Fix the Holes!

Once upon a time there was First Marketing Dude, and he told First Business Owner Dude, “You know, you get 2 sales out of every 100 people who walk in here, so why don't we bring in 1000?” Since then, billions of dollars have been wasted on advertising and marketing models that miss the mark. In our more charitable moments, we’d like to drop-kick First Marketing Dude out of the stadium. Send more traffic when you can’t convert the traffic you already get?

When our own Howie Kaplan, the Senior Conversion Analyst here who performs Conversion Assessments all day long, came across an article detailing search engine optimization and marketing firms’ complaints about their clients, he blew a gasket ... then blogged his reaction.

Sent out some ripples. Got himself quoted. Made the point brilliantly!

Do I look crazy to you?

Shari Thurow wrote in ClickZ Monday about How NOT to Work With an SEO/SEM Firm. She interviewed SEO/SEM firms about their most common client/prospect complaints:

"You'll have to change your Web site. Accept this fact before contacting us."

"We have a difficult time talking to people who honestly believe we can wave a magic wand and miraculously make a Web site appear at the top of search results, even in this day and age," said one SEO firm staffer. "In order for us to optimize a site, the site has to change: copywriting (and not just the meta-tag descriptions), information architecture, page layout, link development, you name it. The prospect's site must change in order for the prospect's site to receive increased 'natural' search engine traffic."

Another SEM firm echoes this sentiment. "When we said that the text content on your pages will need to be changed, what we meant was: the. text. content. on. your. pages. will. need. to. be. changed."

It's a valid point, but from a Conversion standpoint, it underscores a more important one to us- Why do people continue to try and attack a conversion challenge by throwing more traffic at it? It's pure lunacy to change your site to accommodate the recommendations of a firm whose stated goals are to provide more qualified traffic, when you've previously displayed an utter inability to close on the qualified traffic you currently enjoy.

Fix the holes in the bucket first, and then worry about how to add more water!

How's that for a sobering splash?  Howie’s in-your-face rant summarizes the philosophy that has defined us since our infancy in “message must be meat” language. Made sense to a number of folks who decided to give it a word-of-mouth life in Blogland. Make sense to you?

Volume 114: 7/1/05

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