Viral Marketing and SEO: Marketing Truth Serum

January 7, 2008 at 10:44 pm Leave a comment

I came across an interesting post in Jeremy Levine’s Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained blog. I don’t normally go to venture blogs to look for marketing advice – and in fact was looking for something else – but this entry gave me pause.

In what Levine calls his multiple choice test for consumer Internet startups:

Does your company attract users with any of these things?

  1. an inherently viral idea
  2. search engine optimized content that grows naturally with usage
  3. the ability to spend money to acquire users with a very fast payback
  4. none of the above

He rightly points out that if your answer is “None of the above,” then you have a big problem.

I found this interesting from a marketing standpoint. Even if you are not looking to start a consumer Internet company, how would your marketing efforts do on this test? How many times have you heard marketers talk about “viral marketing”? And do they practice it at all? Typically not. Most SEO work is done exactly once by marketing departments – when the site is built – and never touched again. Many, many ads are purchased with no heed to the cost of sale or the lifetime value of a customer.

So take a read of the post and think about your marketing programs. Imagine your company depended on their success (Sadly, most companies do depend on marketing programs for their success, but there is so much distance, lack of visibility/metrics, or finger pointing that people can’t figure out how effective the programs really are.). Could you set up something really viral in your offering? Could you set up a community that grew itself and rose to the top in Google? Could you nail your customer profile so you knew just how to advertise to them and make a profit?

What if it were just you and your product, looking for traction to self-fund or get funding? Would you make it? Hypothetical or not, if the answer is no, then I think you’ve got some work to do.

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Entry filed under: Advertising, SEO. Tags: , .

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