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Sunday, December 07, 2003

Then What?

Well, the promised next installment on events and personal passages during my recent disappearance from blogging is long overdue.

As reported, I had made the decision to return to the work sphere. I described how I was unable to simply dust off the rolodex and go back to my former activities. Which left the question: if not that, then what?

Which led me to begin to address seriously a development that was becoming increasingly obvious to me—the recent emergence of Google AdWords and Overture, plus ever-cheaper and more effective tracking software, and other advances. A marketing revolution? Maybe. Maybe not. What’s clear is that a new space of possibility has opened up—especially for the little guy.

Yes, I engaged in some internet marketing in my past work life. It was such a new field, however, we didn’t really know that much about what we were doing. And we certainly weren’t alone. Unwittingly, we--and many others--sold our clients a bill of goods. Even though we were acting in good faith on the basis of the knowledge we had at the time, I feel pretty sheepish when I look back on it.

I could recite the pitch in my sleep:
“Yes, Mr./Ms. Client, if you let us handle your Web channels, not only will you get a good-looking, optimally functioning site, you’ll be tapping into our full range of marketing savvy. Not only will we do a full-out PR effort, we will submit your site to over a hundred of the top search engines, and we’ll continue to re-submit on an ongoing basis.”

Well golly gee whiz!

The fact of the matter is that the so-called search engine marketing that was sold in those days—and much of what continues to be—is a joke and a money drain. But, as I said, we didn’t know that then. Our clients got great-looking, well-functioning sites, but more sales leads? More new business? Strictly a crapshoot.

These attractive sites that we proudly showed off are nothing more than a now-required cost of doing business—a necessary evidence of credibility, like letterhead or fax numbers, with about the same degree of marketing significance.

Well, Jack, throw that old model out the window and get ready for the new world of small-is-beautiful—and I do mean Ad Words. Google gets it, and the mom-and-pop entrepreneur is the beneficiary.

So—your humble writer decided to cough up some (gulp) serious bucks to attend the finest training he could find, so that he could get current on the latest advances and prepare himself to serve a new, small scale class of clients, maybe create some Web-assisted passive income vehicles, maybe assist others in doing the same (e.g., folks cast off by the system but still having their mojo if not their moolah), and maybe help entrepreneurs struggling to figure out what to do with their Web presence.

So, fellow bloggers, as you were slaving over your blogs, I was rubbing shoulders with some of the best minds in the internet marketing universe, trying to soak up as much as I could. Three of my favorites in this group were Perry Marshall, Don Crowther, and Jim Maddox. Anyone who can afford to retain these guys as their ongoing consultants is indeed fortunate.

Where will this new direction lead me? Who can say? All I can do is move forward one day at a time—as clichéd as that is—and do my utmost to maintain an attitude of positive expectation. If it doesn’t work, c’est la vie. I’ve had a long and full life.

Meanwhile, it’s very energizing to put myself to this test. Lord knows, at this stage of the game, I can use whatever energy source I can latch onto. (Ha! Ended my post with a preposition. Always wanted to do that).

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