The Tao of Web Marketing

 

A few months ago I was watching a stream meandering back andforth across a flat plain in a high mountain valley. The streamreached it's destination - a small lake - but only after dozensof loops and curves. It occurred to me that Water and clever WebMarketing have something in common - they both follow the pathof least resistance.

Let me explain.

Your first contact with a future customer usually starts with anemail. It could be an Ad in an Ezine, it could be your ResourceBox at the end of one of your Articles, or it could be yourSignature File in your correspondence.

But in the chain of events that leads to a web sale, an email isthe point of greatest resistance.

Why is that?

Firstly, your future customer is reading your message offline. She or he has to fire up their modem before they can buy yourproduct. And that requires effort (and expense).

Secondly, if your message is in an Ezine, it's probably one of adozen other messages all clamoring for attention.

Thirdly, whether your message is an Ezine Ad, a Resource Box, ora Signature File, you've probably had only a few lines toexplain why your widgets are so good.

So if an email is the point of greatest resistance, what is thesolution?

The ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism (pronounced 'Dowism') - also known as 'The Watercourse Way' - gives us the answer. Taoism tells us to be like Water and follow the path of leastresistance. Water flows. It is soft and moves easily aroundobstacles in its path, instead of attempting to go through them.

Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water. Yet fordissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard; the gentle overcomes the rigid. Everyone knows this is true, but few can put it into practice.(Tao Te Ching, ch. 78)

"What is the path of least resistance in an email?", I hear youask. Offer something free!

Successful web marketers know this already. I recently did asurvey of the Resource Boxes of fifty well known Ezine Writers. Over 90% of them were not trying to sell anything from theirResource Box. In fact, an overwhelming majority were not eventrying to get a click-thru to their website - they were simplyoffering a free subscription to their Newsletter. In otherwords, they were more interested in building a long-termrelationship than they were in making a quick sale.

When I started out on the Internet, I was pretty impatient. Icertainly didn't want to the follow the path of leastresistance. The path I had in mind was more like the flight ofan arrow - straight to it's target.

But the statistics suggest that most web sales are not made likethat; on average your customer will have to see your messageseven times before he or she buys your product.

So next time you plan your marketing strategy, why not take alesson from Water and follow the path of least resistance?

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Michael Southon has been writing for the Internet for over 3
years. He has shown hundreds of webmasters how to use this
simple technique to build a successful online business. Click
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