I grew up playing the board game Monopoly. Unlike many millenials, I grew up with the Atlantic City version, with Boardwalk and Park Place being the nicer areas, while Mediterranean Avenue and Baltic Avenue were considered the slums. But before you read on, I have a dirty little secret. I was born and raised in Atlantic City. Only, when I was young, it wasn’t decimated and run down like it is today. The city was bustling with energy, with towering casinos that brought opportunities and people from all walks of life. By growing up in Atlantic City, I realized that Monopoly wasn’t just a board game. It was a game of strategy. So I decided to adopt three of the game’s principles into my own marketing plan.
1. Pick your token carefully
Of course, you can pick the zoot suit top hat, or the 1930s Cadillac V-16. Or if you’re like me, you can just choose the miniature metallic dog. However, in the world of Internet marking, choosing your token is not so easy. You have to choose which marketing channel you want to utilize. Do you want to rank in Google? Or do you believe that Google is way too saturated and you want to try and rank in Bing or Yahoo? Do you just want to do social media campaigns? If so, which ones do you choose? Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.
The way you make your decision is by understanding where your consumers hang out.
To determine if a lot of consumers are buying from search engine traffic. Do a Google search for your industries’ popular keywords. Look for ads that are displayed on the top of the page of the search bar. Also look for ads that are on the left hand side of the page. A lot of ads indicate that your keyword and/or search phrase has a high search volume. So you may want to concentrate your efforts on ranking in Google.
Twitter is a micro-blogging social media channel. It is best to think of Twitter as a place where you can skim through blog post by reading teaser headlines. Many of Twitter’s blogs have a link that lead back to the full article and video. Topsy.com is perhaps the best Internet tool for navigating Twitter. Topsy.com will allow you to search by keyword phrase, review shares from pieces of content, and even find and follower influencers. The best thing to do is the type in your industries’ keywords in the search bar. If there is a lot of relevant content, you can bet that Twitter is your place to be.
Facebook has a handy tool known as Facebook Graph. Although it is still in its beginning stages, you can still do searches by plugging in your keyword. You can find people in Facebook groups. Join these groups, listen to their concerns and start building relationships.
Google Plus is perhaps the easiest social media channel to both find people and conduct research. All you have to do is plug in your industries’ keywords in the search bar. By doing this, you’ll be able to find groups, people, pages, hangouts, and discover established circles to share your material with.
- Invest your money wisely.
In the game of Monopoly, everyone started out with a certain amount of cash. Then, as the game progressed, you were either paying the bank, or getting paid from the bank. As children, we understood that the key to winning the game was to snatch up as much prime real estate as possible. Fortunately now, the same rule applies. Only we are snatching up targeted keywords. The trick is to snatch up keywords that are going to pay us money, as oppose to keywords that are going to take our money.
The key to making sure the bank pays you money is to test your keywords to see what stage of the buying process your consumer is in. There are normally three stages:
Awareness: The stage where the consumers knows he has a problem.
Research: The stage where the consumer conducts research to find solutions to her problem.
Purchase: The stage where the consumer decides to buy a product or service.
Then, you will need to find keywords for each stage of the buying process.
Stage one: Awareness. Find keywords that make the consumer aware of a potential problem.
Keyword example: Tax filing difficulties.
Stage two: Research. Find keywords that give them solutions to their problems.
Keyword example: How to fight the IRS? How to get a better tax return?
Stage three: Purchase. Recommend several services that offer a solution.
Keyword example: Get a better refund. Cheap tax return service. $20 tax return services.
Keywords in stages one and two may very well be cheaper. However, don’t go for the low hanging fruit. Beware! You can lose your shirt bidding and buying ads for keywords that don’t convert well. It is best to rank organically for stage one and two keywords. You can do this by writing articles and/or creating videos. Then, only if you can afford it. Buy ads. Target stage three keywords. This way, you can ensure that the consumer is ready to buy. This results in immediate sales, without you having to hold your consumer’s hand throughout the entire buying cycle.
3. Make sure people land on your property.
In Monopoly, you want people to land on your property, because this is how you get paid. This same rule applies to Internet marketing. You need to carve out a territory. You can do this by building a website, creating videos, or podcast. Heck! If you’re really ambitious you can do all three. After you get the hang of this whole Internet thing, it really isn’t that hard to refurbish content. Be sure to snatch up the best positions on Google. You can do this by paying for ads, and/or ranking organically in the search engines. It is best to rank for keywords that are minimally competitive. This will ensure that your article/video/podcast are in the first, second, or third position on Google’s search results. Then, you can count the money as it comes in.
Cha ching, that’s the sound of someone landing on your website. Cha ching, that’s the sound of someone signing up for your newsletter. Cha ching, that’s the sound of a consumer opening up your emails. This process goes on and on and normally ends with a sale. Now, keep in mind, you’re not going to be rolling in the dough, at least not at first. Closing a sale is a process that starts with earning your consumer’s trust. However, it is important to understand that every move that your consumer makes through your pipeline brings you one step closer to making a sale.
So you can use the principles from Monopoly and build a marketing campaign that is bustling with life and opportunities. Or, you can ignore them and face your demise. The decision is yours. However, in the game, and in real life, the winner is the one who walks away with the most amount of money.