TIGER Talk Recap: CLICKSAND: How Online Marketing Will Destroy Your Business (And the Unlikely Secret to Saving it)
Business owners have plenty of options when marketing a business online, but it’s important to make intelligent decisions and not get wrapped up in online marketers’ unscrupulous techniques.
Bill Troy is the founder of TroyResearch, Civilis Marketing and author of the forthcoming book, “CLICKSAND: How Online Marketing Will Destroy Your Business (And the Unlikely Secret to Saving it).” He challenges the assumptions business owners have about online marketing, and offers a different view of what it can and can’t do for a business.
Bill presented highlights of his book at Innovate New Albany’s TIGER Talk on January 12. TIGER Talks are offered free of charge throughout the month and educate entrepreneurs in the topics of technology, innovation, growth, entrepreneurship and responsibility.
Bill said that online marketers have a “pitchman,” mentality and the recipe for the “snake oil business pitch” hasn’t changed in 120 years. In order for the snake oil to be marketable, it must include these three parts:
- Pain: a business problem that most business owners would do anything to get rid of
- Promise: some sort of guarantee or justification for buying into what the online marketer is selling; e.g., “Everyone else is doing it,” or there are anecdotes of success
- Plausibility: a close explanation that makes its success believable
For example, most business owners have the “pain” of not knowing where their customers come from.
They may believe an online marketer’s “promise” by watching what their competitors do, reading an out-of-context quote that supports what’s being sold, or observing other brands using the same type of product/service. This may allow the business owner to believe they are being left behind.
The online marketer’s pitch seems “plausible” because they use enthusiasm, technobabble, make linear assumptions about human behavior, and plug it as inexpensive.
All of this can be damaging to a business because it causes the business to view its customers as a commodity. It encourages an adversarial mindset, breaks customer rapport, and sets the business up to be taken advantage of by the online marketer.
So what can a business do to avoid being caught in the online marketing trap? Bill said they can ignore the hype and focus on what really works: personal relationships.
First define who your three best customers are and what makes them special. Then, identify where those best customers came from. There’s a high chance they didn’t come from a Google Ad or some SEO keyword trick. And lastly, adopt the 1-to-1 model which encourages purposeful relationships and two-way communication such as tracking response and reply rates. This is the pitchmen’s biggest secret. They know that the 1-to-1 model works, and they actually use it themselves instead of the online marketing approach they are selling.
Once you have identified your relationships, what you have in common, and have built a strong rapport, use today’s digital tools to interact with your customers positively instead of negatively. Listen to what they say and what they care about, and use a CRM to remember and store what they’ve told you.
Bill closed his presentation with a graphic demonstrating that a click on a device is not equal to the personal relationship behind a handshake.
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