Holistic Web Marketing: An Integrated Approach to Online Success


I’ve been lying to people.

To explain the power of “email bait” I’ve repeatedly told the following story:

When flyte just offered an email newsletter signup we got 2 – 3 subscribers a month. Then we started offering a free article only available to subscribers and now we get over 100 subscribers a month.

While all the facts are true, it’s also true that I write three different blogs, do a podcast (occasionally), teach a Web marketing course at USM, practice search engine optimization, dabble in article marketing, appear as the tech expert on a local TV news show and put on seminars about once a month.

It’s hard to argue that these extra-curricular activities had nothing to do with the increase. Yes, offering a carrot to join definitely made a huge impact on our subscriber base, but it was our integrated approach to Web (and traditional) marketing that’s the real story.

Welcome to Holistic Web Marketing. Although we’re not the first to string these words together, they distill the ideas we’ve been discussing with clients over the past few years.

“The more poles in the pond, the more fish you catch.”

“The more marshmallows over the fire, the more s’mores you get to eat.”

In other words, the more approaches you use to attract and convert visitors at your site, the more success you’ll enjoy.

Holistic accurately describes how you should view your online marketing campaigns: as more than the sum of their parts. Holistic medicine treats the whole person, not just the disease. Holistic Web Marketing likewise views your online marketing as an integrated whole, not just a bunch of pieces.

Holistic Web Marketing has four components: attraction, retention, conversion and measurement.

Attraction is the work of driving qualified traffic to your site. This is done through search engine optimization, blogging, podcasts, article marketing, pay-per-click ads, social bookmarking (such as Digg or Reddit), social networking (such as MySpace or LinkedIn), social tagging (such as StumbleUpon or Flickr,) and traditional marketing and advertisements.

It might also include posting appropriate comments at other blogs, advertising on other podcasts, or contributing to online discussion forums that target your audience.

Retention is the work of staying in touch with interested people. Opt-in email marketing and RSS feeds are two great ways of keeping the conversation going. Email newsletters have been around for years, and despite the challenges of tougher filters, they still provide a cost-effective method to stay in touch with prospects and sell more to current customers.

RSS marketing is newer, and most online marketers are still trying to figure out how to best use this technology before their competition does.

Both email and RSS provide permission-based methods of marketing to people interested in what you have to sell. You don’t even need to get people to come back to your site for you to continue the conversation, as these tools allow people to get your information in a format they choose.

Retention may also be a required stepping-stone for a complex sale. You may not be able to get people to “buy” your investment strategies or coaching services when they first visit your Web site, but you might be able to sell them on subscribing to a feed or email newsletter.

Conversion is the work of getting people to buy or move further down the sales funnel at your site. This is the work of your Web site. It happens when you’ve got a compelling story to tell. When your design is uncluttered and your navigation is easy to understand. When your copy is helpful, informative, and leads the visitor to the checkout counter, contact page or to pick up the phone.

Too many Web site owners put all of their focus on attraction and none on conversion. No matter how hard it rains, you’re going to go thirsty if you’re using a sieve as a bucket.

Measurement is the work of analyzing your traffic reports, email signups, search engine rankings, and so on, to improve what you’re doing. Maybe Google’s delivering most of your traffic, but almost none of those visitors are buying your product. Maybe the link from your chamber of commerce is delivering only a handful of visitors a month, but they’re all filling out your contact form.

If you’re not analyzing these reports, you can’t know whether your Web marketing is working for you or not or how to improve it.

Not every element of Web marketing will be appropriate for every business. However, the more Web marketing tactics you employ, the more effective each one becomes.

If you focus on search engine optimization at the expense of everything else you may see your Web site visits increase, but not your conversions. It would be like lifting weights with only one leg: very soon you’ll find yourself walking around in circles.

In conclusion, you’ll enjoy better results from a balanced, holistic approach to Web marketing than by focusing all of your attention on just one area. By then measuring your results through Web site and blog traffic reports, email marketing results and tracking your search engine rankings, you’ll be able to fine tune your approach for maximum results.

If you need any help balancing your approach to Web marketing, be sure to contact flyte new media today.

–Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media