Sunday, April 19, 2009

Marketing from the Trenches #8 - Internet or You Will Never Net (Profit)

If you expect to have a great practice and make a sustainable profit you'd better have a firm grasp of how you appear on the Internet -- and that is not accomplished by just having a firm website. You have to OWN your presence in ALL of the forms it takes wherever your name appears.

When I started as a Marketer too many years ago the Internet was a fringe activity used by academia and ten or twelve other people with a computer and an account on Compuserve. In those days printed collateral material was King. It was unimaginable to go to market without slick folders and over-produced printed pieces. The only thing a potential client could know about us was what we handed to them.

Today is quite different, and maybe you might not grasp how different it is.

First, before you walk through any door you have already been searched, read and opinions have been made. Decision-makers don't wait to meet you -- they just reach for their keyboard and start searching.

Second, most people do not know your website URL off the top of their head or how to find you directly, so they type your name or firm name into the search box at their search engine of choice and poke around on whatever appears.

Hopefully they are directed to your firm site or your official bio, but other search results will appear including everything good or bad hosted wherever it may be. There may be links to people on LinkedIn, or personal pages on FaceBook or MySpace, or links to membership lists for community group participation, or comments on a DIGG feature or pictures hosted on Flickr for a Las Vegas party.

The point here is that anyone in your firm or claiming an association may appear in the search engine scroll of results.

My adamant advise is to do whatever you can to make the Internet your highest marketing priority! Find the stuff you like about yourself and work to bring it higher in search results and work towards pushing irrelevant or bad stuff deeper. The Internet is THE front-line in your marketing combat zone -- respect it and your opportunity for net profit will grow.

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