Newsletters never die

“I’ve been writing newsletters for the past couple decades. Which means I’ve seen them die and come back about eight times. And each time, their supposed death comes as just as much of a shock to everyone as it did the time before. They never died. They’re the best communication tool you have. And they are built upon the one internet platform that, unlike all the rest, never lets you down.

Newsletters Are Immortal (Dave Pell)

My recommended order-of-operations for establishing a web presence:

  1. Domain name
  2. Professional email address
  3. Website
  4. Newsletter / mailing list

Everything else follows.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever other platform comes along, newsletters are built on an open protocol (email) that’s integral to the internet.

Email isn’t going anywhere. Newsletters aren’t going anywhere.

Consumers search online, buy offline

What most marketers still don’t fully appreciate is that most online research results in an offline purchase. This is the dominant use case now for non-informational searches: a user on a smartphone looking for a product or service, where the transaction or fulfillment is offline.”

Google Maps the dominant local search tool (Search Engine Land)

This is absolutely how I shop. For example: I’m doing a lot of housework this week, so I keep checking the Home Depot and Canadian Tire sites to browse their inventory.

If I see something I need, I’ll add it to my shopping list, and then pop up to the shops to buy everything in one go.

If I’m looking for a new local store to buy from, I’ll check Google Maps for business-level information: where they’re located, what their hours are, the reviews, and if they have it, a link to their site. Ditto for restaurants.

Sorry, Google doesn’t want to send search traffic to you.

“Broadly, I believe the narrative for web marketers is clear. The largest source of traffic on the web — free and paid — is becoming a walled garden, intent on not only keeping people on its own properties, but competing directly with those that helped it become a dominant, monopoly power.

If you’re a marketer or a business that relies on Google, there’s still tons of opportunity left (at least in most sectors; sorry Expedia, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and anyone trying to compete against YouTube). But to stay ahead, you need plans for how to diversify your traffic sources, how to grow branded demand outside of search, and how to earn value from zero-click searches. Like global warming, it’s the inevitable future whether we like it or not.”

Google in 2020 (SparkToro)

Google’s been making these moves for a while but it’s more blatant than ever.

I’m not angry at Google about any of this. They have a right to do what they want with their platform. And I’m sure it really does create a better experience for average Google users.

So, as marketers, we need to adjust accordingly.

Free traffic from Google was never going to last. They’re the 21st century equivalent of a 20th century broadcaster or publisher. They own the attention. Advertisers pay to get a small piece of it.

This is another one of the reasons that I’m bullish on community, newsletters, original content, et al. Brands need to start producing things worth subscribing to, joining, and sharing with others.

Scammy “online entrepreneurs” and their collateral damage

Assuming because someone makes a living online that they’re frauds or scammers is ridiculous. Of course there are some, but there are also some amazing folks who do stellar work and provide real value for a price. Selling isn’t spamming. We’re not evil simply because we’re trying to make a living online if we take into consideration our customers and audiences. Most huge companies never do this. Most huge companies don’t have the human touch smaller businesses do, and yet we still seem to be getting punished.”

The enemy (Paul Jarvis)

I feel for Paul. His work is thoughtful and mindful. He’s so far removed from the online entrepreneur hustler archetype it’s hard to imagine someone lumping him in with that crowd.

But that crowd is big. And noisy. And filling your Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube with endless ads. You know the ones — about how they’ve made so much money with their easy-to-follow blueprint and, if you sign up now, for only $99/$199/$499, you too can make tons of money by following their same blueprint.

I’m just here in my garage marketing to marketers about selling marketing to marketers to make more money…

And it goes on and on and on. It’s a damn shame. Entrepreneurship is legitimate. But scammers and posers ruin it. To the point that “make money online” is almost a punchline, despite it being the dominant industry of our time. (Facebook? Amazon? Netflix? Google? Microsoft? That’s some sweet, sweet internet money, y’all.)

So, to quote Paul once again: Selling isn’t spamming. It’s not evil to try and make a living online, if you take into consideration your customers and audiences.