called Boo and your favourite colour is taupe or that you treat your staff with respect.

They’re selfish. They care only about themselves. That’s all. Nothing else.

Nada.

Only when you realise this can you begin to make sense of the purpose of content marketing.

Okay, we may have gone a little overboard here with the pathologically selfish thing. We’re talking about your customer in relation to your product or service, not their entire lives.

The point is this: You customer comes to your site to get something.

They gotta have it…right now. Right here. Okay?

What is good content writing?

There’s content and then there’s good content. You can fill your web pages with all sorts of wonderful stuff. You can wax lyrical on every topic under the sun.

But does it really give your customer what they want?

According to the Content Marketing Institute:

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

And just so you’ve got it, this is what WebSiteDesigns.com say about it:

Your audience don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves, their wants, and their problems. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your audience is passionate about, so they seek you out and actually pay attention to what you have to say.

Why you think you don’t need a content writer

You know how to write. Of course you do. You’ve been doing it for years – writing letters, emails, even the odd tweet now and again. You’re proficient at it.

Before we go any further: Yes, there are business owners who are good writers, know exactly what content marketing is all about and can deliver it without breaking into a sweat.

But there are plenty who aren’t good content writers. They fill their pages with too much stuff, confuse their customers with badly constructed sentences and half the time don’t even bother to check grammar and spelling. Then, to cap it all, they publish it to the web without even a hint of a proofread.

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to write your own content:

  • It’s cheaper.
  • Who knows better how to make your online pitch than you…the entrepreneur.
  • People don’t actually read that stuff anyway.
  • It’s just for show, right?

The benefits of hiring a good content writer

Notice I said GOOD content writer there. It’s an important point. With every indie writer and would-be marketing guru thinking they have the skills to write great copy, the major problem business owners have is sifting through the rubbish to find that one content writer who delivers quality work on time.

Here are the benefits if you manage to do just that:

  • You get better written, more focused copy for your website.
  • You get the right balance between features and benefits for your product or service.
  • You get expert opinion on what works and what doesn’t.
  • You get someone who has worked at their craft and knows what they are doing.
  • You get quality, okay?

If you want your business website to look professional and attract and retain more customers, then you need to employ the services of a content writer who can deliver.

Take some advice from copywriter Susan Green:

In today’s media-rich world, there’s no shortage of messages competing for your customers’ attention.  You don’t want to lose out because your copy is ineffective. Quality content written by a professional copywriter may cost you money up front, but your return on investment in sales should make it well worth the expense.

What you want your writer to do

You want your content writer to work with you closely and produce the kind of copy that attracts customers and keeps them coming back for more.

Business owners often worry they haven’t filled enough of that digital space with content – it leads them to throw everything but the kitchen sink onto each web page. Rather than making it easier for customers to buy their product it merely confuses the hell out of them. A good content writer can focus and pare down your content so that it is fit for purpose.

Another problem you find on many websites is that they are so feature rich it’s difficult to find the benefits. A good content writer will be able to look at your product and see it from the customer’s point of view – that old marketing mantra What’s In It For Me?

It’s not what’s on offer but how it can help transform your customer’s life that helps you sell and you need to bring that across in your online content.

Where to Find Your Content Writer

There are plenty of platforms that showcase freelancers available to work on projects for your business, including People Per Hour and Elance. Most platforms provide customer feedback and star ratings so you can find out who’s good and not so good, though it makes sense to start off with a small job before you part with too much of your hard earned cash.

Another way to find freelancers is to do a local search on Google, especially if you want that personal contact which is often lacking in the online world.

However you do it, our advice is to build a strong relationship with your chosen content writer and treat them with respect. Good ones are hard to find and even harder to replace.

The Difference Between Site Content and Blog Content

There is a world of difference between your main site content and the stuff you put into a blog.

Content marketing for your product needs to be slick and to the point, designed to give the customer what they want and not distract them with information that doesn’t matter. It’s about pushing the benefits of doing business with your company, not discussing the pros and cons of trout fishing or listing the top twenty things to do with a bar of soap.

When it comes to your main site the mantra is quick and easy to understand: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.

Your blog on the other hand is less about selling and more about providing value added extra information. It’s a key tool in attracting customers to your site with entertaining and enlightening articles.

They may not buy from your straight away (see the Moz video below) but they’ll keep coming back because your information is so darned good. And if they do that, they’ll eventually engage more profitably.

According to The Guardian:

The key to a successful business blog is giving your readers valuable content. That is how you establish your website’s authority in your industry. In addition, if you give your readers valuable content, they will reward you by becoming return visitors and also parting with their money.

You Get What You Pay For

If you are a business owner then you should know the old adage: You get what you pay for. Low cost jobs generally deliver low cost results and bad writing can be catastrophic for your business.

I’ll leave the last word on that to Contender Content :

In an increasingly content-centric industry, copywriting can be the decisive factor in determining the efficacy of your marketing efforts. Business blogging, website copy, landing pages, email copywriting and asset creation are the building blocks of a successful marketing campaign – and your copywriter has a huge hand in the creation of each. If corners are to be cut, content is not the place to do so.

Finally, if you feel like turning the concept of content marketing on its head and see how it really works then check out this video from Moz.

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Handling Customer Complaints on Social Media

Customer complaints

I made a complaint recently against the AA (the breakdown service not the self-help group for alcoholics). Now, they’re not bad people but they had taken a considerable sum of money out of my bank account and sent me into overdraft meltdown – I was waiting for money to go in but it wasn’t going to cover the whole amount that had been siphoned off so ruthlessly.

As you appreciate, being a freelancer that filthy Dinero stuff tends to come in drips and drops rather than a big monthly flood.

Anyway, I called them up and complained and they cancelled the deal but said that the money would take 4 to 5 days to get back into my account. I wasn’t happy about that but there was nothing practical to be done so I waited. Five days later I found the money still hadn’t been refunded and so I took to my normal default position and posted about it on social media.

It’s a nasty habit, but sometimes it pays off.

This is really the point I want to make, about companies that handle customer complaints on social media, or not as the case often tends to be. I tweeted something snarky about the AA and, as with many organisations nowadays, their Twitter help desk responded fairly quickly asking me for the details via DM so they could look into it for me.

Now, I’ve had this before, but I live in perpetual hope. Don’t we all? We hope that our rant into the Twitter-verse will get some positive result like the refund of money, an apology, the end of the world as we know it. Mostly in the past I’ve DM’d and got feck all out of the company in question. It seems their social media response is about damage limitation and appearing to do the ‘right’ thing in the eyes of any followers that may accidentally pick up on any errant tweets.

I wasn’t expecting much.

Fair do to the AA, though, an hour later I got a call from their head office, a very nice person, apologising for delay – my refund had been processed and it should go through in the next few days. I grumbled ruefully some more as my master plan for indignation at being ignored had gone awry and complained about bank charges and that I was a lowly freelancer etc etc.

Then the complaints bod quite skilfully and without any prompting managed to confuse me by offering £50 towards those bank costs which threw me because, when I do get through to someone, I normally end up dealing with a drone who doesn’t want to take any responsibility at all. The upshot is that the money was refunded shortly after and a couple of days later I received a cheque for the bank charges.

To complete my side of the bargain, I tweeted to my several thousand followers again that the AA actually do a pretty excellent job with business complaints – it’s only fair, after all.

A Quick Guide to Customer Complaints Success

My point is that this is how complaints on social media should be handled. Not only is it advertising for your business, it’s also an opportunity for you to show that you have good customer care credentials and can sort out problems quickly and efficiently. The AA did it in an exemplary fashion and rightly should be commended. Other companies are, unfortunately, lagging behind.

Some of the mistakes businesses, both big and small, make are:

  • Sending out automated responses to complaints or detrimental tweets.
  • Failing to follow up on complaints.
  • Failing to resolve said complaint to the customer’s advantage.

Now I know that the last one may well get a few alarm bells ringing in businesses across the land. I had a valid complaint and there was no particular reason why it couldn’t be sorted out to my advantage. I got my money back and a nominal amount to cover the bank charges incurred. The AA kept a customer happy and I wasn’t left out of pocket.

But what if the customer doesn’t have a valid complaint and still slags your business off on social media?

Here’s the problem: I have a sizable Twitter account with around 25,000 followers most of whom are real (give or take a few harmless bots). That means, as a customer, I have a certain amount of leverage. If I was unscrupulous, I could essentially use that account to lose companies I didn’t like business. People respect what I say (to a certain extent) and often retweet what I post. Those 25,000 followers can help me reach hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions in one go. That goes way beyond the old word of mouth of yesteryear where complaints had a much more limited reach.

There’s no doubt that it’s a problem for businesses of all sizes but having a coherent policy for social media and handling customer complaints can go a long way to making sure that the best is made of the situation. On the opposite end of the scale, a complaint successfully handled can also provide good, and largely free, advertising for a company.

If you want to know more about handling customer complaints on social media then take a look at this article from Concept 5.

Twitter Timing for Beginners

twitterOkay, I have some news: Not everyone keeps the hours you do. Shock and awe baby, it’s the truth. The problem is this old world of ours is spinning through the cosmos and that means, for the sake of our collective sanity, we elect to use time zones.

That means if I get up at 8am in the UK, in China they’ve already been up 7 hours and in New York they’re still catching those zeds because it’s 3 in the morning. Time is a tricky thing when you’re messing around with the blessed Twitter.

One of the best times to get hold of people is when they are on their daily commute, particularly now many of us have smartphones and have forgotten the art of conversation. So if I tweet now, I’ll catch all those yawning, bleary eyed commuters in the UK who can’t be bothered to talk to the person sitting next to them.

But in the US they’re mostly still asleep so my message isn’t going to get through. It will probably be missed by those snoozing Yanks. The best time to get them will be in three or four hours’ time when they’ve had their decaf and cream cheese bagel.

And, yes, I do know Twitter is banned in China. But what if I want to catch the commute in other Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, or Hong Kong (and yes I know it’s a principality rather than an actual country)?

  • Generally, when timing your tweets you need to consider two things:
  • The location of your target audience.

When they are statistically more likely to be viewing their Twitter stream.
For example, take a look at Kissmetrics infographic on tweeting in the US of A.

It’s not all about catching people on their daily commute. In the UK, Twitter usage rises between 7pm and 8pm during the week but is at its highest often over the weekend. Wait! That’s not strictly true. If you are tweeting B2B then it’s different – the optimum time is during working hours, you know, when people are actually at work.

Timing can get complicated, especially if you have fans or customers all over the world. For an interesting overview of several media including Facebook, Twitter, and email, take a look at the BufferSocial breakdown of the best times to engage.

While it can be a pain in the rear end, getting to grips with timing your social media contact can help improve your visibility, increase the likelihood that your message will be shared, and generally, boost your popularity.

Bad SEO Can Damage Your Site

Bad SEO links kill trafficBad SEO can make you jump up the rankings one minute but then drop like a stone the next. The Feckless Goblin explores why so many small businesses opt for the cheaper option and get into trouble.

There are people who believe search engine optimisation (SEO) is dead. There are those that don’t. There are those who think SEO is all about keywords and are too idle or too in love with the concept to let it go and there are those who have long known that it is a little more complex than that.

There are those who wouldn’t know a Google algorithm if it stood up and kicked them in the toosh. Oh, yes, they mention it to their clients every four or five seconds, but they don’t have a clue what it is or what it does. Yes, I’m talking to you Bad SEO man (or woman) with your penguin stuffed up your shirt and list of keywords written on your arm.

Here’s the first tip for your business: BEWARE, SEO IS EASY TO BLAG.

To Blag: v. meaning to get by clever talk or lying.

For businesses trying to do the right thing and maximise their brand presence online, it is tempting to put your trust in the first SEO expert who comes along. Unfortunately, there have always been some worrying trends in the world of SEO and the people who are catching the brunt of it are SMEs who don’t quite know what they are looking at.

The Simple View of SEO

There are particular keywords that relate to your business. If you put those keywords in your web content, Google will wet its pants and throw you, with a scream of “LOOKY-SEE”, to the top of the search engine rankings.

This is largely a bunch of old tosh. If an SEO expert is telling your business that all you need is to stuff in enough keywords and your ranking will explode, then take out a gun and shoot him or her.

Want to know why? SEO is more nuanced than that. If you want to take an alternative view, SEO as we know it, or has been popularly presented, has been dying out for a while now. Take a look at this article by Parker Schultz in Marketing Weekly and you’ll begin to see what I mean.

Okay, here’s my first serious gripe of the day. I was asked to write some blogs for a site recently. The owner said he had got someone to sort out the SEO, they’d produced a report and it suggested having regular blogs.

Fine. That’s a good start, isn’t it? Blogs are good nowadays. Doesn’t everyone say so? They’re top of the marketing to do list.

Then I read the report.

It was brevity personified and not too revealing (contained a few typos as well) and included a very short list of keywords that I could have produced in a few seconds without any research. The suggestion was that the proposed blog articles should utilise these keywords. The sweeping naivety of the report got me wondering.

I read the website content that was already there. It seemed to me that whoever had written this rubbish was intent on getting that narrow set of keywords in every sentence, sometimes twice, more often than not at the expense of coherent prose. It looked like it had been written by a four year old who had been asked to practice using certain words by their teacher.

Now get this: The person who had issued the SEO report said that he expected there to be a ‘significant’ improvement in ranking within the next week or so. Not only did this make my heart sink but it also made me worry about what else this person had been up to in his capacity as an SEO expert.

The kind of SEO this person was up to has given it a bad name and hastened rumours of the demise of the industry. There is a reason why this kind of bad SEO has been consigned by more diligent marketers to the garbage bin of online faux pas. Not only does it not work, when people do visit your site they will be presented by the most appalling written content.

The result: Are you going to buy something from a site that is poorly written? Are you going to trust them with your credit or debit card details? Do I really need to answer that?

Why Businesses Opt For Bad SEO

So, why do people offer a service like this? And more importantly, why do businesses buy into it?

There are those who provide an SEO service but have never bothered to update their skills. They live in the past where keyword stuffing was a valid, if slightly unseemly, practice. There are others who know it is wrong and still do it because it is easy and people are still willing to buy.

I’ll quickly diverge here and just mention link building in an attempt not be too one dimensional. There’s no doubt that quality links to your site are a good idea. The important word here is ‘quality’. Linking is a whole industry in itself and has led to some real bad SEO spamming practices.

Take this advice. If someone offers you ‘quality’ backlinks on the cheap, run. Run as fast as you can. Check the video out at the end of this piece for more information on why and how you should be building links, especially if you are a start-up business.

Anyway, back to the point. Businesses buy into bad SEO primarily because it is cheap and, on the surface, sounds like a good idea. It’s easy to sound knowledgeable about SEO and many businesses get fooled.

But it’s also laziness on their part. You can find out the basics of SEO and then make a valued decision about what you are getting for your money. There are plenty of good articles and videos out there that are easy to understand and will give you an informed platform to start off from.

The worrying thing is that there are so many of these people still about, giving internet marketing a bad name. In the end, it comes down to a number of individuals who don’t care about the service they offer. Outsourcing to freelancers is taking off big time; it’s useful, especially for SMEs on limited budgets.

And it’s often something businesses spend too little time thinking about.

I’m not one of those who says SEO is dead. Keywords have their place but they are only a small part of a more complicated process that involves combining good content, sound site structure, and linking it all that into social media.

And it takes time and hard work to put together.

Too often cheap and bad SEO is being used to attract visitors without regard to the integrity of the content. In other words, the SEO is overbalancing the content. It should be there to complement your site, another facet of your online persona. It is not the be all and end all of online marketing.

Do something for me small business person: Before you settle on someone to do your SEO, take a look at this short video from SEO MOZ. It explains clearly the aspects of SEO that you should be looking at and nurturing and those bad SEO practices that you should be avoiding.

It may end up saving you and your burgeoning business a lot of heartache.

My Business Blog is Dull

my business blog is dull

The answer is probably yes. Maybe. Almost certainly. If you’re asking ‘Is My Business Blog Dull?’ then you already know the answer. You wouldn’t be asking the question, if you didn’t think it wasn’t. Right?

See what I’m doing here? I’m asking you a question.

Even more, I’m asking you to think.

I’m not just listing 10 reasons why X or Y is true. I’m involving you. I’m…I’m commm-uun-icating.

10 reasons why your last 10 blogs have been pointless.

  1. They’re dull.
  2. They don’t engage.
  3. They’re written without enthusiasm (They’re dull).
  4. You don’t see it as important.
  5. You don’t realise it’s important.
  6. You don’t have the time.
  7. What? You don’t have the time for your clients?
  8. You run a niche business, there’s not much to talk about.
  9. You really, really don’t have the time?
  10. I just plug a link of my product on Twitter. 5 times a day, on auto.
  11. I’m having a nervous breakdown, leave me alone, why dontcha!

Okay, so that’s eleven. Let’s make a point. It’s not write, write, write. It’s engage, engage, engage.

You need to write something meaningful. Think you can do that? No? No.

See, the problem is this: You have to keep your business face on and you have to make sure that people know that you are serious and that you are…well…just like every other provider in your business.

You’re nothing new.

We hate being different, don’t we? We hate being contentious. We hate stepping over THAT line. We hate being the one to peek over the parapet and say: Hey, you know what? I might…I just might do something different.

How many words do you think there are in the blogosphere? At this particular moment in time? I’m wowed by that question, more than I’m wowed by the fact that my Word autocorrect just corrected the word blogosphere (meaning there is actually a word and I hadn’t just made it up).

Know what that means?

Someone had the audacity to make it up. Someone thought, we don’t have a word for this, so I’ll create one. Here it is guys. Blogosphere. The sphere in which a blog exists.

Back to my point.

How many words? To read? How many do you think? If there are 10 x 500 word blogs written every minute….sheeze, Louise…where’s that calculator? That’s a lot, right? A zillion gadzillion million billion. How much of that stuff do you think is good? And by that I mean how much of that stuff is ever being read? Most of it, I bet, is sitting in dusty corners of the internet, unloved and unappreciated.

Be honest, how many people are visiting your business site and reading the blog? Chances are, for most businesses, the number is a big fat zero.

Here’s the point: A well-sourced, engaging, regularly updated business blog can enhance you as a respected source of valuable information and drive traffic to your site. Combine that with a strong social media presence and you have one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools on the planet today.

My business blog is dull. Damn right it is.

What are you going to do about it?

 

The Rise of the Marketing Guru

marketing guru chickenI am a marketing guru.

There, I’ve said it.

I am a marketing guru.

Except, that I’m not. I’ve never been a guru in much, let alone marketing. And, anyway, just a thought, wasn’t a guru just a guru in days of yore. (Time to run to Wikipedia if you’re not sure).

Since when did we start adding other words to it? Marketing guru? Really? You’re calling yourself a marketing guru? Well, I suppose it’s marginally better than media tsar or culinary impresario. But couldn’t you think of something more…I don’t know…exciting? Enigmatic? To go with guru, I mean.

I thought that was why ‘guru’ sat on its own. To appear mysterious. When you start adding it to other words it starts to lose all its flair.

It’s not only marketing’s fault, we’re all at it. There’s a whole bunch of us running around telling the world we’re experts in this and that. Hell, there’s even a tonne of people pretending to be writers when most of them blatantly aren’t. And don’t get me started on photographers who think a few snaps on Flickr suddenly makes them a professional.

Truth is, we’re all at it to some degree.

Maybe it’s the internet’s fault. It emboldened us, see. We discovered other people doing it, those less worthy than ourselves, and we thought: Jeeze, why not? Maybe you won’t tell the guy sitting next to you that you’re secretly a 4th level Jedi but you’ll sure as hell tell a couple of thousand Facebook followers dotted around the world.
Some people call it setting the record straight – you’ve been this guru/psychic/impresario all along.

Others call it pretending. We dress up in the digital clothes of our preferred lives. That’s why we like anonymity. If you say it long enough and loud enough, it’s got to be true. Right?

How to become a marketing guru

First of all, you can’t do it on your own. There’s only so far calling yourself a marketing guru will take things. You need guru buddies, disciples, if you like. These are the minions who will truly spread word of your worthiness and cement your guru-ness.

Your guru-ness? Your Highness? Like it, like it. Good morning your Guru-ness. Good morning lesser mortal.

There’s a problem with making marketing gurus out of people whose only claim to fame was that they once ran a successful pay-per-click campaign. It’s a bit like associating the word ‘genius’ with the word ‘footballing’. For chrissake’s, he’s just kicking a damn ball round!

I think you’ll find that Einstein was a ‘genius’. Wayne Rooney isn’t. He may be a nice bloke but he’s no genius.

Right?

I’ve digressed. The guru-ness thing got me. You see, that’s what us gurus do, we meander.

Now…

Guru status is conferred on each individual by other people. It just takes one to start it off. This is where marketing people are quite useful. They’re good at spreading the guru word, like literary lemmings (and if that analogy holds up, I’ll eat my toe nails). Before you know it, you have an avalanche of guru reinforcement, and there we have it, a new guru is born.

The problem is that gurus are supposed to be few and far between, sitting up in Himalayan retreats eating nuts and meditating as far, as I remember anyway. They are masters of knowledge and transcendentalism and stuff. Now, I’m sure there are people out there who know all there is to know about marketing and how to get the best out of it. According to Marketing Minds there are 20 to follow and learn from. If you do a quick search, you’ll find lists of 200 or more. Really? 200 gurus?

What happened to simply calling them experts? Can’t we go back to that?

Well no. Because of us. The minions. Us minions have started calling ourselves experts. Guru was hi-jacked so that the real experts had somewhere to go and set them apart. They don’t want to be competing on the same level as lesser mortals who profess to be experts but actually aren’t. You see, if we all jump up a step, the people on that step have to go up. They sure as hell aren’t going to jump down.

The internet has made it easy for us to big ourselves up. And we love to do it, don’t we? No more Mr Mundane for us. We are guru. We are expert. We are prophet. We are talented.

We are pretend.

We are wannabees.

We are the same today as we were yesterday. We just make believe that we’re not. That, my friends, is the magic of the internet. It has given us new power.

I am a guru.

Of what, I’m not yet sure. But I’ll think of something. One day…

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SEO Expert: How to Fail Big Time

The essence of an seo expert

I’ve lost track of the times an SEO expert has asked me if I am an expert in SEO copy writing.

See what I did there? I did some basic SEO content stuff. Which is basically…repeating stuff.

Oh, they didn’t tell you that?

If you want to be an SEO expert, you need to do this kind of thing. All the while, you smile like a drug soused whore and tell people you are an SEO expert and they believe you…well, hell, who would lie about such a thing? People lie about being secret agents or having a love child or liking Marmite, they don’t lie about being a marketing SEO expert.

See what I’ve done there? See?

I’ve done the SEO expert thing again in the hope that it will get me to the top of the search tree and make my post popular, even though what I’m writing is about as useful as a broken leg at a line dancing contest SEO expert twinned with other SEO expert people party (head explodes and out pops an evil hamster).

See how tempting it is? To just put the search term “SEO expert” into the mix and forget about anything like a coherent narrative?

I bet this gets me lots of hits. Hang on, I better say SEO expert a few more times. Well, not say it, write it. Because writing is fun and creative isn’t it and us SEO expert types (see how I winged it when most people would have put an ‘s’ on the end) are so fecking creative?

The difference between me and an SEO expert

I have a life.

Hey! I’m shouting it from the hilltops. I HAVE A LIFE!!!!!

First of all there is a lie perpetuated here. There are no SEO expert people (see, I did it again!). There are just people who can randomly repeat the same words or expressions over and over and over and over and over and over and over over over over and over and over and over and over and over again.

That’s not a skill. It’s a recipe for a nervous break down.

You want your business to succeed on the internet?

Avoid these denizens of mediocrity. They will tell you anything to get your money. They are the biggest marketing scam going. Sure, SEO expert fecking dumb feck used to be useful. See, I threw SEO expert into there without you noticing. Know why? Because you’ve stopped reading by now and SEO expert feck who cares…

Let’s be honest. They are the dregs of the Earth. And that’s with a capital E. That’s not just earth you pull out of the ground, it’s Earth where we live, man! Wake up and smell the SEO expert coffee!

Here’s the point.

There’s a point?

You got this far, okay? You want a point.

People like to read interesting content. They like to be informed. They like to be entertained. What they don’t want is some SEO expert repeating the same feck awful content over and over again.

I’m going to bet you a tonne of poop in a handcart that this gets to the top of the “SEO expert” list. I’ll bet you, because probably you won’t be reading it otherwise. But what has it said? I’m up to over 500 words now. I have waffled (mainly because I’m drunk) and just repeated the same stuff. What I’ve said is:

Don’t trust people who profess to be an SEO expert.

Repeating the same stuff over and over again is idiotic.

That’s 20 words people. 20 words!

Think about it.

Don’t you want to say more about your product than that?

I have just finished drinking and decided to put a bullet through my head and my last thought is this: SEO expert please just get a life. It isn’t as important as you think.

And neither is it as interesting.

So stop.

Stop now!

Take up tapestry or interior design or squirrel juggling but, for god’s sake, do something useful with your life.

For those looking for an SEO expert: Look in the mirror. What’s the difference between you and them? You care about your customers and hopefully you care about what they read too. An SEO expert doesn’t.

All he cares about is…well, you know the answer to that, don’t you?

Okay, rant over. I’ve said my piece.

While you should stop writing spamming content, there are other SEO techniques you also send to the recycle bin in the sky. Try Neil Patel’s informative 5 SEO Techniques You Should Stop Using Immediately for an update.

 

 

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Marketing: Is It Destroying the Internet?

marketing the garden of earthly delights

Once upon a time, the God of the Internet, let’s call him Frank, plugged in an Ethernet cable and said: Let there be…something…let there be stuff…and lots of it…so people can come and find stuff and this stuff will abound and travel up and down very thin wires and across airwaves to houses where it will…just be…there!

And Lo, it came to pass…the internet and stuff was born.

And it was cool. Very cool.

For about 10 seconds.

Until someone, let’s call him Paulie (a bit of wise guy, if truth be told, with slicked back hair,a kipper tie and bad looking teeth) wondered how he could exploit this new world for financial gain.

Thence he decided, along with his friends, who were also wise guys, that they would make up an acronym or two, the most venal and hideous being SEO, which originally stood for Spongy Emus Ovulate but soon became the much dreaded Search Engine Optimisation.

Because that’s what marketing people do…they twist fine concepts and make them into corrupt versions of their dried up and cynical, hopelessly dead-eyed and brain-damaged, dark and damned selves.

They meddle, my ignorant friends, these kipper tie loving dark fiends of the digital hinterland. Oh, they just kept on making up acronyms, one a day at first, then two or more…till the world was filled to busting with them…SEM followed, PPC, CTR, ROI…and more was to come…RTP, ATI, DMP, and WOMM. They began bastardising the English language by mating previously happily single words with others to make hybrid words that turned the entire universe into a putrid, sorry mess: super-automated, hyper-baltic, pimple-rendered, robotic-bunkums.

Oh, people, let’s do some bluuueee sky thinking…let’s think outta dat box…let’s send the spaniel up the flag pole and see if it squeals Momma!

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There is a dark and insidious conspiracy going on, my friends. For marketing is not here to sell you things, it wasn’t born out of an altruistic desire to tell the world of the latest product that could enhance your sleazy and pointless lives. It isn’t here because we need or want it. It was created out of a blood soaked mire of twisted Bedlam inmates and malnourished penguin impersonators.

Marketing, my friends, was born simply to destroy the internet.

It is the devil’s work. Don’t believe me? Then read on, my friend. Read on and I shall tell you of the monstrosities committed in the name of digital marketing and why it has been allowed to flourish and bring mankind to the brink of destruction.

SEO

Spam

Repetition

More repetition

Automation

Repeat, delete, let’s develop a cloud strategy and piss on all the good people until we burn out their eyes with our rancid, ammonia ridden urine soaked…stuff!

Okay, so perhaps I’m going a tad overboard on this. Stevie needs to pull it back a little, take a breath, and maybe have a snifter or two of scotch to get his thinking straight.

Let’s get serious. I want to be serious, for a few moments at least.

Bad Pop-ups…the Devil’s automatic fecktards

It used to be, back in the days of yore, that pop-ups occurred when you’d not updated your virus checker (or didn’t have one at all) and just happened to go somewhere you shouldn’t or clicked a bad link. Then your desktop was plagued by everything from Big Tit Monthly to How To Get Rich By Having a Sex-Change.

Remember the good old days?

Then the God’s of the Internet developed programs that fought off these denizens of advertising evil and we all thought that was the last of it. We were safe. Weren’t we?

But pop-ups are returning. And no one seems to be bothered. I can’t go on a site nowadays without something popping up (forgive the innuendo) asking me to fill in a form or, worse still, subscribe with my e-mail address. Have marketing people forgotten how annoying these damn things are? Of course they haven’t; they JUST DON’T CARE.

Apparently, they’re not even called pop-ups anymore. It’s called ad bombing. According to Graham Charles on E-consultancy: “Poorly placed ads are spoiling the internet for millions of UK consumers, with 87% saying these messages regularly get in the way of what they are trying to view online.”

And it’s not just bad sites that are doing it. E-commerce sites for well-known brands have taken to it; even the Independent Newspaper has started doing it. It’s everywhere. And you know why? Because snug-fuggling-little-brain-dead marketing people are advising that it’s a good idea and that it will lead to more and better business. Because the little fecks have been checking the stats and…you know…it looks good.

On paper.

And we all know, stuff that’s on paper…well it’s not worth the…ummmmmm….

How marketing takes a good idea and turn it into dross

I’ve written previously on how marketing people got hold of guest blogging and turned it into a massive spam fest. If you want to read that less querulous rant you can find it here.

They’ve done the same with other things. You can buy a random selection of useless Twitter followers because marketing people think that it’s a good idea to have quantity and someone found a way to automate it and thus provide it cheap. Spam Bots too are the brainchild of some marketing retard somewhere out in the twat-o-sphere who decided it’s all a numbers game.

It is all a numbers game.

That’s the problem.

We have all ceased to be individuals and we have become statistics. We’ve become categorized and woefully pigeon-holed. It’s not merely the morally redundant who are up to it; it’s the big companies as well. How many algorithms does Amazon use to decide what we really want to buy? How does Microsoft know so much about us? Why does BT suddenly think we’d be interested in a new phone?

Why marketers are especially prone to bad habits

It’s a big, bad complex world out there and sometimes the poor marketing demons have trouble keeping up. Businesses do to. Then someone comes along with a spread sheet and then A N Other makes a “marketing tool” and suddenly everyone’s laughing and crying and joking.

The problem is that for marketers of all persuasions, the thing is just too damn big. What’s The Thing? Well it’s The THING. You know. Marketing. It’s just too damn big to keep up with. Things are always shifting. Ideas are changing. Markets are growing and then busting apart. And, on top of all that, there’s the Chinese.

Yes, the Chinese. You got to blame someone, right? Why not them?

I have this rather screwball narrow view of marketing people, thinking that they are all failed writers or failed artists or just, well, failures. A marketer will look enthusiastic, there will be a shine in his or her eyes when they begin to tell you how your SEO and STD can be all sorted with a few judicious tweaks here and there, or that they have put together this wonderful campaign that will see your DVL go viral…

But behind the eyes of any well dressed, immaculately presented, wise cracking and loveable marketing executive there is exactly this: NOTHING. They haven’t been there for a while, see. Not since they got that MBA in Social Media back in the day. Not since they put on that smart suit and had their teeth whitened.

Not since their damnable soul was sucked down into the bowels of hell and devoured by the Demon King of Marketing. Paulie. It’s all Paulie’s fault.

And there’s nothing we can do.

There really isn’t. Marketing will continue to destroy the internet and in the end all that will be left is a universe sized pile of steaming pooh that everyone will stare at and wonder how it all went wrong. Is there anything you can do?

Seriously, no, there isn’t. Marketing is the biggest most empowered force on the planet. It drives our daily lives and makes us happy with misery and it will not stop until we are all wearing plastic smiles and promotional t-shirts, stood in line for the coming apocalypse, a can of coke in one hand and an “I Love Wilkinson’s Nails” pennant in the other as we meekly shuffle off this mortal coil into the cold, endless dark.

On a brighter note, I leave you with a picture of a fluffy kitten…

Cute_fluffy_kitten
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