That’s it. You’re on a time out.
Ian Lurie Dec 15 2008
This post might just get me fired. Some client somewhere will read it and be horribly offended that their behavior drives me crazy.
To them, I can only say: My kids drive me crazy, too. But I’ve stayed up all night with them when they’re sick, driven them to the emergency room, helped them learn to read, add, multiply and to play Lego Star Wars. They’re smart, just like you. They’re sophisticated, just like you. And while I might not jump in front of a speeding car for you, I will do everything in my power to help you succeed.
Wear your ability to drive me to distraction as a badge of honor. I like you. I’m passionate about your products. But I’m sending you to sit on the stairs for 10 minutes.
When will we see results?
You just hired me three weeks ago to manage a product launch, a political campaign or what-have-you. You want my team to run multiple social media campaigns, an SEO campaign and analyze the results. When we talked, I may have pointed out 50-100 times repeatedly that we’re looking at a long-term, 3-6 month commitment, minimum.
Yet there you are, a week later, telling me we have to produce results Right Now Dammit or we’re fired.
Internet marketing takes time. Not much time. In the Bad Old Days you’d spend months and tens of thousands of dollars shooting a TV spot, then cross your fingers that it worked. Now, you roll out your campaign in a few weeks and start collecting data right away.
But it still takes time. I’m not ignoring you, neglecting your campaign or somehow failing you. We are hard at work. Be a little patient. Just a bit.
Why does this other site outrank me?…
We’ve been optimizing your site for 6 months. You’ve got lots of new content, some quality links and your organic site traffic has gone up 50%.
It just drives you nuts, though, that you don’t rank number 1 for that one phrase.
The truth is, I probably have no idea why that site outranks you. Google won’t tell me. I can analyze backlinks, review content and check their site all day long. It could be that Google favors sites with ‘S’ in their address over sites with ‘G’ in their address. I have no idea.
What I do know: If we keep adding quality content, keep your site visible and stick to the plan, success is inevitable. I’m way too obnoxious to lie, so trust me.
What else can you do?
Your CMS is broken. Your development team says it’ll take 2 months to change your title tags. You don’t have any budget for link work or PPC. And you won’t let me launch a blog or another site.
So, Ian, what else can you do?
I can remain upright on a bicycle without moving. I can also recite most of The Raven from memory. And beat 4 people simultaneously at Starcraft.
However, I can’t help you with your internet marketing campaign unless you’re willing to take ownership. Fire your developers, no matter how much it scares you. Get a new CMS. Pull it all up by the roots and start over if you must. Sometimes change hurts, a lot, and I know you have enough problems without me coming in and playing the pouty consultant. But we internet marketers have your best interests at heart. Listen to us. A little. Once in a while. OK?
Have you seen this new tool…?
You just found a neat new gadget that will let visitors spin your product around on your site, zoom in on the minutest detail and then custom-order it.
It’s cool! I agree!
But I think we’d better:
- Fix your shopping cart so it has less than a 90% bailout rate;
- Get your site more than 10% indexed by search engines;
- Set up analytics;
- Stop the bleeding in your PPC account.
I agree – I think it’s a great tool. But you have to set priorities. Sales should be your first priority. Not coolness.
We’re not getting conversions. What’s wrong with you?
Too be honest, it ain’t us. You hired someone else to build your site, another company to design your landing pages, another company to write your copy and then tacked us on to buy PPC ads.
I know it made financial sense, but you’ve got too many cooks. And frankly, most of them are stirring the soup with their hands because they don’t know any better.
Fire us, and everyone else. Start over with a single, competent team that can pull it all together. You’ll be better off in the end.
Nothing but love for ya
I sincerely, really do like all of my clients. I don’t work with people I don’t like. That’s the benefit of working 15 hour days for 14 years – I get to choose.
I also know you’re smart. That’s why it sometimes drives me a little loopy when you stick your finger in the internet marketing outlet. Ask me next time, before you do, OK?
I pondered whether to publish this for about 2 hours after I wrote it. I finally did, figuring most of my clients know I’m totally insane anyway, and will likely ignore this entire post. I’m backing away now, sloooowwwllly…
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint.He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More