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How Far Are You Willing To Go For Promotion?

Posted by on May 23, 2008

A friend of mine Sue Tosto, a relationship coach, recently wrote a post in her blog titled What Kind Of Attention Do You Want. Her basic lament is how these days one goes onto a site such as Facebook or MySpace and sees these young girls barely dressed and wondering if that’s really how they want to project themselves.

I’ve been reading things lately where both men and women are losing the opportunity for getting some pretty good jobs because more and more companies are hiring someone whose responsibility it is to go online and look for information on these applicants, and they’re going to sites like those above and not liking what they see, and turning down those applicants. It’s not only about qualifications anymore, especially as the web has given everyone the opportunity to express themselves in whatever fashion they so choose. Not only that, but as we learned from the Miss New Jersey situation last year, setting those pictures up as private means literally nothing anymore. I have enough knowledge to be able to figure my way into a lot of things; I just don’t (cough).

I think about that sort of thing all the time as I work towards promoting all of my businesses. In Hollywood, agents may say that any publicity is good publicity, but most of us don’t have the luxury of trying to recover from negative publicity, especially when it gets out to a large audience. And, truth be told, negative publicity doesn’t mean you did anything wrong either; some marketing ideas just don’t work.

For instance, think about your image of a lawyer. Now try to think of that same lawyer wearing baggy sweats and a baseball cap. Now imagine you’re in deep trouble of some sort, and need a very good lawyer to get you out of trouble. Who are you going to when you need help? If you didn’t already know the guy in sweats, you’re going to someone who looks the part, right? If you saw a commercial on TV from a lawyer wearing sweats and a baseball cap and he or she was telling you how good their law firm is, how much credibility do you think that would carry, whether it was true or not? Memorable, sure, but credible?

For my “day time career”, there’s a certain standard that’s expected for me in order to get contracts. Consulting has its own set of rules, and the kiss of death would be to decide to be far away from the norm. I already have an uphill battle, being one of a very few minorities who do what I do, so the last thing I can afford is to be seen as too much of a radical or party guy, both of which aren’t my nature, but on my business blog I will tackle issues that I won’t address here.

I met one guy locally who’s a millionaire, and he was telling a group of us some of the things he’s done over the years in promoting his businesses. Some of those things make good business sense; some of them would basically end the careers of the rest of us.

So, let’s relate this to being online. We all want traffic and visitors, and we all want to be credible. At the same time, all of us knows that if we can find a way to stand out from the crown that we might increase the number of our visitors even more, because people might want to see what the heck you’re going to do next. Now, Rich Jerk might be able to get away with abusing visitors, but most of us can’t do that sort of thing. We also can’t, or shouldn’t, have all sorts of bells and whistles when people visit our site, because those things get really irritating. I talked a couple of posts ago about how much I hate popups, but something else I can’t stand is either music or video automatically playing when I visit a site; irritating as sin. I also don’t like flash start up pages; get me to the content quickly.

So, how far will you go in promoting your business or blog in order to achieve a substantial online status? How far should you go? What kind of attention do you want? Hey, that’s how we started, isn’t it? 😉

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John Dilbeck:

Good afternoon, Mitch.

I think this is a very good question, “How far are you willing to go for promotion?”

I’ve done things in the past that I would never do now. I no longer use popups or popunders, and the more I see them, the more I hate them.

The same goes in for newsletter subscription forms that slide in across the page or follow you up and down the page. That just shrieks of desperation.

I know that testing shows that more people subscribe when these forms are used, but I’m willing to do without those subscribers. If someone isn’t willing to do a little looking on the page to subscribe, that’s fine with me. They probably are not in the market I’m targeting.

If the content I write won’t attract a subscriber, I don’t want to resort to “tricks” just to get bigger numbers.

I certainly don’t want to use tricks that irritate my core readership just to pick up a few readers on the fringe of what I do.

I want to build a substantial presence and I want my readers to trust what I say.

I am not looking for negative publicity and I try not to promote something I wouldn’t buy myself.

That narrows the choices I can make, and that’s fine with me. In a world of ever-growing possibilities, ruling out huge swaths of choices makes it a bit easier for me to keep on track and do what I set out to do.

Less bells and whistles, more attention to customer service.

I’ll take integrity over technical tricks, any day.

Thanks for asking the question. I enjoyed stopping and thinking about it for a few minutes.

Act on your dream!


November 28th, 2008 | 1:42 PM

I’ve got to tell you, John, you leave some of the best comments I’ve ever read.

And you hit upon all the things I absolutely hate myself; I think we’re clones, of a sort. I will say that I don’t mind people promoting something they wouldn’t buy so much, but it depends on how it’s done. I’d hate the blatant lie, but if someone introduced something based on research, or a new product they’ve heard about but haven’t tried and is just mentioning it, I don’t mind. But being lied to outright would irk me to no end.

Glad I got you thinking; let’s see how often I can do that.

November 28th, 2008 | 6:59 PM