"Prove to me that the Internet matters"


Today, we got a phone call from a potential customer, who had been recommended by another customer. I took one look at his site and was fairly certain that he had paid no attention to SEO, had no analytics, and had no calls to action.

“So,” he challenged me, “Why should I use your company?”  Well, I answered, maybe you shouldn’t use our company. I don’t recommend that everyone spend their money without having strong goals. Maybe you should start by telling me what your needs are.

The man on the other end of the phone said that all his company’s sales had been face-to-face or by referral up until now.  They had a little site, but did they really need to spend money? Did I know if people really found his type of services through the internet?  In fact, his needs weren’t so much SEO or PPC or GA or GWO.  He needed to be persuaded that those alphabet soup of internet services and tools were worthy of his budget dollars.

It is one thing to sell someone on the value of, say,  Google Analytics.  It is something else entirely to take someone who doesn’t have a strategic or emotional commitment to the work we do and convince them to spend their money there. I guess that’s a game I don’t want to play.  I feel like, you decide that you care on your own time, them come to us (or to another consulting company.) Consulting on the Internet is hard enough when your point of contact is committed (because s/he may have other priorities, may have to answer to his/her boss, may get moved around the organization.) Imagine how hard it would be if the person writing the checks really isn’t sure that the Internet matters.

Our founder, Robbin Steif, started LunaMetrics in 2004. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Digital Analytics Association. Robbin is a winner of a BusinessWomen First award, as well as a Diamond Award for business leadership. In 2017, Robbin sold her company to HS2 Solutions and has since retired from LunaMetrics.

  • I know exactly what you mean. When I first started working in online marketing and analytics consulting in 2000, it seemed that almost every sales opportunity was challenging because of this very issue. At that time I can see why potential clients would have that concern. However, this is 10 years later, and if a prospect needs convincing of the power of online marketing and analytics in general, they have some significant growth challenges ahead (regardless of the size of the organization).

  • If I have to convince a client that the Internet is where they need to spend their advertising or marketing dollars, they will be unhappy in the end because they don’t know how to benefit from it.

    Good marketing is inside-out. I’ve done PPC campaigns where nobody at the company would check the public email in a timely way. I’ve set up social media campaigns that were not followed up on by the client.

    Sometimes a client just isn’t ready for the Internet.

  • Nice post Robbin, this is so true!
    The first criteria of success (be it a website or doing web analytics) is management commitment toward the goal. If this person is not even convinced of the usefulness of a website today, you can try to “educate” him to a certain point, but natural selection will eventually kick in. If this manager doesn’t get it, he will wake up one morning and is business value proposition will be outpaced by an unexpected new comer who has a better customer relationship, better business processes, and better products or services. And lots of it depends on online activities, be it a customer facing website, social media or means to conduct better business with suppliers and partners.

    Good thing you don’t want to play this game, there are certainly more worthy companies to work with 🙂


  • John Whiteside

    I’m curious what sort of business this fellow had.

    We do forget that some businesses are far less internet-dependent than others. They’re a minority, but let’s face it: if, say, you are a general contractor who knows every builder in town & gets called in to subcontract for them, and have a great word-of-mouth referral stream of other projects coming in, you probably shouldn’t be spending money on SEO.

    (But your basic point is dead on – uncommitted clients will sink you.)

  • John’s got a great point — I’ll tack on companies that do 100% of their work through government contracts may fall under the same umbrella. It’s easy to live and breath the internet and be tapped in to the myriad major and minor successes that are happening through online marketing and think that anyone who doesn’t have “digital” as a core part of their strategy has their head thoroughly embedded in the sand. And that’s not *always* the case.

    BUT…if you give me a room of 100 random people who are all questioning the fundamental value of online as a marketing tool (not just questioning how much they should be investing online), I’d wager that 90 of them *are* being ostriches, while 10 of them are actually operating in an environment where the fundamental value should be questioned.

  • First of all I would like to thank you for addressing this issue .Now days you will find many posts, dicussions on how to use internet for business but no one bother about is business world really know how important it is? I feel that its a matter of Educating client about Importance & Benefits of Internet advertising in today’s world & recession time has proved that its the most cost effective way of advertising. Thanks – Santosh Sonawale

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