750,000+ Hours in Digital Marketing & Revenue Generation | EST. 2005


The Trading Games of Online Marketing

Although it’s not the way most people think about marketing, economists often describe it in terms of trading. Most advertisements and individual responses to them can be boiled down to an offer of a trade, followed by either an acceptance or decline of the trade’s terms. That is, the advertiser proposes to give something to an individual—like a special price on a product, an enjoyable vacation, or the chance to win a sweepstakes—in return for something from them. That something could be information entered through a survey, permission to add the person’s email to a marketing list, or an opportunity to show the person additional products and services that they might be interested in buying. If the person likes the terms of the trade, he or she clicks on the ad, enters their email address, or otherwise gives the advertiser what they asked for, and the ad has been successful.

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This economic theory got us thinking about some of the other areas of online marketing that could also be boiled down to a trade. When you think about things from that perspective, it can help you more clearly see what you can do to get the results you want from your online audience.

Data for Convenience

People like to complain about Google collecting data on their browsing and search habits. But the immense popularity of Google’s search engine indicates that people generally aren’t worried about their privacy enough to stop using it! That’s because what Google trades to us in return for our browsing and search information is very valuable to us: search results that take into account our personal preferences and interests. We know that Google is using our information in other ways to benefit their own company too, but for most of us, trading our browsing data for useful, relevant search results is a good deal.

Likes for Content

Social media likes, follows, shares, and other interactions are very good for a company’s online reputation. But people won’t do those things for your social media account unless you trade them something of value in return. You may choose to run occasional special offers or giveaways in return for social media interactions, but normally the best thing to trade to your social media audience is valuable content. If a person is persuaded that they will receive useful information, news, or other interesting content from your social media account, they will go ahead and make that trade, sharing your posts with others and following you on Twitter or Facebook.

A payment is not the only kind of trade made online!

Time for Relevance

Time is one of the most valuable commodities we have to trade away. When someone clicks on the link to your website, he or she is essentially giving you some of their time, hoping that what you give them in return will be worth the trade. If your website ends up being low-quality, difficult to navigate, or not what the visitor was looking for, that person will stop giving you their time—they will head back to the search results page. This is the main reason it’s such a terrible idea to try to trick people into clicking on your web page links through “black hat” SEO tactics. Even if those tactics are successful, your website will suffer from an incredibly high bounce rate, as people quickly realize their mistake and leave your site as soon as possible. Make sure that the trade you offer search users in your page titles and descriptions is the actual trade that they will find on your website.

Money for Money

When you work with a digital marketing consultant, you’re engaging in yet another type of trade. In essence, you are offering to trade money to that consultant in return for increased opportunities to make more money. When that relationship is successful, your company sees more leads generated online and ultimately more sales and revenue. The funny thing about this trade is that when you come out ahead—when the money you receive is much more than the money you traded away—everyone is happy! That’s the kind of consultant-client relationship that we at PalmettoSoft have been cultivating for over 13 years, and we would love to show you how we do it.

Thanks for your time and please comment or share your experiences below!