Just as all roads led to Rome during the Roman Empire, all online roads must lead back to your client and their message, if you are to have a successful comprehensive Internet marketing strategy.
Think of your client, your product, or whatever it is you are marketing as the city of Rome. You must make it as easy as possible for people to find you and travel to your city. The map must be clear and the roads easy to travel.
One of the primary reasons for the construction of Roman roads was to move the empire’s armies quickly for their many military campaigns. Likewise, you too must build your online roads for your Internet marketing campaigns.
Multi Channel Marketing
The use of the word "channel" in the subheadline is deliberate, evoking, as it does a television metaphor and its content channels. Especially cable channels with their narrowly focused content; ESPN for sports, Comedy Central, the History Channel, and so on.
Internet channels define content as well: The Daily Kos for left-wing politics, ProFootballTalk.com for NFL football gossip, and engadget for consumer technology news. But Internet channels also define types of content: Technorati has blog posts; YouTube has videos; Flickr has photos, and Twitter has text messages.
Internet audiences are fragmenting because of hugely popular, deeply engaging sites like MySpace and YouTube. People are no longer spending a majority of their time at search engines, using them as portal to their final destinations. Now many people are going directly to their favorite online communities and spending a lot of time there. The word "community" is the operative word here because the most important thing most of these sites have in common are some sort of social networking feature.
All of these channels boast large, self-defined audiences: sports or history lovers; online video or photo enthusiasts. They give us the ability to reach the people who are most likely to want what we’ve got.
We know a lot about the audience already by the mere fact of them being there. MySpace users probably want to hook up with one another for whatever reason and because of the large presence of musicians and bands there, MySpace users are more likely than not music fans. YouTube users want to watch video; Flickr users want to share and look at photos; Technorati users want to read blog posts.
If you want to reach your audience online most efficiently, it is essential that you establish a presence at the online channels where your target audiences hang.
When In Rome
But, because of the social networking/media aspects of these channels, merely establishing a presence at these channels is likely not enough.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
The lingua franca of YouTube is video; for Flickr it is photos; for MySpace it is "friending" and comments. Take a look at what content you own and/or produce and match it to the medium. If you produce audio, upload it to Odeo. If you blog, make sure you feed your posts to Technorati. If you establish a YouTube account but don’t upload and share your video, what’s the point?
It is not just content type but also the tone of your content that matters.
Formal, Corpspeak on MySpace pages and comments just sounds weird. It’s not in tune with the MySpace culture. Your blog posts that proclaim rather than discuss, announce rather than engage will fail; it’s just not how the blogosphere works.
The Search Engine Glue – It’s All In The Metadata
While, as I said above, people are spending more time at centers of online gravity, search remains a central function that serves as the glue that holds your comprehensive Internet marketing strategy together.
People don’t abandon searching once they leave their favorite search engine; more often than not, they continue searching at the destination site. Search is, in fact, the primary and most efficient way of finding content at YouTube and Flickr and Technorati.
In order to reach the self-selected audience that search provides, you shouldn’t forget to search optimize the content you provide these centers of gravity sites.
If you’re skilled and a bit lucky, many of the links will lead to Rome.