This is a guest post by Lori Culwell. Lori is the owner of Get Creative, Inc.. She has worked on websites for some really big companies. She’s the author of the bestselling novel “Hollywood Car Wash,” which is being re-released by Touchstone | Fireside in April of 2009, and the forthcoming book “Million Dollar Website.” You can find her blog at: http://www.funnystrange.net , where you will subscribe, or she will cut you.
Years ago, in San Francisco, I saw a crazy pimp on a bus. I wrote a short story about it that got nominated for a Pushcart Prize, which was cool.
Here’s the thing, though—now I think that pimp had a profound effect on my life. Now, I’m not saying I condone the pimp lifestyle or the implied female subjugation that goes with the profession, but you know what? You have to be scrappy to be a pimp, and I think some of us could use some more of that in real life. I find that the lessons I learned from that pimp have stuck with me, even in my life as a Creative Director/ Consultant/ Novelist. For the purposes of this article, I am going to apply these lessons to search engine traffic and internet marketers.
Here’s what I took from the pimp, and how I use it in my life, even today:
- Consistency is key. In pimp-life as well as well as the life of a webmaster, you have to be in it to win it, and you can never quit, even when another pimp beats you up and threatens to steal your girls and your territory. Consistent tweaking and updating of your site is key to internet marketing, especially if you want to keep rising in the search engine ranks. Putting energy into your site (your business), whether it’s through regular blogging or updating of your site, keyword research, writing articles, posting in forums, or continuing to educate yourself, is invaluable. If you don’t know what to do, just pick something and go with it. This “fly by the seat of your pants” strategy works for the pimp, and it will work for you. Just don’t give up! The pimp wouldn’t give up!
- Be friendly toward your fellow man. This one applies to good customer service. Whatever your game, you must have the follow through to get the job done. This “common courtesy” rule applies to not spamming your mailing list, to following through on customer inquiries, to answering people’s questions left in your comments, and to generally being decent to your fellow man and internet marketer. Of course, like the pimp, you must also know how and when to use the pimp hand if someone is trying to take advantage of you. Know what I’m saying?
- Be patient— You know, it’s hard out there for a pimp, and an internet marketer. But eventually, if you hang in there, someone will want your gold, or your women. This also applies to search engine traffic. If you follow rule # 1 (consistency) and combine it with patience, you are just as likely to build your subscriber base and traffic as the pimp is to build his (ahem) clientele.
- Diversify. Hey, do you know who used to be a pimp? Ice-T. Yeah, and then he was a rap star, and now he’s on Law & Order: SVU. That is some great diversification, and also some excellent paying attention to new opportunities. Pimps are always out there, hustling, keeping up with the industry and what-not. And just like the savvy pimp, you must be open to new things like business affiliations, new design, new strategies, or social networking sites. Pimps never stop pushing the envelope, and neither should you.
- Be true to yourself, even if the full expression of that self involves a big floppy hat and a gold tooth. Make sites that you want to make, not because you think they’ll do well in the search engines. This is really a “follow your bliss” issue. Everyone knows when you’re phoning in a crappy “mortgage banking” mini-site, dude. I will guarantee that if you make a site you’re not interested in, you’re not going to want to put in the time to make it successful.
- Never let them leave without paying. Pimps have a 100% profit margin. 100%!!! That is brutal! In internet marketing, I think we can apply this to monetization; namely, if someone is leaving your site, you want to make sure you’re getting paid, or there will be hell to pay. This applies to AdSense, PhoTrade, affiliate/ eBook links, or anything else you might have come up with to make money online. At least—at very least capture their name and email address with an opt-in so you can provide them with some excellent information at a later date. If you do not, I promise you that there will be someone else out there picking up your slack.
- Keep Up Appearances. The pimp takes time with his appearance, and that of his crew. You must take this same care with your website. No one is buying anything from you if your shopping cart doesn’t work, or if you have broken links. Take care of your asset! Respect the customer, and they will respect you! Outdated design, typos, and sloppy layout shows that you do not care.