It's fine to marvel at and envy Google's success story. Yet, there comes a time when the lessons need to be studied and applied to your own business.
Google developed a revolutionary search algorithm. That's the remarkable part. The rest of their path to success is similar to other industry leaders in business history. A couple other quick examples would be the Model-T from Ford and film cameras from Kodak.
All three companies used basic principles to achieve success by solving a user problem, keeping things simple, and building something to appeal to the masses.
Yes, Ford isn't an industry leader anymore, but they were at one point in history. No industry leader remains at that pinnacle position forever. All empires -- from businesses, to dynasties, to civilizations -- eventually fall. History has repeatedly proven this.
The principles of problem-solving, simplification and mass appeal, employed by Google and other industry leaders, can be applied to developing a link marketing campaign and improving other aspects of your business.
Solve a User Problem
Google didn't gain its market dominance by spending millions on advertising with a Manhattan agency. They gained their market share by solving the user problem of finding things online effectively and quickly. The results were word-of-mouth marketing, increased user base, and an ocean of links.
How does this apply to your link marketing campaign? Solve a user problem for your industry or customers. Then offer the solution for free. Yes the word "free" makes many people in business cringe, which is kind of ironic because those same people spend millions on advertising each year in an attempt to gain market share. Read my case study for luxury hotels as an example of solving a user problem while building links at the same time.
Make it Simple
Google could have created a sophisticated interface for their users. Yet they made the interface plain and simple so that everyone -- from kids to grandmothers -- can use it. Learn from that and make things as simple as possible for users.
For example, let's say you're creating an online tool that solves a customer problem. Don't let your programmers make it complex on the user side. The programmer might be satisfied with their accomplishment, but if the complexity turns off the average user, you have a failed marketing endeavor. Worse yet, your competition might "borrow" your idea, simplify it, and have a winning marketing campaign.
By making things simple, Google appeals to a much larger audience. Their simple interface isn't limited to technically oriented people. In most of my columns, I talk about going vertical and niche in approaching link marketing. Yet that doesn't mean they must be limited to a strictly niche-focused audience. A campaign can be focused on a niche market and at the same time have a mass appeal. The niche market is used as the catalyst to spread the word to the mass market.
Now take a step back and study other business success stories such as Google. There are many lessons to be learned that can be apply to different aspects of your business operations.
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Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!