What has fishing got to do with internet marketing?
I love to go fishing, when I am next to the lake or ocean I feel the inner calm that people who meditate discuss. The mental state where we can experience clarity, rejuvenation and an increase in energy levels all at the same time.
To get a point across, analogies seem to work better than anything. If someone can file a new concept into a known segment of their mind, the process happens easier. Information related to a story or a familiar association results in a better memory uptake and recall.
So, analogies are great… Fishing is wonderful…
Progress happens when an old idea is joined to a new innovation or thought process. Sometimes two well known ideas are married together to create something new, that is 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 in relation to expanding your business through the use of the internet.
Success and failure
When you arrive at the waters edge, you don’t know what the day will bring.
The best days involve wonderful 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 is forgotten. All the traffic lights on the way to the venue are green. Your favorite fishing spot is vacant, and the picnic hamper that your spouse provided is full of your favorite foods… Even a loving note is included!
On the worst fishing day of your life you will catch nothing except a cold. This will be because your boat capsized and much of 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 is was 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 are applicable to business, and online business is no different. What you do next in your online efforts might result in a roaring success, or a miserable failure. In fact, just as in any type of business, the failures outweigh the successes, which make the successes much sweeter.
The best place to fish and the best bait to use.
So, if you are an experienced fisherman you will have an idea of the best baits that are likely to work for different species of fish. If you are a regular to a particular fishing venue then you will be aware of ‘hot spots’ and other areas that are a waste of time. In your business, and in your online efforts you are likely to know what ‘bait’ appeals to your offline customers. You will also have an idea of which ‘spots’ online you are likely to get a bite.
But you don’t really 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 spots that have historically been good, and use bait that has been previously successful, how do you break new ground? More importantly how do you get ahead of the competition 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 a completely different bait, in a totally new spot, for short periods of time, in order to discover a new hot spot 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 is linked to the previous one about experienced fishermen knowing the best spots to fish and the best bait to use. On every fishing lake the following situation plays itself out…
Someone has an amazing day where they catch a ton of fish in the corner, using meat paste as bait. This person just tells his best friend about the winning combination and asks him to keep it to himself. Fast forward 6 months and the majority of fishermen are using meat paste, and are casting to any part of the lake that looks remotely like a corner. None of these people are catching anything at all.
All the action is being 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 is 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. In fact even on his best days, he tests new tackle, bait and fishing spots.
The analogy here is obvious, many success stories online often spawn a number of 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 have found a new spot to try, your bait can be left there for months or even years. For example, 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 too much explaining, we all know what a net is, how it is constructed and what it is used for. The ‘inter’ part can be seen as interaction. What is the official meaning of inter?
This is 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)
Wonderful, there are some great words here. So, we have a net that has features of reciprocality or togetherness.
These words really 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 that you are part of. 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 wont catch you anything… But as your network grows larger, 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.