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Monday, January 14, 2008

MARKETING: Craigslist SEO

SEO is "Search Engine Optimization," and Craigslist is the quirky, uniquely Netty classifieds service. It reaches gazillions of people every 0.5 seconds and has a Google PageRank of like 1 or 2 so all the marketing gurus are freaking out about how to use it all the time. I've run across a number of blog posts claiming sneaky ways to get on it so your PageRank will explode and you'll become rich and sexy. Some guys even sell eBooks about how to do it.

But it doesn't want to be used for marketing. It's a free-for-all, but the people there have an idea of what it should be. They hate spammers, hate it when people try to screw with the system, and like it when it's just real people connecting with other real people to give away a musty couch or a lava lamp. It's not like getting 20 seconds free on ESPN.

Don't believe me? Browse the Best of Craigslist for ads selected by the users. My favorite? The one that summed it all up.

So, even though the SEO gurus say Craigslist is where it's at, think twice before diving in there. It's too much like showing up at a circus in admiralwear.

As a bonus, check this out, from the New York Times:

Craigslist Meets the Capitalists

If Craig has a cat, I bet it's not monetized at all!

MARKETING: Early Tips

I had a grand total of one (1) clicks over the weekend. Yikes! Time for:

MARKETING.

Since I am building this from the ground up out nekkid in the open, I want to tell you about my three-part plan.

BUILDING A BRAND!
When people think "monetize my cat," I want them to think "CATpitalism!" and come here. So I am redirecting all my typical Internet energies entirely through these channels. No longer will I be whoever I was before, now every site I visit, every comment I post, is "Cat-Daddy." I deleted my old email accounts! The name on my driver's license no longer exists! I am dead to me! I am reborn!

Part of this too-- a part I haven't gotten to yet-- will be design consciousness. I will make images and designs that reflect this site and everything it's about. I have some ideas, and will post them soon. Go from the ground up, right?

JOINING IN!
Hanging out with people, in other words. Get to know them and they get to know you. You'll get hits, but even better, you'll learn something. Sound unbusinesslike? Call it "market research" if it makes you feel better.

I think a lot of advertisers and marketers want to treat their potential customers like sheep. Certainly a lot of the marketing textbooks I've skimmed have that approach-- "tell them what to think, and repeat it until they do think it." I don't like that so much, and I think with a business like this one, where my market capitalization is less than USD$17 billion, I have to use my disadvantages as advantages. My dis-/ad- vantage point is smallness. BUT that lets me know people on a small level, rather than think of them as jumbled masses.

PERSISTENCE!
Entering my second week, I have had a goal of posting every weekday. I thought I had last week, but there's nothing up for Friday. Oops! Seven posts, though. It's a start.

I've learned from my own net habits that people visit sites for CONTENT. So writing great content, all the time, is how to market this site the best. Because if people find out it's here and then find it thin like crummy, week-old soup watered down by gutterspill coming through a hole in the roof, they won't come back!

No! CATpitalism is thick and full of meat and veggies! Eat! EAT!

(What about OFFLINE marketing? I have a totally different approach for offline marketing-- but that will come in a later post!)