What can we learn about Internet Marketing from Ellen DeGeneres? The shorter answer might be what CAN’T we learn. Between Ellen DeGeneres and Ashton Kutcher, the Internet is pretty much covered, from one end of the Web to the other. She’s a genius at creative marketing ideas and she’s a genuinely nice person. And that’s one of the biggest Internet marketing lessons we can learn from DeGeneres – it’s not business, it’s personal.
So many experts tell us we need to learn to connect with our readers on a personal level, but then we need to step away and business-minded automatons. DeGeneres, on the other hand, seems to be able to combine the two seamlessly, creating a loyal following of millions, both online and off. How does she do it?
It seems effortless but it wasn’t always that way. In the beginning, DeGeneres had a real problem trying to make a personal connection with her fans because she was hiding a big part of her personality. She was pretending to be something she wasn’t and her audience could sense that she wasn’t being herself. In the end, her career suffered.
When DeGeneres finally came clean with her viewers, she took a small tumble in the ratings. She lost some of her audience – the part of her audience who didn’t really want to hear her message anyway. And from then on, her career – and fan base – has skyrocketed.
What does all of this mean in terms of Internet marketing? It means it’s true what everybody says. You need to follow your passions. If you’re not doing something you’re passionate about, if you’re faking it just to make a buck, your readers will be able to tell. Just like Ellen’s fans. And it will happen. You may be happy now but if you’re just putting in an appearance, then you’re lying to yourself and your readers. And they will notice.
Maybe you’re afraid to change your direction. Maybe you already have a sizable following. But trust me. Only half of those followers are following because they like and respect you. The other half are following a faker. And, as I’m sure Ellen will tell you, it’s much harder to keep up a lie than it is to just come clean and get it over with.
But enough of this ‘be yourself and follow your passion’ stuff. What else can we learn about Internet marketing from Ellen DeGeneres? How about thinking outside the box?
Between DeGeneres and Ashton Kutcher they probably do cover the biggest part of the Twittersphere and she doesn’t just talk about Twitter like those late night talk show hosts, she actually sends Tweets. Lots of Tweets. And DeGeneres creates YouTube videos to use on her show and uses videos on her show that were created by others. She has a website and she makes it a part of every show. And she encourages her audience to contribute as well.
Again, what can we learn about Internet marketing here? DeGeneres has learned the importance of connecting with her audience across multiple media outlets. Yes, she has real, live people who sit in her studio audience every day. You have real live people who visit your blog every day. But look at the numbers.
Even if you have 50 or 100 thousand visitors a month, that’s not even a drop in the bucket. Each day there are 7 billion people online. Each day 750 million people use Facebook. Some of them come to your blog but I bet it’s nowhere near 750 million people. DeGeneres has a couple of hundred people in her audience every day and a few million more who watch on TV. But even she realizes that only a small fraction of the available audience.
If you really want to connect you’re going to have to go where the people are. You’re going to have to reach them on YouTube and Twitter and Facebook. And once you get them to your blog, you’re going to have to be engaging, and creative, if you want to keep them there and keep them coming back.
DeGeneres injects her personality into everything she does and that’s why her fans love her. She’s real and she’s honest. She’s not trying to sell anything. If you ‘re going to learn anything about Internet marketing from Ellen DeGeneres, let it be how to personally reach out and connect with each of your readers.