Digital Vs. Traditional Marketing: Teacher Response to Homework #3

General Business Keeping

Grades on Blackboard.

Please remember to put your link to your website posts in your homework assignments on Blackboard.

Your posts for homework assignments are exercising in blogging

Blogging is one of the hallmarks of digital marketing. Blog posts show search engines you have fresh content, gain you followers on social media, and gain you subscribers to your blog feed. They allow you to include new keywords in your website without peppering existing pages with them (which can get you penalized by search engines).

The most important part of a blog post is the title. Without a catchy title, no one is going to read your post, especially if they encounter it over social media.

Tips for effective blog titles:

  1. Don’t bury the lead. Include the juiciest part of the story in your title.
  2. The main keyword for your title should be the first part of your title.
  3. Don’t use non-specific filler words like “something.” Tell your readers what that something is.
  4. Use a number whenever you can, i.e. 3 Tips for Effective Blogging.
  5. Think about your title as a value proposition. What value are you providing to your reader that would induce them to read your blog post?
  6. Make it unique to your blog post. Don’t rip off titles from other bloggers. You can use keywords from other bloggers, however, especially if you link to their post.
  7. Your title should be no more than 70 characters (including spaces), or it won’t display correctly in search engine results.

Example pretty good title:


Better version:

Slight Decline in ECU Ranking in US News and World Report

You’ll learn more about blogging as we go along, but in the meantime: try to improve the title of your next post to the website using the above guidelines.

Digital marketing is essentially the antithesis of traditional marketing

I’ve always been a good marketer. I was the kid who could outsell everyone else when my school made me do a fundraiser. But that work always felt unethical to me, like I was trying to force someone to do something against their will.

Over the years, I’ve sold:

  • Candy bars
  • Knives
  • Kids educational books
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Social media services
  • Websites
  • Full-blown digital marketing packages

Guess which ones I feel the best about? The thing with digital services is that there are so many to choose from that pressure sales tactics don’t work. There’s no door to knock on. The foot-in-the-door has been replaced by a digital advertisement or a search result.

Digital marketing is about making connections between consumers and products you’re passionate about. That’s it. The difference between the physical things I used to sell and the things I sell now is that I did give a crap about the physical things. I never read the magazines I was selling. They were crappy magazines. The knives I tried to sell probably couldn’t cut through quarter and then still remain sharp. They were products built on lies.

The products I sell now are the absolute best I can make them. If I make a website for an organization, it is worth far more than what they paid me. If I help an organization to reach new audiences, I better be okay with supporting that organization’s goals, because I am promoting those goals by helping them communicate more effectively.

People who get paid to do social media aren’t just tweeting all day

The other lesson I’ve learned about digital marketing is that it’s waaaaaay more complicated than traditional marketing. This was my process for selling a knife:

  • Travel to neighborhood with relatively new houses, indicating customers had money for “luxury” items (like knives they probably didn’t need)
  • Knock on doors with cars parked in driveway (indicating people were home)
  • Lie and say I’m not selling anything (or they would slam the door in my face), but just want to give them a free demonstration of the knives
  • About 60% of people would slam the door in my face anyway
  • The other 40% were my leads. I could probably talk them into a demonstration.
  • About 10% were my customers if I played my cards right.

This is my process for selling a digital product:

  • I’m on social media all the time talking about social media, digital marketing, UX, and related topics
  • Someone already in my professional network asks me for advice about their social media, website, or mobile application
  • I tell them I can probably help them (if I can’t, I tell them up front) and let them know I do consulting on a topic related to their problem; I offer to send them a proposal
  • I write a proposal and send it to them; about 90% of the people who get to this stage end up working with me

The lesson is: social media is the new word-of-mouth. People want to buy from brands and people that were recommended by someone they personally know. Why? Because people have learned the hard way that buying a knife from a total stranger that is supposed to cut through every substance known to man is just bad business.

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