So, you’ve decided to hire an internet marketing company. Congratulations! Before you kick back your heels and say “go do it” to your newly hired partners, though, here are a few things you’ll need to know about internet marketing.

Change your website: You’ll have to change your web site. A lot. Search engine optimization will require changes to content, code and maybe your entire server infrastructure. Conversion optimization and testing will require tweaks to your site design. Make sure you’ve got access and resources to handle that.

Social media is everywhere: You will end up on Facebook, and Twitter, and who knows where else. Get used to it.

Branding: Your branding people will freak out. Lose their minds. Swallow their own tongues. Because your internet marketing firm is going to push things. In social media, nut cases win…. It’s true. Everyone is eccentric, one way or another. Some people sing to themselves all the time. Others clean their houses compulsively. I’m a wild biker type when not presenting myself professionally. I have a stamp on my desk that reads “Customers find them. AND KILL THEM.” There you have it.

Test everything: Your assumptions will be challenged. A good internet marketing agency will want to test everything. They’ll add a big red ‘buy now’ button to the home page, or move navigation around, or tweak your e-mail marketing creative.

Turnaround times: Turnaround times will shrink. Rapid iteration is the best way to win at internet marketing.

Content is king: Someone’s gonna have to write. No content, no marketing. Period.

Social media requires characters

Sanity is boring. In social media, sanity is also fatal. If you want to stand out in social media, you can’t afford to be ‘low-key’ or ‘mainstream’. You can’t ‘have wide appeal’. You need to be a character. Just a teensy bit nuts. Loopy, in a friendly kind of way. Some people might even call it ‘passionate’.

I’m not talking about being fake, or pretending you’re someone you’re not. You don’t need to fake craziness. You need to tap into your own personal form of craziness. You have one.

There’s no way you don’t. You do something that makes people avoid eye contact and back away slowly. When you do that, you’re also tapping into whatever it is that makes you great at what you do.

I’m a salesman with a yen for writing. Of course I went into marketing! Letting my inner Woody Allen out, just a little, makes writing this blog fun. It also attracts a certain kind of reader – the kind I like to talk to.

It’s about getting crazy in a good way. Sort of like me right now. I’m typing like a caffeinated Tasmanian Devil. It’s not the most focused thing I’ve ever written, but damn, it’s fun.

Go crazy

Too many companies approach social media like it’s going to explode. They’re tentative, nervous, and afraid to show any personality when that’s precisely what they need to do. So, Ms./Mr. Blue Chip CEO, give it a shot. Give us just a teensy taste of what makes your company a nut case. We’ll thank you for it

The short version: Everyone on your team, from the web developers to the designers to the CEO, are going to be uncomfortable. A good internet marketing firm will work just as hard to fit things to your own culture, to a point. but a good firm will also be brutally honest if they feel you’re hurting yourself.

Nothing ventured is nothing gained and what better place to test than online marketing which is completely measurable and where you can change stream in an instant providing you with marketing nirvana.

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