Internet Marketing Tactics – What’s Hot And What’s Not

TopRank recently ran a survey of the top digital marketing tactics marketers plan to implement this year.  They also published some great insights on the fact that social media marketing tops digital marketing tactics for 2009.

Some tactics are clearly hot, while others are not.  I thought it would be worthwhile to go through 5 tactics that are hot and 5 that are not and provide my views on why certain tactics are resonating while others are not used and/or ineffective:

Hot:  Blogging (34%)

Why it’s hot: done properly, blogging builds deep interactions, its use is only limited by your creativity, allows you to forge deep relationships, has cumulative results over time, is a strong traffic generator, simple to implement, huge lead generator, has the ability to help accomplish/supplement many other internet marketing tactics, lets you build permission and create strong relationships (see more reasons your business should blog).

Not: Advergames (1%)

Why it’s not: shallow interaction generated, media buys necessary to drive traffic (baring some extremely rare exception, advergames don’t spread very far in social media), high cost to develop, low or un-trackable ROI, viewed as trite/obnoxious by real gamers, no compelling reason for consumers to play when casual gaming market has exploded (pro game creators such as Nintendo are highly targeted casual gamers, leaving little reason to play an after-run corporate advergame).

Hot: Search engine optimization (28%)

Why it’s hot: findability for your business, consistent, reliable traffic generator, cumulative ROI over time, strong lead generator, tangible results, directly measurable – results are shown as raw data, perhaps even more necessary in a recession.

Not: RSS advertising (1%)

Why it’s not: RSS is a fast-moving enviornment made up of early adopters who have long-ago learned to tune out web ads either mentally or by using products like AdBlock plus.  Pull marketing is a far more efficient srategy to reach the early adopters than push.

Hot:  Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (26%)

Why it’s hot: fishing where the fish are is always a good move, and with 150+ million users, Facebook is a hot place to fish.  Using these networks as part of your outpost strategy to draw visitors back to a web property for your desired conversions is a smart move.  Also the low or no cost of using these networks gives them a big nod (although there is of course the time commitment factor).

Not:  Virtual worlds (Second Life) (1%)

Why it’s not: I’m still not sure why some marketers ever ventured into setting up shop in Second Life or other virtual worlds, I personally never saw much (if any value) here.  In my mind, it runs counter to what a “virtual world” is – an escape from the real world.  You can’t get away from the fact that the basic motivation of someone with enough free time to join a virtual world has an escapist mentality and thus doesn’t want reality creeping into the experience.  Many brands that entered Second Life received a minor PR bump in the media, but otherwise the shops they set up in the virtual worlds were nothing more than virtual ghost towns.

Hot:  Pay per click (14%)

Why it’s hot: PPC is potentially huge, if and only if you take the time to analyze data, work hard within the system and refine refine refine.  Those who track and maximize conversions and work relentlessly to develop strong campaigns can reap huge benefits here.  Don’t think for a second that just because you are paying for clicks it is going to be easy – just the opposite – it is a huge challenge but one that can produce big results if you know the path to follow.

Not:  paid reviews (0%)

Why it’s not: this is an inauthentic tactic and one which if done in a manipulative fashion and then later discovered can prove disastrous.  Additionally, paid reviews with transparency are simply not trusted.  If you have to pay someone to review your product or company – you probably should rethink your product/company.

Hot:  Online/digital public relations (7%)

Why it’s hot: as print and traditional media undergo major restructurings, digital media is growing like wildfire.  The web is a more influential medium than print, and the PR industry as a whole is moving right along with it.

Not:  No holds barred spam (0%)

Why it’s not: spam upsets users, is illegal and can harm your reputation on the web to irreparable degrees depending on what is done.  A dangerous and irresponsible tactic, spam is not something smart marketers use.

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