Internet Marketing Ideas


Be Your Own Marketing Wizard, Marketing Research Might Not Apply to You

Be Your Own Marketing Wizard, Marketing Research Might Not Apply to You

Illustration by Nick Palazzo

Marketing research doesn’t always apply to you—collect the pieces and take their advice…. then take your own advice.

Having a mentor gives you someone to look up to. With eyes glossy and wide with admiration, you decide what you like about each of your mentors and try to instill those positive bits into your character. You follow the words of Regina Spektor and “take the things you like, and try to love the things you took.”

As we’re building our professional lives, we take pieces of the people we meet, see and read about. Eventually, we build ourselves into somebody kick-butt and worth knowing; a resource, an expert, maybe even a mentor someday. Or, maybe we started out that way.

Big Business Doesn’t Always = Perfect Business

As a marketing blogger, I know that every business is looking for a mentor. They look to their global competitors to watch and see what they’re doing and they read the marketing reports they find online with percentages and graphs and anything that resembles a finger pointing in the right direction.

Having worked with many of those “global competitors”, I honestly tell any small business that they’re looking in the wrong direction. Just because a company is big enough to swallow you whole, doesn’t mean that they have all their ducks in a row. Nobody does. What they do have, is a budget to hire someone to figure it out for them. When it comes to social media and search engine optimization especially, we’re all still infants.

For example, at BuzzFarmers our main prerogative is to make our clients look awesome. Don’t look away just yet, because I’m not about to pitch you something. What I’m getting at, is that nobody should ever look to us as someone to mock or replicate because every tweet, email and Facebook post we put out there is a test. Whether it’s a subject line, ad placement, or graphic, it’s always a test for the better good of our clients.

That’s the same thing you’ll find at any large competitor. They’re spending lots of money to test things. And they throw a ton of money at campaigns that are sometimes in vain.

So my cautionary tale here is to watch, but don’t try to follow their footprints in the sand.

Numbers Are Great But Results Are Better

And on that note, as marketers we love people who give us data and advice. My most popular posts are when I conduct a bunch of tests and share the results, like Dan Zarella, Marketing Sherpa, Which Test Won and Marketing Profs. We love those guys, right? I know I do.

The problem is that while these tests are often helpful, they’re easy. Not easy for the people who put them together, but for you to follow. If somebody tells you to tweet at 3pm and post to Facebook at 7pm everyday, you do it, right?

I’m not exempt from this data either, I always test the results from these big research reports because a lot of the time they have something to test that I haven’t tried before.

That’s where businesses get caught up, especially small businesses.

A research report is not an Internet bible. Nobody will ever be able to tell you what works best for your exact target audience.

Please repeat that a few times and remember the original quote:

“Take the things you like and try to love the things you took.”

You Are The Biggest Expert In Your Own Business

Once you’ve started testing, head back to your business bunker. For every platform you use, there is a research report behind it with your name on it. Don’t ignore it. This personal report will offer you the same bullet points that those other research reports do, except they’re just for you.

Email: If you send email, then you have an email management system that tells you which emails had the best subject lines, the best open rates, the most click-worthy links and everything else you need to start sending better emails.

Facebook Insights: Every Facebook page displays analytics, or “Facebook Insights”. These analytics can tell you how to optimize your page and which posts perform best with your audience.

Twitter Analytics: You could manually track your tweets, but you can also use bitly or Hootsuite to see which tweets worked best. Look at which posts caused engagement like a response or retweet. Analyze those popular tweets by looking at the time you sent them and the words you used.

YouTube Analytics: The data that YouTube gives back on your videos can tell you which videos resonated most with your viewers. You can also see if using keywords make a difference in views, how people are watching them and where they’re watching. With this data you can decide what types of videos to make in the future.

Blog / Website Analytics: Google Analytics is completely free and doesn’t leave anything up to the imagination. You can see which keywords drive the most traffic, which blog posts are most popular, where most of your traffic comes from and whether your social efforts are making a dent.

A/B Testing: There are lots of services out there for your perusal. Optimizely is one we like for easy landing page testing. Google Website Optimizer used to be a favorite of mine too; they’re currently moving it into Google Analytics and calling it “Content Experiments”. This integration should make your analytics and page testing completely seamless.

I know this a bit simplified, but all of these analytics are completely available for you to analyze on your own time. Make the time to analyze them.

Marketing research is invaluable, often free, information. I geek out on it daily. But your mentors can only guide you, they can’t wear your shoes and tell you how to run your business. So go run your business.

read more


Wasp Marketing: Why Wasps Make Great Internet Marketers

Wasp Marketing: Why Wasps Make Great Internet Marketers

“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” - Lucille Ball

Imagine if wasps flew around in little pea coats, striped pants and tiny top hats instead of going around stinging people. Wasp marketing could be the new thing—they’d just fly around whispering Internet marketing tips in people’s ears and the world would be blessed with great websites and optimized content.

Unfortunately, wasps are too busy being eaten by humans in the form of delicious figs and turning cockroaches into zombies to get that far. If they could put that all of that behind them, here are a few reasons why wasps would be better off packing it in and and getting their Marketing MBA.

The Fig Wasp

Wasp Marketing: Why Wasps Make Great Internet Marketers


Did you know that when you eat a fig, the crunchy bits inside are likely dead wasps? No there aren’t tarantulas in your bananas and you probably don’t swallow several spiders every night when you sleep, but yes, there are wasps in every fig you eat.

In fact, figs are technically a flower, and require a wasp to pollinate in order to live. In return, the fig provides food and shelter for the momma wasps and their babies.

Here’s where it gets gross: When the momma wasp lays her eggs inside of the fig, the route is too narrow and her wings and antennae get ripped off. From this point, she can’t get out.

If she’s landed in a male fig, then all of her male babies will hatch, dig tunnels for the girls to get out, and the males will die inside. It’s not a great thing to be a male fig wasp.

If she’s landed in a female fig however, this long thing called the stylus will prevent her from laying her eggs, and she’ll just end up dying from starvation, exhaustion, or maybe just loneliness.

That said, who wants to eat a fig now? Sure the figs enzymes will break up the carcass and turn it into protein, but it still makes you reconsider that package of Fig Newtons, now doesn’t it?

Why Fig Wasps Would Make Excellent Internet Marketers

Wasp Marketing: Why Wasps Make Great Internet Marketers


Let’s just relate this to planting a seed and the long-tail approach shall we? As Internet Marketers, we know that we’re not going to catch someone every time they enter our website. Ideally, of course. However, it doesn’t make us a bad marketer just because someone hit the back button. We’re not always what they’re looking for.

For example, when the momma fig wasp gets trapped in the female fig flower, she’s done for. She starves, she dies, and then we eat her. If she lands in a male fig, she lays her babies, they live, they grow, and they move on to pollinate other flowers.

Here’s the point: It’s kind of like an A/B split test. One of your tests has to outperform the other, and one of the tests will undoubtedly crash and burn. One might create 100 new buyers today, and the other may create zero. So you either made babies, or you got stuck in a fig with no wings or antennae.

At least wasps are brave enough to make that call. They have no idea if a fig will kill them or let them lay eggs, but they burrow inside anyway. The payoff perhaps is that as wasps evolve, maybe they’ll eventually be able to tell the difference between male and female figs and live a little longer.

If we as Internet Marketers test our buttons, layouts, copy and headlines, we too discover what element of a page is creating the most value, and which ones can be replaced to ensure more productive websites.

The Emerald Cockroach Wasp

Wasp Marketing: Why Wasps Make Great Internet Marketers


This wasp is something out of a horror movie. The wasp stings a cockroach, not paralyzing it, but somewhat giving it a lobotomy so that it does whatever the wasp wants it to. Then, the crafty momma wasp leads the cockroach back to the wasp den. Like a good, obedient, zombified cockroach, it does as its told by momma wasp—even letting her lay an egg inside of it.

But it gets better… The baby wasp needs something to feed on, so the cockroach needs to stay alive during the entire laying, hatching and growing process so that the wasp baby can eat it for nutrients. The cockroach finally dies five weeks later when the baby busts out, fat and happy.

You don’t have to step on a wasp nest to be turned off by these little manipulative winged creatures now, but dang do they make great Internet Marketers and here’s why.

Wasp Marketing: Why Wasps Make Great Internet MarketersWhy Emerald Cockroach Wasps Would Make Excellent Internet Marketers

These wasps in particular know how to “get in the minds and bodies” of those they are trying to influence.

If they were marketers, they’d be creating content (babies) that their users (zombified cockroaches) were already looking for. What if the cockroach really wanted a little baby planted in its brain? I mean, heck, they can live up to 10 years depending on the species, and who wants to live on garbage and with angry humans for 10 years anyway?

Here’s the point: Wasps don’t just kill the cockroach and turn its body into a womb, just like we don’t just throw out advertisements and care less about what our ROI is.

The wasp takes careful approach in convincing the cockroach that what they really want is to go into a cave and sacrifice their life for a wasp baby.

As Internet Marketers, it’s our job to convince people that what they really want is our product. Our venom is search engine optimization. We take a careful approach in researching keywords for our sites and blog posts.

We try to write things that people are already searching for. When results come up in Google, they don’t know that we’ve specifically targeted them, but if we’ve done a good job—we’re answering their question. If we’ve done an even better job, we’re collecting an email address for further communication or writing a crafty up-sell into a paid product.

I wouldn’t call our customers and readers zombies, but the majority of Internet searchers are just typing into a search engine however they think they will find a result. By “getting into the minds and bodies” of our customers by doing a little research first, we’re more likely to do like a wasp and get them into a cave to have our babies.

Or rather, to our website and into a position to buy a product.

read more