If you’ve been using the Internet for any length of time, then you have almost certainly seen them.
They are as annoying as buzzing insects, and the way to get rid of them is in fact similar to the way you swat a fly.
“They” are banner ads.
At one time a staple of web-based marketing, now these annoying messages are universally despised.
The few companies that still use get very little in return. In fact, it’s possible that these display ads showing up all over the web might do more harm than good.
Recent marketing studies have shown that people just don’t trust what companies are saying about themselves.
The vast majority of consumers today are savvy enough to look and see what their peers are saying about products and services that they purchase, or research, online.
The lesson here is that the days of “in your face” marketing are over. Consumers are bombarded with up to 5,000 promotional messages a day, according to The New York Times.
Many buyers now resent traditional sales approaches, and it doesn’t take a degree in marketing to see that making prospects hate you is a lousy sales strategy.
Fortunately, there’s another way to approach potential customers. It begins by remembering why people go on the Internet in the first place.
In most cases they’re looking for information.
The source that provides it will get their attention and probably their business.
This is the essence of content marketing, which draws prospects by giving them the facts they’re after, along with a short pitch for the sponsor.
Quality is Key
Content that holds reader’s interest must meet three criteria:
1. It must be engaging. Besides having proper spelling and grammar, it should be written in a style that both entertains and informs.
2. It must be practical. Readers should finish the piece feeling that they have gained something useful from it.
3. It must be to-the-point, free of fluff, and quick. Web users are notoriously impatient, and won’t tolerate jumping through hoops or enduring boredom for long.
The Bottom Line
Those who provide worthwhile content will enjoy their rewards. Those who don’t will fall by the wayside.
These are the new rules of web marketing. Learn them well.
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