Translation: I am a marketer, and I can develop a website pretending to be an expert then the search engines will list it near the top from lack of competition, giving me instant credibility as an “expert”.
Next step: Using an article generator and have it spit out dozens of “unique” articles for a blog. Article generating software takes the search terms you enter and spits out articles based on other articles found on the internet. Depending on the software the articles may need a few tweaks to be readable, but it is a huge time saver. This is one of the reasons you get that “I’ve read this before” feeling when web surfing.
Next, use a content aggregator to create lists of related topics and websites to include as support articles and the all-important “website links” which help generate traffic because search engines like “back-links”. Now get a website, use Ad-Words for monetization, affiliate links for more monetization, a content scheduler and viola, you have a money-making website built in a few hours or days.
Last step is to create a “funnel” page to get people to enter an email address in return for some “freebie” of dubious origin or useless content. Usually some “Must have” report, list, or template.
Internet Marketers have email lists, and they notify the list when the new site is launched encouraging folks to share the new site with people that would be interested in the topic. Of course, their groupies go to the site to admire their guru’s work, giving the website visits, which drives up rankings on search engines. Notice that no one looking at the site so far has any interest in the site’s actual topic.
One of two things happen now the marketer will either, advertise the site for sale or hire someone to provide more content whilst starting another new site on a different topic. Going the route of sale, the marketer will list the assets, hoping to demonstrate value in those assets. Remember two of the assets' “visitors” and “email addresses” are artificially inflated from the groupies checking out what their guru offers.
Hiring someone to provide content means the site did well enough at launch to convince the marketer there is more money to be made. Make no mistake, if the site is meeting the marketer’s monetization goals, they will keep it. Once the money wavers… bye, bye, website. Remember, carpetbagger, no personal stake in, or connection to, the people served.
Since the carpetbagger has no practical experience in the chosen topic the person hired doesn’t either. That person’s job to create content - articles, videos, podcasts, PDF’s, templates and add to the email list. Interviewing stars in the industry is a way to get more visits and views, nothing wrong with that. The problem is the interviewer with little experience in the field cannot determine if the information is valuable or even viable. The interview gets published and newbies to the industry think the information must be true because this website has “industry cred”.
I recently watched a video that was produced by a restaurant CONsultant. This person has a TV show that goes undercover in problem laden restaurants to “fix” them. I can’t watch the show because it is fake, full of paid actors pretending to be complaining guests or troublesome employees, recreated scenes, and stupid restaurant owners. I watched this video because it was linked on a Facebook group for food vendors. The gist of the video was returning guests and developing loyalty. The host spits out statistics as “proof” of his guest retention theories. The stats were 40% of first timers if given great food and service will return for a second visit. Forty-two percent of those second timers if given the same great food and service return for the third visit. Finally, 70% of those given great food and service return and become frequent guests. Hmmm, see a problem? If you don’t, please, hire an accountant to do your bookkeeping.
40% means your great food and service only encouraged 40 people out of 100 new guests to return. Nothing to brag about there and you probably don’t really have great food or service. Now only about 16 of those will return according to this mathematical genius. After that third visit only 11 will come back for more. Another way of say that is 11% of your guests become loyal and frequent.
Retaining only 11% of your guests means you have to go thru 1031 people for every 100 you need to support your food business. While that may like a small manageable number, guest retention simply does not work that way. This TV personality goes on to suggest giving a “new” guest an identifier (like a red napkin) so that you and the staff do things to encourage repeat business, like give special treatment, great food and service. WHAT ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE EATING THERE???
When you focus on one thing something else has to, by default, be ignored. The comments on the video were all along the lines of “great info”, “amazing idea” or “I’m stealing that!”. No one asked for the source of the stats, or even countered the information because it was presented as authoritative and complete. Surveys yielding 40% of something mean that 100% of that something had to be involved in the first place. A survey where you interview every single guest of a restaurant and ask about returning, that act of asking unduly influences the guest to act differently than had they been left alone. They either return because they were asked or they don’t because they were bothered. Food and service have taken a back seat. Surveys and statistics are a dime a dozen and influenced by what result is desired and how the questions are phrased.
Another example of internet marketing at it’s most useless is a recent Facebook sponsored ad for “Ultimate Lead Magnet” for restaurant owners. A three-page graphics heavy PDF freely given in exchange for your email address. The report promises a way to easily acquire 17 “new raving fans” for your restaurant without spending any money on “traditional media advertising”. It uses similar percentages to the video mentioned above. The report says all you have to do is print up 500 free coupons and pass them out to your target guests. The report then runs the redemption percentages and even recommends the same red napkin nonsense to show how you will end up with 17 new raving fans. Like the other CONsultant they recommend your staff focus on the red napkin identifier and then hand them another freebie coupon. Finally ending the report with an offer to do the promotion for you electronically, of course, for a fee.
This PDF claims traditional media costs $40 to $80 per new guest. Let’s look at your expenditures for this carpetbagger restaurant marketing method. They also want the 500 coupons to be for an item with “$5.00 in food costs”.
I have actually worked for companies that turned to sustained couponing as a way to drive sales. Coupons create short term gains in cash flow but so little in the way of creating long term ‘raving fans’. Guests learn patterns quickly and know when and where to find the coupons. Guests also notice things like differences in how quickly tables are served, or the attention a table receives if it is significantly different than their own service. Red napkins get noticed, questions get asked. How long before a server answers with “yeah, the owner makes us pay special attention to tables with red napkins.” How does that guest without the red napkin feel? Think they are coming back?
You want to create Raving Fans? Give 100% of your guests 110% of your best QSC abilities and teach your staff to do the same.
Carpetbaggers, internet marketers, gurus, snake oil salesmen. Whatever the name the result is the same. Nada.
I have had a passion for helping people since an early age back in rural Kentucky. That passion grew into teaching and training managers and owners how to grow sales, increase profits, and retain guests. You’ll find a ton of information here about improving restaurant and food cart/trailer operations and profits. Got questions? Email me at Bill_Moore@live.com