Boiled down to its essence, ecommerce is really about marketing.
In the brick-and-mortar world, a small retailer might have a half-dozen competitors citywide, and location, longevity, and luck can be as important as marketing. For example, there is a small, dirty bike shop I know that outsells all of its competition, simply because 20 years ago its disagreeable owner bought a storefront on what has become one of the busiest corners in my state. But online, with thousands of sites competing, a clever location (URL) is not enough, and good marketing makes all of the difference.
So what has me praising good marketing? A new book from authors Brandon Eley and Shayne Tilley titled, “Online Marketing Inside Out.” The book proposes to cover “all you need to know to start promoting your business online.” And to a significant degree it delivers. For this reason, I am awarding “Online Marketing Inside Out” four and a half out of a possible five stars in this “The PeC Review.”
“The PeC Review,” is my weekly attempt to introduce you to some of the products and services that I believe can help you improve your ecommerce business. For just $29.95, purchasing and reading this book is well worth the investment.
Good Basic Information
“Online Marketing Inside Out,” provides very good, basic information about online marketing tactics and seeks to briefly help users combine those tactics into an intelligent online promotional strategy.
The book covers everything you would expect, including social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) in a concise format that is typical of texts from this publisher, SitePoint Pty. Ltd.
In each chapter, the authors do a very good job of explaining a particular online marketing tactic, providing information about best practices and establishing a good foundation from which ecommerce marketers can launch more detailed inquiries or get started with a campaign.
For example, on page 35, the authors encourage readers to develop use cases as guides during website design and development. The section on use cases—which I think are very important—is only about 110 words long, but it provides everything you need to know to get started. Some readers will do further research regarding use cases, but, again, the book provides a very good basic description and enough information to begin using the technique.
Many Online Marketing Gems
As I read through the book, I discovered many pithy statements that inspired and invigorated. I was impressed enough with these gems to start making a list in the front of my copy of the book. Some of my favorites included:
“You need to run campaigns that focus on delivering quality traffic, rather than live under the misconception that more is better.”
“The key [to non-traditional marketing] is to create an idea that is consistent with your brand and who you are as a company.”
“Your social conscience should be motive enough to ensure your website is accessible to all.”
“Good design is as much about problem-solving as it is about great aesthetics.”
Differences of Opinion
Marketing is actually more of an art than a science. So it is not uncommon for practitioners to have differences of opinion.
For most online marketers, these differences normally occur in areas like SEO, which can spawn some passionate arguments, or traditional advertising. “Online Marketing Inside Out,” does a very good job of staying out of the muck that can sometimes be associated with differences of opinion and generally focuses on widely accepted, online marketing best practices.
As a reviewer, I want to make it clear that I don’t agree with everything this book suggests. For example, I have had significant success with list renting, but the authors discourage it. I fearlessly recommend the use of Adobe Flash; the authors are cautious. But there is nothing in this book that I would say you should avoid. In general, differences of opinion aside, this is a great online marketing book.
“Online Marketing Inside Out” is a top-notch resource on the basics of online marketing. It provides a firm foundation from which ecommerce marketers can launch campaigns, and it can serve as a good starting place for more in depth research about any of the topics it covers.
Finally, it is worth noting that the authors have real world experience. Brandon Eley, for example, founded the online store 2BigFeet.