What has fishing got to do with internet marketing?
I love to go fishing. When I’m next to the lake or ocean, I feel the inner calm that people who meditate discuss. On the best days, this means a mental state where we can experience clarity, rejuvenation and an increase in energy levels all at the same time.
When explaining a concept to someone, analogies seem to work better than anything. If someone can file a new idea into a known segment of their mind, the process happens more quickly. Information related to a story or a familiar association results in a better memory uptake and recall.
So, analogies are great.
Progress happens when an old idea gets combined with an innovation or thought process. Sometimes two well-known ideas are married together to create something new, based on nothing new at all.
So, in the name of progress, familiarity and innovation lets explore some fishing analogies to explain a couple of online marketing concepts.
If you like fishing or similar pursuits, this article might help you to understand something that can seem a little abstract. It’s written and presented to help expand your business through the use of the internet.
Success and failure
When you arrive at the water’s edge, you don’t know what the day will bring.
The best days involve lovely weather, plenty of fish and perhaps even a new friend. From the very first moment you wake up, you feel great, nothing goes wrong, and no equipment gets forgotten. All the traffic lights on the way to the venue are green. Your favourite fishing spot is vacant, and the picnic that your spouse provided is full of your favourite food. Even a loving note gets included!
On the worst fishing day of your life, you’ll catch nothing except a cold. Maybe your boat capsized. Perhaps your equipment ended up at the bottom of the lake. At which point, hailstones the size of marbles started raining down onto your face. The only positive side is that the red face looked like it got caused by cold, not anger, and the lake water hid your tears.
On some of the most epic fishing days, we experience a mixture of joy and pain.
Both of these analogies apply to business, and online, it’s no different. What you do next in your online efforts might result in a roaring success or a miserable failure. Just as in any business, failures outweigh successes, which make the successes much sweeter.
The best place to fish and the best bait to use.
So, if you’re an experienced angler, you’ll have an idea of the best baits that are likely to work for different species of fish. If you’re a regular to a particular fishing venue, then you’ll be aware of ‘hotspots’ and other areas that are a waste of time. In your online business, you’re likely to know what ‘bait’ appeals to your offline customers. You’ll also have an idea of which ‘spots’ online you are likely to get a bite.
But you don’t know for sure until you try. Even the best bait put in the perfect spot can result in the terrible days fishing that was mentioned in the ‘worst day ever’ example. Also, if we only fish in the places that have historically been good, and use previously successful bait, how do you break new ground?
More importantly, how do you get ahead of the competition? Those who are also experienced and aware of the effective baits and fishing spots?
The very best fishermen spend most of their time exploring their tried and tested baits, tackle, techniques and tactics. They also spend time in experimentation. They might use utterly different bait, in a new spot, for short periods, to discover a new hotspot or effective bait.
If you have a successful offline business, this is how you approach internet marketing. You try different tactics in different places. You approach with an open mind and a spirit of adventure.
Competition and saturation
So, this point links to the previous one about experienced anglers knowing the best spots to fish and the best bait to use. On every fishing lake, the following situation plays itself out.
Someone has a fantastic day where they catch a ton of fish in the corner, using meat paste as bait. This person tells his best friend about the winning combination and asks him to keep it to himself. Fast forward six months and the majority of people are using meat paste, and are casting to any part of the lake that looks remotely like a corner. None of these people catches much at all.
All the latest action gets enjoyed by the guy in the original success story. Now he is casting right to the middle of the lake, where the fish feel safe. He’s also using bread as bait, something which no-one has used for years. How did he know that this would work? Because he used the testing technique previously described. Even on his best days, he tests new tackle, bait and fishing spots.
The analogy here is clear. Success stories online spawn many copycats that push up advertising costs or make it hard to rank in the search engines. The best online marketers are always testing and trying new things.
One of the good things about marketing on the internet is that once you’ve found a new spot to try, your bait can be left there for months or even years. A blog post on LinkedIn Pulse, or a directory listing can stay there potentially re-directing visitors to you. The ‘bait’ never gets old, and you never have to pack it up and take it home.
See the internet like a fishing net
The word ‘internet’ is very accurate and descriptive. The net part doesn’t need explaining, and we know what a net is. We know roughly how it’s constructed and how we use it. The ‘inter’ part can get seen as interaction. What is the precise meaning of inter?
What the dictionary has to say:
inter- 1. a prefix occurring in loanwords from Latin, where it meant “between,” “among,” “in the midst of,” “mutually,” “reciprocally,” “together,” “during” (intercept; interest)
Excellent, there are some great words here. So, we have a net that has features of reciprocality or togetherness.
These words describe the best attributes of the internet, the connectivity and mutual benefit that can be derived.
Back to the fishing analogy.
We can see each thread of woven nylon as a strand of your online effort. One strand is your LinkedIn account, one is your home website, and another is the forum membership. Each join of the net is a new bond that you make with a new follower or associate.
A single website or a single strand of net won’t catch you anything. But as your network grows more extensive, with more online mentions, pages and links, so does the effectiveness of your net.
What is the best, most effective net? It is strong enough and big enough to land the fish, or customer of a lifetime.