Online Marketing in the Connection Economy

I started writing this article intending to provide an introduction to the general concept of Search Engine Optimisation specifically, and online marketing in general.

However I have decided to write about a more important topic that I believe will provide readers more value in the long run.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll talk about online marketing but more importantly I want to give you a framework with which you can use to think about your online marketing efforts more strategically and more holistically.

The World Has Changed

The world has changed more than you can imagine.  The development and maturation of a range of technologies and social movements which include the internet, online search and discovery, social media, open source tools and software have empowered individuals and businesses in a way that has never before been possible.

In Seth Godin’s most recent book, The Icarus Deception, he talks about the new Connection economy, an economy that rewards art in the creation process rather than compliance with the past, an economy where truly innovative individuals and businesses focus on trust, remark ability, leadership and inspirational stories that get shared with others.

It is an economy where the old way of mass marketing, using a megaphone to sell as many of your products as possible to as many people that you can, no longer work.

With the current technologies and connections that these technologies enable the balance of power has shifted and old style marketing approaches are ineffective.

With the touch of a few buttons I can find out what my friends think about a product, service or company.  My connections allow me to be informed in a way not possible before the Internet.

So to be successful in the current connection economy you need to have a grasp on the following key elements, and use them as a guiding light for your online marketing efforts.

Build a home with solid foundations

You need a place where you or your business can be heard.  Where your opinions and perspectives can live. You need a place which is yours and cannot be taken away from you at the whim of a corporate organisation.

What I mean by this is that online, you need your own web presence, whether in the form of a traditional website or a blog.  Although a blog may perform better as it gives you to ability to have a conversation.

Your web presence should sit at the core of all of the social connections, networks, and services where you go to engage with your audience. So go to Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus to connect, but lead them all back to your ‘home’.

Conversation may happen in social media but home is where conversion (sales & leads) happen, and home is often where you derive the most value from your online activities.

Make Connections through Conversation

This simply means that you need to go where your prospects hang out and enter the conversation there. Talk about the same things they talk about, their problems, solutions, resources and more.

The goal is to build an audience of like-minded people with whom you can easily connect with and who will provide you with all of the key elements of social proof, interaction, and sharing.

And interestingly enough, it is these things that are becoming increasingly more important to Google when they go through the process of looking at which pages to rank highly in their search engine.

Create Like an Artist regularly.

Put differently this might be to engage in content marketing.  Create quality content that solves problems, that appeals to the audience with which you have connections, that attracts social sharing, links and more conversation.

Create content that builds trust, familiarity and confidence in your abilities as a service provider.  Use words that your prospects use. And share your content amongst your audience in Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook.

The artist reference means that you should embrace all of the tenants that make great art great.  Individuality, creativity and quality and embed that in all of the things you create. Because in the connection economy it is these things that set us apart from the homogenous marketing organisations that we are quickly learning to distrust.

You may have noticed that I did not talk about search engine optimisation tactics, tools and technologies.  That’s because these things come and go.

Its expected of you in this economy that you will be come competent in these things in the same way that people learned how to use the telephone when it was invented.

What is more important is that you understand the context into which all of your online marketing activities are conducted so that you can do it with authenticity and be successful in your efforts.


Images Courtesy of Stuck In Customs