No, You Really Don’t Understand What I Do!

About a month ago I had a conversation with an old school mate that found me via Facebook. It has been about 14 – 15 years since I last spoke/saw/did anything with this guy. We mostly just talked about what I do for a living, but it was interesting for me to hear his thoughts and ideas about our industry (and how he thought he did the same thing for a living). I have to admit the conversation was a bit irritating, and I ended up having to tell my old friend I had to .  I  can’t remember the reason I gave him, but the real reason was I was two seconds away from losing it and really giving him a piece of my mind! He made the comment that after seeing all of my Twitter updates, and Facebook status updates he really just didn’t understand what I did. He said he was trying to figure out what it was I did for a living. I told him that he should have looked at the URLs listed (this one included) on all my profiles, because tuld have been pretty self explanatory as to what I do. I wish I would have saved the chat (because it was classic), but I didn’t …. so I am going to do my best to share it as it happened. Just so you know the conversation was much more then this, but this was the part that was most frustrating that I wanted to get into. Here goes:
Him: So what exactly is it you do for a living? Me: I explained to him that I co-own an Internet marketing firm which helps people who want to be found online. (I did not go into depth about SEO and everything else at this point) Him: Oh, so you teach people how to use the Internet better? That’s kind of like what I do. (he does Internet hookup etc.) We help people get online and use the Internet. Me: No, that’s not really what I do at all. I help online business owners be found for the keywords they want to be found for when people are doing searches online. Him: Pretty much everyone has a website now huh? We help people get the Internet going and get them online .. etc. etc. so its the same thing right? Me: (aggrivated) NO, I work with real actual business owners that want to be branded online, care about online reputation, want to be found for keywords etc. I went into much more detail, but this is the just of it, and I tried really hard to explain to him that some people may have a website but if they are not found, then what good does it do them? I gave the example – There might be 40 dentists in Gilbert Arizona that are online and have websites, but only a few of them are going to get the most traffic on Google when people search for phrases like “Gilbert Arizona Dentist”, and that is because only a few of them are going to be in the top results of the search engines that people will actually click on. Him: OH, ok so you help people get and register their domain names with Google? And, You get people to the top of the Google results in those sponsored sections? Me: (very aggravated now) No, that really is not what I do. Getting businesses into the sponsored results is a form of search engine marketing, but I really am more on the organic side of results. I go into explain what the difference between the PPC results and the organic results are …. walking him through some specific searches and showing results. (hoping he finally gets it) Him: So really you are just helping people register their domain names on Google and other search engines? Me: Yes, that’s “exactly” it ….. (quickly finds excuse to leave conversation as I know its going nowhere)
The reason I share this is because everyday I get asked the question; “What exactly is it you do?” This reminds me how brand new our industry really is, 2) it reminds me that we have a big opportunity to inform and help business owners, and 3) that there are a lot of people out there that think they are helping people “get online” and “registered” with Google, but really have no clue what Internet marketing is. We have to be the educators of this industry and be the part of this industry that gives it a GOOD name. Could I have done a better job describing what Internet marketing is? I thought I would take this question to my friends on Twitter. I want to see if maybe my Internet marketing friends can help answer this question (140 chars. or less) better then I could, so if my friend is reading this post – he just might learn something! Thanks to @brandonbuttars @atraine @AlanBleiweiss and @dan_patterson
What is Internet Marketing?
What is Internet Marketing?
  • Bringing visitors to the site.
  • Getting the website/business discovered.
  • Conversions – not just bringing visitors, but converting them
  • Using all marketing channels – SEO, SEM, SMO, PPC, Viral, etc.
  • Marketing strategy – how all strategies will be used on a site.
  • Online marketing objectives – what are the goals for the site?
  • Increasing traffic – more traffic = more sales (at least it should)
  • Converting traffic into sales – the bottom line here!
These bullet points (taken from answers above) should really spell out what Internet marketing is, and what we do for a living. If you are talking to someone about “just getting your domain registered” You are NOT talking to an Internet marketer. I should have had more patience with my friend and done a better job at “educating him.” Unfortunately, many people just DON’T seem to get it, but I did realize that it is my job to (try) educate people/businesses about our industry because it is so brand new. We have such a huge opportunity and major growth ahead of us. I for one am very excited to be a part of this industry! I would love to hear other stories from those who can relate.  I think this could be a fun post if you were to share any similar stories that you may have had when talking with friends family or whoever!  Thanks in advance!

17 thoughts on “No, You Really Don’t Understand What I Do!

  1. David says:

    This post reminds me soooo much of talking to my mother or grandmother about what we do. It is a very funny phenomenon, but really pretty darn understandable. In fact, this is the exact reason that we are paid to do what we do.

  2. Vince Blackham says:

    I’ve honestly given up on telling/reminding either of my parents what I do. No matter how many times I’ve told them I do MARKETING, the only real advice they ever ask me for is tech support. Somehow, sitting at the computer all day qualifies you to fix their computer in their minds.

    To other people, I simply say, “I market websites”. That, so far, seems to be doing the job.

    Vince Blackham’s last blog post..8 Types of Irrelevant Ads You’ll See on Digg

  3. Jordan Garn says:

    lol good post, Alot of people also don’t realize how much traffic you can actually generate from Google. And that getting ranked in Google is alot more difficult than “Submitting your site to Google” Unless you’re willing to fork over hundreds of dollars of course.

  4. Jeremy Martin says:

    That was one of the funniest posts I’ve read in a while. I think we can all relate. My dad is always asking “What is it that you do again?” Then I explain what I do, consulting, websites, etc. Then he tried to relate and pretend that he really knows what the Internet is all about. He doesn’t though.

    Thanks for the laugh. I thought I was the only one.

    Jeremy Martin’s last blog post..Twitter: The Biggest Opt-In Marketing Strategy Online

  5. Nate Moller says:

    This is awesome! I usually just tell people “I do online marketing…” and leave it at that. Then, if they ask what that means, I say – “I can help your get to the top of Google, get lots of traffic and help you make more sales…”

    Most people like the sounds of that (even though they may have their ideas on how that all happens).

    Great post!

    Nate Moller’s last blog post..Why To-Do Lists are Key to Entrepreneur Success

  6. gadgets says:

    hahahah very funny conversations. I agree that those people which are not attach with internet or e-commerce they usually act like this.

  7. Richard says:

    I remember explaining to my 82 year old mother how I sold ebooks on the Internet, received payment for them, and delivered the ebook via the Internet.

    “It’s like hearing someone on the telephone Mom. The only difference is that I’m using a phone line (kindof) to deliver information, not my voice.”

    She knew it made me happy, so it made sense to her.

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