Conversation Marketing

Conversation Marketing

Internet Marketing for Grownups

The Internet has unique features and limitations. The Web’s interactivity gives it far more in common with a conversation at, say, a cocktail party or business meeting than it does with flipping through a magazine. It requires a unique strategy. I call that strategy Conversation MarketingTM.

Think about a party: When you show up at a networking event, you’re judged first on your appearance (C’mon, admit it – would you dress like a slob for a black tie event?), then by your conversation, and then you’re invited to continue – or not continue – the conversation another time. You meet someone, speak to them, gauge their reaction, and then respond accordingly. That’s conversation.

Internet communications should work the same way. A visitor comes to your web site. If the design doesn’t drive them away (most do), then they read, or watch, or listen, or all three. If your content doesn’t confuse them (very common) or bore them (even more common) then they stay.

If they’re really interested, they give you their email address, or call you, or purchase something, or vote for you, or take some other action that continues the conversation. At the same time, you analyze site traffic and other data to gauge audience response and react accordingly.

That’s the power of the Internet – next to air, it’s the best conversation medium there is. Whether you make cars, houses, legislation or software, conversation marketing plays to the strength of the medium, and makes the most of your investment.

Conversation Marketing consists of six rules:

Know the Room. Learn about your audience, understand them and what motivates them, before you start your campaign.

Dress Appropriately. Create a look that makes sense for your audience. Don’t go for ‘cool’. Go for ‘appropriate’. Use creative that enhances your marketing efforts.

Sound Smart. Write great copy. Write great code. Use smart contingency design.

Make a Connection. Give your visitors a chance to keep in touch via email, RSS, social media or other options. Don’t let them just walk away.

Brag Modestly. Don’t be crass. Let someone else brag for you. Use smart search engine optimization, intelligent pay per click advertising and other paid media and social media to build your brand and customer base.

Observe and Adjust. Use the many flavors of web analytics to watch how your visitors respond. Then adjust your entire campaign accordingly: Pick better keywords; refine your ads; change your landing pages. Whatever the data indicates.

Conversation Marketing has helped us succeed for almost 10 years now. We even wrote a book about it:

Conversation Marketing, the book

If you want to learn more, you can visit Ian Lurie’s blog at

Or, you can read the article that started it all: Conversation Marketing
(PDF format)