THE RULES of Dating and Internet Marketing: How to Up Your Game!
I love to dish out unsolicited relationship advice. I also love my job as a marketing intern for the number one web-design firm in Washington, Blue Water Media (shameless plug, my apologies). So for your reading pleasure I’ve combined these loves in the following post about…drum roll please…dating and the Internet! No, I’m not talking about Match.com people. I’m referring to the fact that the same commonly used strategies to find, attract, and keep a romantic partner can be successfully applied to maximize your business’s success online. Both in the dating pool and the realm of Internet marketing, there’s no excuse for passivity. Rather than praying the cutie across the bar asks you out or interested customers randomly land on your self-made website, take action! Having a large following of loyal and involved customers, like finding "the one", happens overnight only for a select and fortuitous few. The rest of us have to work at it! So ladies and gentlemen, if you want to up your game, get back in the game, or simply win the game, read on!
Rule #1: Maximize your options and keep an open mind
A sorority sister once told me, "You never know where you’ll meet Mr. Right" (the master of picking up in odd places, she met her current boyfriend in an elevator). The girl makes an excellent point. Closed mindedness and sticking to the status quo are the nemeses of the aspiring Internet marketer and singleton looking for love. It is vital to use every avenue available to reach potential clients! Just because you’ve never thought of yourself as the kind of guy who’d go see Sex And The City 2 on a date, or the type of company to reach out to potential customers via Facebook, doesn’t mean you should rule them out entirely! You might just be surprised. There are many *cough* intelligent, articulate, and fascinating Sex And The City fans out there as well as Facebook users potentially in dire need of your business’s product or service! And while casting a wide net, be sure not to invest too heavily in one specific person or one form of Internet marketing right away. You have to experiment and see what works. Date. Flirt. Schmooze. Always be on the look out for potential clients (not just during business hours) and avenues to reach them. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking just having a website is enough. With tools like search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, email marketing, link building, social networking, and Google Analytics, there is a wealth of opportunity for growth at your fingertips. All of this activity gets a buzz going, and before you know it you will begin to cultivate…that’s right…GAME.
Rule #2: Put your best foot forward
As anyone who’s ever made a faux pas on a first date or flubbed a job interview knows, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. A friend of mine recently found this out the hard way when his blind date suggested they meet at an Ethiopian restaurant. He replied, "I didn’t know they had food in Ethiopia." Funny? Yes. But apparently not the best thing to say to an African Studies major about to join the Peace Corps in Ethiopia! To truly put your best foot forward, you must do your research and make a few investments up front. For example, fellows, never wear scruffy old shoes on a first date. Ever. There’s really no excuse and I PROMISE YOU, she’ll notice. Similarly, it’s to a company’s best advantage to ensure their website, marketing collateral, and activities are as targeted, professional, and up-to-date as possible. It is wise to enlist the help of a professional. Blue Water Media’s years of web design and online marketing expertise will ensure visitors take to your website, products, and services like techies to a Star Trek convention!
Rule #3: Keep it real
While it’s crucial to make an excellent first impression, in the words of the Jonas Brothers, "You can shine bright but still keep it real". In the dating world this principle means that you shouldn’t tell a potential date you’re 6’2 when you’re pushing 5’5, or that you speak fluent Chinese when your only Asian experience involves a Mr. Chow’s menu. In the marketing realm, the rule translates to: never lie or make false promises! By being yourself, you will attract customers (and dates!) that like the real you, and you‘ll avoid the bad press and tarnished reputation that result from disappointed clientele. Customer loyalty and trust are absolutely critical to your success in the business world.
Rule #4: Make them feel special
OK so you’ve identified a keeper (or a solid base of interested customers) by casting a wide net and maintaining an open mind, and won them over by creating a great first impression while "keeping it real". What’s next? Now comes the most important part: You need to deliver! Once you’ve hooked that guy/girl of your dreams, it’s personal attention or superb customer service that differentiates you from all the other Casanova wannabes. It is important to make your customers or that special someone feel, well, special! The details count! Just like surprise flowers, a trip for two, or tickets to the big game can make the day of your boyfriend or girlfriend (or fiancé or spouse! Romance should never end…), consistent exemplary customer service, regular newsletters, and tweets are sure to woo customers and make them swoon.
My final rant…
During a particularly grueling finals week my senior year of college, a wise professor told me, "Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration!" How true. I’m a firm believer that we not only make our own luck, but that to truly succeed in love, business, or anything else for that matter, we must possess unwavering determination! I realize this is a lot of inspirational mumbo jumbo to stomach in one sitting, so if you’ve read this far (and aren’t rolling your eyes wondering why you’re listening to a 22 year old intern), I applaud you. If nothing else, I hope you remember my four rules which are, to reiterate: 1) Maximize your options, 2) Put your best foot forward, 3) Keep it real, and 4) Make them feel special! But don’t just take my word for it. Incorporate these principles into your business’s online marketing plan (and love life!) and let the results speak for themselves. Game on.