When I talk to new businesses in industries that aren’t related to the Internet – F & B, Accountancy, Investment Services, etc – I come across a couple of myths that it’s worth dispelling right now.
It’s easy to see how these develop, but acting in accordance with them will generally do more harm than good.
So here goes:
The myth: You can pay to get a better position in the search results
The truth: You cannot.
There are two sections of results on the search results pages:
- The main part of the page (natural search results) where it’s definitely good to be number 1
- The sponsored ads part of the page which is on the right-hand side and, sometimes, the top and bottom
It can be useful to be at the top of the sponsored ads part of the page, but that will cost you a lot, especially on Google.
And it’s not the place you really want to be, because everyone now knows they’re ads and, increasingly, they’re ignoring them.
You want to be as high as possible in the natural search results (the main part of the page) and, for that, you cannot pay.
That’s all about the structure of your website, the content it contains and the number of people linking to you or sharing your content.
The myth: You can collect business cards from any and every one and mass email them every week with a new offer
The truth: you cannot.
Actually, that’s not quite true. You can.
But you risk having your server blacklisted, your delivery rate will be in the low teens, possibly single digits, and you’ll waste an enormous amount of time and effort.
And if your server is blacklisted your delivery rate will be zero.
If email marketing is part of your strategy you need to do it properly, particularly if you’re mailing people in the US.
The Can-Spam Act of 2003 provides for hefty fines (in the hundreds of thousands of US dollars) if someone successfully brings a claim against you for spamming.
And blasting emails to thousands of people each week, whose business cards you’ve collected without specifically getting their permission to email them, is spamming.
The Internet is not the Wild Wild West it once was.
People are as blind to ads online as they’ve been for decades in the offline world, and email spam is treated with the same disdain that junk mail is: it’s binned.
If you want to do well online now, you need a professional approach, good content, good branding and an intuitive website.
Without those your site visitors will click away in an instant.