[thelist] Getting New Business

deke web at master.gen.in.us
Sun May 13 13:11:55 CDT 2001

On 12 May 2001, at 18:39, sfmalo posted a message which said:

> I still think advertising is important, but am not sure what is the best
> value for your dollar. My Web Design teacher kept saying that the best way
> to get known was to get as many reciprocal links as possible ... and word of
> mouth (satisfied customers) who will refer you. Now, that was 2-1/2 years
> ago. Have things changed? I don't know. But, we're all in the same boat as
> to how to get more business.

Have things changed? Of course - change is inevitable, except from
a vending machine. But *people* haven't changed. 

Reciprocal links individually tend not to bring a *lot* of traffic - but
they don't take the constant attention that search engine optimization
requires.  Spend the same amount of time on reciprocal links that you 
would spend on on search engine optimization, and you'll end up with
ten times the results for your effort.

Word of mouth is hard to organize. People who are especially happy
with you may spontaneously mention you to one or two people. And
in response to requests, they will gladly refer others to you - but it
is difficult to get people to ask the question you want asked. OTOH,
it is *very* easy to get people to talk ill of you.

"Viral marketing" was a hot catch phrase for fifteen minutes, some
time ago. It still works, but it's not easy to develop a system that
works. If you reward the person who recommends you, your user
is likely to feel that he's being asked to sell out his friends. If you
only reward the person who is recommended, there's little in it for 
your user. You can use "mail this page to a friend" code, but it
is of limited use - people are hesitant to enter email addresses from 
fear of spam, even on large well-known sites that ought to engender 

If it was easy, they wouldn't pay us the big bucks, now, would they?


 "The church is near but the road is icy; 
  the bar is far away but I will walk carefully." 
                            -- Russian Proverb

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