Internet marketing isn’t mysterious. In fact, we can sum up the rules of the game in two words: stay ahead. Your marketing efforts are only worth it if you’re using the right tools, addressing the right people, and saying the right words. And in the fickle world of the Web, these things change more often than you probably think. Below are three marketing trends that have gone archaic (at least in Web terms) and their modern counterparts
1. The squeeze page
To the uninitiated, a squeeze page is one of those “trap” pages that won’t let you go without getting an email address. The owners will then use this address to send you promotional material (read: spam), often in the form of crafty corporate letters. It doesn’t take an expert to see why it never caught on: it’s deceptive, annoying, and not even credible.
The alternative: landing pages
This is a simple page with a brief sales pitch and well-placed imagery. Nothing flashy or elaborate—all you do is show off your product and say what it does. If you need to gather contacts, do it the ethical way: put up a separate form with an opt-out check box.
2. E-mail marketing (Purchased List)
E-mail marketing is basically the direct mail of the 21st century. Using a voluntary mailing list, you e-mail updates to presumably interested subscribers about your business or products. But with spam filters in virtually every inbox, you’d be lucky to reach even one-third of your readership.
The alternative: blogs
Corporate blogging allows you to keep in touch with your market while building a solid reputation. Interested readers can leave comments, which can generate search engine traffic and increase your readership. It takes more work on a regular basis, but if you keep it up, the results are more than worth it.
3. Mobile advertising
If you’re considering adapting your content to mobile platforms, forget it—at least not this year. With the economy tanking, fewer people will be walking around with a Blackberry, and even fewer will have the patience to read marketing material.
The alternative: the “good old Web”
Unless your market is the Blackberry-toting elite, you’re probably better off developing content for cheaper, more traditional platforms. Put more energy into browser and OS compatibility, social networking, and search engine marketing.