Does Your Inbound Marketing Strategy Suck?

The Internet is Here to Stay…

…as are Inbound Marketing and Social Media!

So, why do so many websites…well…suck?

Note: In order to justify the title of this article, a blatant attack really (although not intended to be taken personally), I must explain who I am and what qualifies me to make such a statement.

As the owner of and the chief cook and bottle washer for an inbound marketing consultancy, The Ultimate Internet Image, LLC, I am immersed in all things Internet. In fact, I have been building my inbound marketing consulting firm for several years now.

Before my Internet period, I was an academician for a moment (a physical anthropologist), and immediately prior to my stint as Indiana Jones, and I did love it, I was an entrepreneur.

I guess “was” isn’t exactly accurate. Entrepreneurs are kind of like cops and firemen. Once a cop or fireman, always a cop or fireman. The same holds true for entrepreneurs…it is a lifetime affliction.

Prior to my Indiana Jones adventures, I was in sales, primarily as an advertising and marketing specialist. I have also created, built, and/or managed several other businesses in the real world, the brick and mortar world. The same businesses that are often referred to as “offline business” in today’s segmented business environment. I believe this mindset is flawed and it can be a fatal mistake. In other words, a perspective your business may not survive.

The marriage of inbound marketing experience with brick and mortar experience and long-term real world success has been a real boon for my clients. Understanding both the offline and online worlds, and being able to negotiate effectively in both, has provided a real advantage in perspective and application.

The Ultimate Internet Image: Inbound Marketing Consulting

The Ultimate Internet Image specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), website/blog development, social media management, lead generation, direct response marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, management, branding, and online marketing for local businesses and professional practices.

Inbound Marketing Consulting, the New SEO, and Social Media

Inbound Marketing Consulting, Social Media, and the New SEO: Demand Proven Expertise

Over the past several years I have examined, dissected, and critiqued thousands of websites and blogs, particularly in the context of inbound marketing, SEO, and now what some are calling social media SEO (the latter is still be debated). Interestingly, by examining, dissecting, and critiquing so many websites and blogs, I have been able to determine the mistakes and flaws in a client’s inbound marketing strategy early on. This is vital! Not only because it has made it possible to identify mistakes and missteps, it has also made it easier and less costly (in terms of ranking, time, and income lost) to remedy any number of common and not-so-common errors.

Determining ineffective marketing strategies, and identifying the myriad errors made in construction and implementation, will yield greater opportunities for growth and profit.

Web Developers and Inbound Marketing Consultants

I have studied the very best and the absolute worst and I have come to the conclusion that most web developers have no business in the business…because they fail to understand marketing in any of its forms.

Additionally, most marketing firm employees (i.e., inbound marketing consultants, social media specialists, support staff, etc.) need to go back to school and study anthropology.

Why anthropology?

Because most sales and marketing consultants fail to understand people, communities, and cultures, and how important their interrelationships are. Incredibly, many inbound (Internet, online) marketing consultants have little or no experience talking to and working with business owners and professionals face-to-face and belly-to-belly. An anthropological perspective is holistic, the emphasis is on the big picture and how the parts come together to affect and impact the whole.

I will offer examples of what I feel are the best and the worst websites, blogs, articles, video, and ebooks in an upcoming article.

The Blind Leading the Blind: Social Media Managers and SEO

I have come to the realization that, in far too many instances, the blind are leading the blind when it comes to all things Internet. It is a certainty when it comes to inbound marketing and social media marketing!

And just because SEO is complex, a real conundrum, you cannot simply ignore it. SEO is not going away and it is not morphing into social media!

If you do not build your online real estate properly (i.e., websites, blogs, etc)? Your websites and blogs will not rank and the business down the street or around the corner investing in the proper foundation is going to be in business in 10 years and you will not.

Harsh?

Perhaps!

But 100% honest and dead on!

You must ask yourself one question:

How much is it worth to me to be sure that I will survive not only the first 5 years but the second?

In today’s competitive business climate, and has there even been a time when business hasn’t competitive? Your business’s inbound marketing strategy must be unique, professionally designed, and expertly administered.

A meatball sundae will not do it (Read: Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae*), you must create something amazing. The foundation you build for your online real estate, and the application of the new media to include social media, video sharing, and so much more, must be unique and exciting…or you are throwing your money away on a meatball sundae.

NOTE: A rank amateur calling himself or herself a “social media specialist,” an “inbound marketing consultant” or an “entrepreneur” will only assure your business’s failure in record time.

 

Are you a Social Media Specialist? I'm a Social Media Specialist Too?

Calling yourself a social media specialist doesn’t make it so!

I have read, listened to, digested, and applied the books, videos, and audio presentations exploring business, the human condition, and all things marketing by Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Sir Richard Branson, and many others.

I have also examined a myriad of books, ebooks, videos, audio presentations, webinars, and manuals written and/or produced by the Internet’s young Turks, the new wave of online Intelligentsia: Chris Brogan, Brian Clark, Gary Vaynerchuk, Sonia Simone, Darren Rouse, David Merman Scott, Mari Smith, Mike Koenigs, and others. Many of the resources written by these men and women are absolutely brilliant and essential if you hope to survive in business long-term…online or “offline.”

Ultimately, all business is online business now!

Finally, I’ve absorbed the requisite MBA bibles by the old masters. Among the most important works, I suggest The E-Myth Revisted: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It? by Michael Gerber, Good to Great and Great by Choice by Jim Collins, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and dozens of others.

From Godin to Gerber, Gladwell to Hill, and Brogan and Clark to Carnegie there is one consistent theme:

Most businesses don’t make it!

In fact, in The E-Myth Revisted: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It?, Michael Gerber suggests that 80% of all businesses fail in the first 5 years and that of the 20% that make it through the first 5 years, 80% of the survivors are out of business by the end of the next 5 years.

Do the math!

If 100 businesses open their doors, either as a strictly online business or as a brick and mortar business, with or without an online presence (note: to go into business without an online marketing strategy is certain death), 80 will post the dreaded “Out of Business” sign by the end of the 5th year.

Again, beginning with 100 new businesses, 80 of those businesses fail within 5 years!

In fact, many will perish prior to transitioning out of what Michael Gerber refers to as infancy…never making it into adolescence. Sadly, the businesses failing to transition will close their doors within 2-3 years.

After 5 years…20 businesses remain!

Of the first 100 we have 20, of the first 1000 we have 200, and out of the first 10,000 there are 2000.

How many businesses are around at the 10 year mark?

4 of the first 100!

That’s right!

4!

Of the 100, 1000, or 10,000 enthusiastic entrepreneurs, those optimistic new business owners that started a decade ago, every one sure they’d make it, 4% will make it beyond 10 years.

That is, for every 10,000 new businesses started on January 1, 2000, less than 400 were still doing business on January 1, 2010!

Happy New Year!

Okay, are you ready?

Now that I have your attention, and my intention was not to discourage you or blow your mind, it was to wake you up, to shake you up, and to impress upon you how important it is to use the very best inbound marketing consulting firm you can hire.

You brother-in-law’s best buddy from high school who creates XYZ freebie websites in his spare time will assure one thing:

“Out of Business!”

Make sure you don’t skimp on the most important business investment you will make.

Yes, the most important…and in absolutely every way!

If you cut corners, hire one of the many rank amateurs calling himself or herself a “social media specialist,” an “inbound marketing consultant” or an “entrepreneur” with little or no experience, one result is certain:

“Out of Business!”

And you will fail in record time!

Do you want to talk turkey? Pizza? Real estate? HVAC? Plumbing? Plastic surgery? Podiatry? Yoga? Construction?

Anything?

Inbound Marketing Consulting isn't Kid Stuff!

Anyone Can Call Themselves an Inbound Marketing Consultant

Whether you use The Ultimate Internet Image for your search engine optimization (SEO), website/blog development, social media management, lead generation, direct response marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, management, branding, online marketing for local businesses and professional practices or another firm?

Hire someone with experience, someone with online and “real world” business success. And use someone who is committed to you and your business. Your business success should be your marketing consultant’s obsession. If it is not his or her obsession, or worse yet you don’t have someone working with you, find someone at once.

Talk to someone, reputable firms will provide you with a consultation and a comprehensive marketing analysis. The best will also provide you with a competitive analysis, as well.

Finally, the relationship you have with your inbound marketing consultant is as close to a marriage as you can get in business. Make sure you are compatible. You will be joined at the hip and your success depends on the relationship you develop. So hire the right consultant and the right inbound consulting firm because your success and your business’s survival depends on it.

Ask questions and don’t settle for less than the best!

Want to talk?

Call us today!

Professor John P. J. Zajaros, Sr.
The Ultimate Internet Image, LLC
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004 (office)
440-821-7018 (mobile)

*Want a copy of Meatball Sundae? Call for a free consultation and I’ll bring you a copy. No kidding!

LaVazios Pizza, Connections, and Tribes

Success in the Pizza Business…

…then and now!

I am taking you back over 40 years to Bay Village, Ohio in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

On the east end of Bay there was a tiny pizza shop tucked back in a strip of 3-4 businesses and an auto repair shop. The pizzeria was named for its owners; and its owners, Olga and “Voz,” were the business.

In every way that mattered, LaVazio’s Pizzeria was an honest to goodness mom and pop operation…and Olga and Voz were, you guessed it, mom and pop, respectively.

LaVazio’s Pizzeria had 3 or 4 booths across the front window and two more along the far wall. In addition to the booths, LaVazio’s offered two small tables with a couple of chairs, each in the center of the “dining room,” a space roughly 15’ by 20’ and always packed.

Olga took the orders and Voz cooked the pizzas, chicken, and potato wedges. Voz was always smiling and nodding, particularly as his fans came through the door. Olga was quick to smile, direct traffic, ring up to-go orders, and mother the faithful.

Olga was everybody’s mom and Voz was everyone’s dad…and they were magical together!

On the walls of the pizzeria, Olga and Voz were pictured riding camels, checking out the pyramids of Egypt, or posing for the faithful back home from some exotic location. Once or twice a year, every year, Olga and Voz would close their doors, post a Gone Fishing sign, and follow their dreams.

LaVazio's Pizzeria Considers Delivery for the First Time

LaVazio's Pizzeria Considers Delivery for the First Time


Everyone knew several things with certainty:

  1. Olga and Voz would be back
  2. Olga and Voz would reopen LaVazio’s, never missing a beat
  3. Olga and Voz would have new pictures for everyone to see
  4. The faithful would be there when they arrived

The faithful would welcome Olga and Voz home and share in the life they’d built and shared in that 15′ x 20′ dining room and the attached kitchen.

A new row of pictures would be added and Olga would provide the faithful with a mini-travelogue and Voz would look over, smile at his wife, nod at his fans and family, and then he would go back to his pizzas, chicken, and potato wedges.

I should say a word about the pizza, chicken, and potatoes at LaVazio’s Pizza:

Amazing!

I can still see it and, if I really focus, I can remember the smell…even the taste of it!
You see, Olga and Voz were feeding their family, their fans, the faithful, and the place was always packed and they never skimped! They were feeding the people who made their travels possible, their lives and adventure, and their business an institution.

Today we would call the faithful LaVazio’s Tribe!

Today, I can’t think of another pizzeria as good…then or now.

I’m certain my Bay High classmates, or the Bay guys that attended St. Ed’s or St. Ignatius, the Bay girls who attended Magnificat or St. Augustine’s, would agree.

LaVazio’s was an institution and Olga and Voz were Pizza Rockstars!

Here’s a question or three:

  1. Would Olga and Voz be Pizzeria Rockstars today?
  2. Would LaVazio’s be able to make it in an age of 30 minute delivery, two-for-one, and cardboard pizza?
  3. Would people wait in line just for a slice of ambrosia and another slice of history?

I think yes!

Today Olga and Voz would go viral in one way or another. People would talk about the magical pizza and a husband and wife who had nailed it in Bay Village.

Yes, I can see Voz smiling, Olga nodding and directing traffic, and my daughters videoing the whole experience, telling everyone who would listen that La Vazio’s was worth Yelping
, blogging, and tweeting about. The faithful would check in often with Foursquare and the Mayor of LaVazio’s Pizzeria would be a position of envy, something worth clicking for.

Yes, LaVazio’s would succeed because they would stand out, they’d care, they’d give back, and they’d remain unaffected and different!

You see, it wasn’t the pizza, although it was great, and it wasn’t the atmosphere, although it was special, even magical, and it wasn’t the décor, although the pictures were a constant source of smiles, amusing stories, and Voz’s nods. It was that sense of community, a connection, a feeling that we were all one big family…Olga our mom for the evening and Voz our second dad, always our second dad.

But the pizza was great…and I’ll never forget that picture with Voz on the camel!

Success in business, then and now, is about being unique and connecting with your Tribe.

We just didn’t know we were a Tribe back then…we do now!

Contact me anytime!

Professor John P. J. Zajaros, Sr.
The Ultimate Internet Image, LLC
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004 (office)
440-821-7018 (mobile)

NOTE: Have a similar story? A comment or feedback? We’d love to hear from you!