Strategic Internet Marketing - More Than Just...

Strategic Internet Marketing - More Than Just Chess Pieces
by Brandon Cornett

Message on home page: "Our strategic Internet marketing services are designed to help you leverage your resources in a way that maximizes your response while ensuring optimum performance at all times." [Usually supported by a stock photo of chess pieces on a board]

Jargon-free translation: "Our Internet marketing services are designed to work."

If you've been operating a business website for any length of time, you've probably encountered an example of jargon-infused puffery like the one I've translated above. Perhaps it came to you in a spam email from some company that claimed to take your online success "into the stratosphere." Or perhaps you read it on the home page of a web marketing firm, right above the ubiquitous stock photo of chess pieces on a chess board.

But what is "strategic" Internet marketing anyway? If you ask me, it's one word too many, because the first word is a given and therefore completely unnecessary. Strategic marketing is the only kind worth pursuing, online or offline. It's common sense. It's a no-brainer. It means, basically, that you have some goal behind your marketing program -- a strategy of some kind.

So in essence, a company that uses the "strategic" adjective to describe their services is simply trying to impress you with big words. After all, if you have no strategy behind your marketing program, then you have no objectives either. And if you lack a clear objective, you have no way to measure success.

So let's strike the word "strategic" from the record, and replace it with the word "successful." No we have something worth pursuing -- successful Internet marketing. Who cares about chess pieces? You want results, right? Right!

Beyond Chess Pieces - The 5 Parts of Internet Marketing Success

So let's put the jargon aside and speak frankly for a moment. Here are the five things you need to ensure your success in the online arena:

1. Your Product or Service -- We should get this straight before we go any further. A bad product with effective marketing is still a bad product. So the first step to online business success is to have a product or service that's worth talking about in the first place. If what you have to offer is no different than what your competitors are offering, then your Internet marketing program has already failed. Back to the drawing board!

2. Your Intended Audience -- Quick, tell me five things about your intended audience (the people to who your are marketing your product or service). In other words, five characteristics that define your prospective customers. Are you stuck? Can't past item #1? Then you haven't done the proper homework to make your online marketing successful. Regardless of all the shiny new technologies the Web has brought, people still need solutions to their problems. How can you address these problems if you don't know your audience?

3. Your Online Messaging -- Flashy websites and animated "greeters" will not motivate people to act. On the Web, people respond to clearly explained benefits and helpful instructions, not glitz and jargon. At some point you will have to tell your audience, in plain English, why they need your product or service. You also have to explain how it's different or (ideally) better than similar products on the market. Does your website currently do this? If you have trouble explaining these things, see item #1 above.

4. Your Observation and Tracking -- One of the best things about marketing online is the fact that you can get nearly instant feedback. For example, let's say I get 1,000 visitors per day to my website's home page. I have a call to action on the home page that is intended to generate inquiries from visitors. I can swap out the home page message for an alternative version, and within a day or two I'll know which one works better. Of course, before you can track results, you need some form of analytics in place to tell you everything about your website traffic, marketing results, etc.

5. Your Eternal Vigilance -- Success comes from trying things, learning from your mistakes, and adjusting your approach. This is true of sports, the arts, and -- yes -- Internet marketing as well. To get the best possible results, you must constantly try new things, test one approach against another, and analyze your results to learn from them. And don't every listen to somebody who says, "Oh, that technique didn't work for me, so it won't work for you either." There is actual experience, and there is hearsay... only the former will reveal the truth.

About the Author

Brandon Cornett publishes a web marketing blog under the alias of Austin SEO Guy. Visit the author's blog and website for a wealth of advice on this subject (and not a chess piece in sight). Head on over to