By “old school marketer” I mean the marketers that really started getting into SEO, article marketing, social bookmarking, niche marketing, Facebook friending and SERP tracking from the year 2000 through 2009. They developed effective strategies for increasing someone’s digital visibility, and they made a living by plying their trade. The only reason they’d be old school marketers today is because they stopped watching and learning. Instead, they have continued to apply techniques that, although once effective, are really working AGAINST THEM now.
Some of the “old schoolers” are professionals and agencies (very sad). Others are simply “do-it-yourselfers” who learned a few of those techniques and began trying to apply them to their own business in their spare time. These are the innocent ones who just haven’t had the time to notice the huge shift that has taken place in the last couple years.
So what are some signs that you’re in the “old school marketer” camp? Let me point to 5 signs that you’re getting left behind, and that you’re still doing things that may possibly HURT your brand, rather than help it.
5 Signs you’re an Old School Marketer (and obsolete)
- You believe in flooding. You distribute pieces of content to 50 or more free article distribution sites. You don’t know where it goes, nor who sees it, but you believe in “flooding the internet” with many, many copies of your stuff. The problem: nobody cares to read stuff that just shows up in an article directory.
People want to know the author; they want to know why you’re writing; they want to see the website that represents you; they want to come across your stuff because a friend of theirs has pointed them to you! Sure, a couple years ago the search engine algorithms would reward you for getting your keyword and your link out there on thousands of article directories. Old school marketers just keep churning out the ink. But have you noticed that the search engines don’t reward your high-volume efforts any more?
- You use content re-purposing automation (which means you’ll have name attached to some pretty crappy content). Do you think I’m being harsh? Let me show you what ends up happening when you submit to some of those article-flinging services:
Original: I think today’s standards for marketing require a much more artful approach, rather than a mainly mechanical procedure.
After robo-spin: I suppose today’s principles for promoting need a significantly more guileful approach, as opposed to an essentially mechanical system.
Yeah! Let’s hear it for guile!!! The problem here is that you’re still thinking VOLUME rather than quality. You’re thinking “game the search engine” rather than “earn the attention of a client”. You’re an old school marketer, day-dreaming as though we were still in a Pre-Panda/Pre-Penguin era! Want to improve? Then do re-purposing of content as a creative and strategic process.
- You choose keywords based ONLY on the ease of ranking. This is actually a problem that has arisen as a hybrid of old school thinking and new-school shallowness. This is when you spend your time and money going after a long-tail keyword like “plastic chairs very nice colors and styles”, because it’s so easy to “win” that #1 rank. Just one or two pieces of content, a couple bookmarks and a quick share on Twitter and Facebook (and a picture of a very “nice color and style” chair on Pinterest) and you’ll be dominating the search results for that phrase.
Cool. Oh, except for this little problem: not a single human being will EVER type that phrase into the search field. Nope. Nobody. Zilch. You ‘dominate’, but what you’re dominating is a vacuum.
OK, I’ve illustrated this problem with an obviously weak keyword, but the point is this: you are not ONLY trying to get a ‘sort of relevant’ phrase to rank well. You actually need to identify the phrases that YOUR TARGET CUSTOMERS are going to be typing. You forgot to choose keywords that actually describe your product or service, and actually connect with the people that need you. That’s what makes you an old school marketer.
- You think the point of Twitter is to get 1000s of followers. Well, at least you’re trying to do SOMETHING with Twitter. But what makes you an old school marketer is that you don’t understand the whole point of social engagement and the creation of a community. You can have 2 thousand followers, but not make a single sale! However, if you have just 5 happy customers talking about you, and sharing their experience with THEIR network, well now you’ve got something!
Here’s a secret: the search engine algorithms are able to notice that sort of conversation (i.e social signals) and will promote your site higher in the search results. The point of Twitter is that you have a chance to connect with people that are genuinely interested in the things that you’re talking about, so the right people are hearing the right things, and finding their way to the right place (your site!).
- You expect fast results. Hey, it’s true: a couple years ago, we could trick the search engines into boosting our rank for chosen keywords, and we could get it to happen fast. Moving your site’s rank from 450 to 288 to 107 to 36 to 18 to number 3 was something we could do in a matter of weeks! A month could change everything.But I’ll admit that I’m actually glad we’ve moved beyond those days! I like the increased transparency and the injection of a more reality-based landscape.
Can things still happen fast? Sure. Sometimes. But the development of a serious brand and a committed group of followers? Nope. That doesn’t happen so fast. That takes hard work, high quality products and services, excellent content, a very attractive and intuitive website, an ongoing and responsive conversation with followers, and enough SEO technical understanding to make sure that both humans and search crawlers can “read” your message.
Do you find yourself stuck in some of the out-dated techniques I’ve described here? Are you finding a diminishing bang for your buck? Have you noticed that Google is getting harder to game (and that it’s really not worth trying to play that game)? I’d love to help you out. Just get in touch with us at Shift Digital Media, or contact me directly and you can tell me about your marketing needs. And sign up for email alerts (upper right column)!