Don’t rely on FB, Google, eBay or Amazon

by Jim November 13, 2018

I’ve been having a trip down memory lane during a recent office cleanout, finding a beginner’s guide to the Internet I created that shows how much the landscape has changed and one thing that you should still rely on.

What I learned

  • How drastically Internet usage has changed, including the user base
  • We have less search engine competition today
  • Why people are still trying to trick Google
  • Why you can’t rely on platforms for your audience
  • Why we are revenue focused moving forward


Hey. Welcome back, rankers. Having glorious weather here at the moment in Melbourne. Great day to be gardening, which is what I did all weekend. I wanted to show you something. We’re moving at the moment. Moving office. I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning out, throwing out old rubbish, and I found this. This was something I wrote in 1996. It’s the Beginner’s Training Manual for the Internet. Yep, it’s all in here. Don’t worry about that, this big book. Back then I was running a course in Melbourne, and I just wanted to share with you some of the gems, because to me it highlights how things have changed.

Changing with the times
Here in the opening I say that there’s between 60 and 70 million people on the Internet, and that’s how many there were back then in 1996. It wasn’t that popular, and it was predominately male, and thankfully it’s not that way now.
So I even explain to people what an email address looked like and how it worked, and why you would maybe use email. We didn’t use email 22 years ago! Why have we got inboxes full of stuff? Where were those messages 22 years ago? I don’t know. But they weren’t in email. Anyway. I didn’t have that much … those many memos or letters … I dunno. Email’s just created this thing.

And here’s the list of the search engines at the time. We had four then. And you notice there is no Google because it’s pre-Google, but I didn’t think we would have less competition in the search market 22 years later, especially in this industry. That’s the big surprise for me.
One of the things that happens with SEO that has got so many businesses into trouble, and has worked for a lot of people as well, is trying to trick Google, right? And the reason that we try to do that is because we want their audience; we want their traffic.

Only rely on your brand
The one thing that I’ve learned over the last 20 years is do not rely on Google for your audience, do not rely on eBay, do not rely on Facebook, do not rely on Amazon, do not rely on Instagram, Twitter. Any of these social, search, or marketplace sites, do not rely on them for your audience, because they can be switched off at a whim, and the change of a policy, at the mistake on your website, at the mistake of an agency you may hire. These audiences can just be removed, and there’s nothing you can do about it for the most part.

The only thing you can rely on is your brand, and that’s what you have to build. Customers must seek you out online. They have to find you. If those platforms don’t facilitate that, and people can’t find your brand that they’re looking for through those platforms, those platforms fail. So they have to show you.
But you have to create the demand, and the way that you can create the demand is based on who your buyer personas are, and that will dictate where you play, where you maybe just do some advertising. It might just be as simple as running events on Facebook.
We had a client over the weekend, having a big sale at her outlet, and she wanted to make 50 grand over the weekend. We did 120. That was awesome. And that was basically building a brand using Facebook ads, getting her brand in front of people, getting those people to turn up at her shop, and having an interaction with her and her staff.

And online, digital, it’s so much more than that now. It’s everything. Over the last 22 years a lot has changed, which is why we enter our 20th … 20th year next year, actually, which is why we’ve become a revenue agency rather than, say, a digital marketing agency. We’re about building revenue for our clients, and of course the easiest ones to do that for are the ones that have strong brands, so we tend to focus on building those as well.
Hopefully that’s helpful. If you’ve got any questions let us know, and if you’d like to see anything else on the show please let us know. And we’ll see you next week. Thanks very much, everyone. bye.

Jim’s been here for a while, you know who he is.

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