Internet Marketing and the Second 50
Ian Lurie Jan 27 2010
I used to do these ultra-marathon cycling events. ‘Used to’ means ’16 years ago’, by the way. You’d get up in the morning, ride 200-500 miles in a single day, and then go pass out.
But I learned something really important: No matter how long the ride, the second 50 miles is the worst.
In the first 50 miles, you’re charged up. You’ve been carbo-loading for a month, have your bike totally in tune, and it’s 5 AM, so there’s no wind.
Then you hit the second 50 miles. The sun comes up, and with it, a nasty headwind (always – why is that?). You’re getting hungry again, but you’re still massaging out jaw cramps from the last energy bar you chewed. And the guy in front of you smells like he rolled in something dead. Ugh.
For me at least, it’s always that second 50.
A distant connection
Now, look at internet marketing. You have a web site. It’s unproductive.
You make a few little SEO tweaks, add a button that says ‘buy now’ and WHAM, sales rise 75%.
Wow! This rocks! Time for an energy bar!
That’s the first 50. Now comes the second 50.
For your SEO effort, there are no more ‘easy’ fixes or low-hanging links to grab. It’s not about going from invisible to #20 on Google, it’s about getting from #20 to #8. The latter is infinitely harder.
For your conversion rate optimization effort, you have to start working on your checkout funnel, which requires development time and design time. People start digging in their heels.
You get the picture. The second 50 sucks.
Push through it – it’s worth it
If you get past the second 50, though, the rewards are huge.
Few people make it. In a triple century (300 miles in a day), riders drop like flies right around mile 80 or so. In internet marketing, organizations grind to a halt when the gains get harder. That means you:
- Have less competition;
- Have more resources (food at feed stops, or customers);
- Get to compete against folks who inspire you; and
- Start to see that you can make it, because you pulled away from all the phreds. That’s a cycling term. It’s not flattering.
Get past the second 50 and your internet marketing campaign can take off. Never mind 50-75% growth. How about 100% growth? Or more? It takes a lot longer, and it gets harder as you go, but the returns are well worth it.
End of sermon.
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