The Ad Blocker & Modern Marketing
I've been legitimately obsessed with Seth Godin's Akimbo podcast.
Seth is the real deal. He has been around forever. Written tons of books. Created and sold companies. He is amazingly perceptive about culture, media, and marketing, and he's capitalized on it.
He is also amazingly generous with his time and talent in the form of a blog, the new podcast, and other content. Of COURSE he shares that content so that he can sell courses, speaking, etc. But he puts out a lot for free.
And if we watch and listen, we can learn and implement in our own businesses without paying a dime. I'm much more likely to pay a dime to someone who has already given spectacular content for free, though, because I know what I pay for will be awesome.
BUT I DIGRESS. Sort of. The above is kind of what I want to talk about today, which is ad blockers and white listing.
Seth's April 11 episode of Akimbo is called "They're not trying to be creepy." It is about advertising, media, and sort of how we got to the point where Facebook and others are selling our data.
There's a lot about permission marketing, which it sounds like Seth kind of invented, which I did not know. That is basically what email marketing is: someone gives you their email and PERMISSION to email them with info/ tips/ deals.
That is different from regular BRAND marketing, as Seth explains, which is basically the advertising you see on television, or banner ads on websites, or on social media. The April 11 episode is FASCINATING.
I have been thinking about it a lot as I navigate to various internet sites and see the "please turn off your ad blocker" message.
I do this on some sites. Runner's World, for example. I really want to see their content. I get annoyed at how the ads are served in ways that make it difficult to actually see the content, but I'll turn off the ad blocker because I care enough to see it.
The article I clicked on this morning, the one about the runner from Deadspin, I don't know that I care enough to turn off the ad blocker. I'm not wild about their verbiage either, because ads are not the only way to make money. Right now, with their business model, it is probably the EASIEST way for them to make money. It's not the only way, though.
And then there are sites/ media companies that I care enough to subscribe to (pay an access fee). I subscribe to the New York Times Sunday delivery, which also gives me online access. I pay for Washington Post online access. I'm a Slate plus member (although this year I've been wondering why).
Subscription services and/or membership sites are the holy grail of online content money making.
You have to produce content so good, so meaningful, so helpful, so delightful, that people want to pay you for it. That's dang hard work. Once you get them on the hook, though, you have them, unless you do something really terribly wrong or unless their interests change, both of which happen.
Producing the type of content that people want to pay you DIRECTLY for means you have to go niche. Develop relationships. Double down. I think it is a lot harder to do that than to produce content that appeals to enough of the masses that you can sell ads off of it.
But, the rise of the ad blocker messages everywhere I go tells me that enough people are getting tired of shallow content produced for the masses that they're impacting the bottom line of the mass content producers.
Enough that every site is currently saying "please turn off your ad blocker" instead of doing what they need to do to try to have subscription content. (Or maybe they are but they're not there yet. Or they aren't offering "ad free reading," which could be the same as subscription but less expensive.)
To do that, though, to get people to pay you you have to create something that they don't want to live without enough that they'll pay for it.
I think there's opportunity here to make that kind of content and get it out to the people who want to pay for it.
I'll be thinking, "What can I do that is so valuable that it would make people turn off their ad blocker, or allow me to email them, or pay for me to teach them?"
I KNOW there are plenty of people who dislike talking about money, but, um, it ain't free to live, so we have to make money. I'd rather make money offering something people want, rather than shouting at them to pay attention to me.