Learn Internet Marketing From Simon Cowell

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Learn Internet Marketing From Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell is famous for his snarky and blunt criticisms of contestants on shows like American Idol, Pop Idol, the X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent. He also happens to own Syco, a television production and music publishing house. As an entrepreneur himself, and quite a successful one at that, there are multiple things Simon can teach you about internet marketing.

Don’t Be Forgettable

This is applicable in two ways:

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  1. Simon has consistently criticised competitors in the talent shows he judges as being too forgettable.
  2. Simon himself is never forgettable.

Think about it: If people don’t remember who you are, what you stand for, and what you sell, there’s no way that they’re going to remember you when it comes time to purchase. This is going to put your sales much lower than they would be otherwise.

The number one way to avoid being forgettable is to create a signature style and have that signature style influence everything you do. Simon’s signature style involves his snarky remarks and criticism, and he’s cameoed in everything from Family Guy to the Simpsons to Scary Movie 3 in ways that feature that signature style.

What’s your signature style? See if you can sum it up in three words – and then make sure that those three words are apparent across all of your channels of communication. Check your Twitter stream, your Facebook page, your website tone, content, and design – having a signature style is crucial for success.

Don’t Overwhelm

Simon once said to a contestant:

It’s like you want one scoop of ice cream and you got eleven. It was almost too much.

The lesson here is that even with a good thing, you can give too much of it. Don’t overwhelm your potential customers because someone who is overwhelmed is just as likely (if not more so) to leave your page or unsubscribe from your mailing list as they are to buy what you’re offering.

Of course, what’s overwhelmed for one audience might not be for another. The best course of action to take is to ask people what they want to see from you – how often they want to read blog posts and get emails, for example. Another good idea is to clearly state how often you email people near your list opt-in forms – if people are only expecting an email once a month, and you email twice a week, then they’ll be overwhelmed and unsubscribe. However, if they know how much email to expect from you, then the chances of overwhelm are much lower.

Avoid Gimmicks and Hype

Simon has frequently criticised contestants for being too gimmicky or for being over-hyped.

People can tell when something is a gimmick, and a lot of people can smell hype a while away. Whenever you go to try a new promotion or add a new feature to a product, ask yourself “Does this genuinely add value…or is it a cheap gimmick?

The antidote to hype is a lot simpler: actually be able to fulfill the things you promise your potential customers. It’s not hype if you can follow through on it.

Admit It When You’re Wrong

One of Simon’s less successful projects was a show called Grease is the Word, a reality show that set out to find performers for Danny and Sandy in a West End production of Grease. It wasn’t nearly as successful as Simon was hoping, and he himself said:

It has been slaughtered by the critics – and rightly so. It is far too similar to our other formats.

Being able to admit your failures is endearing and makes people trust you more. It also shows that you’re willing to learn from your mistakes – and being able to learn from your mistakes will take you much further in business than ignoring them.


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  1. Dana

    I LOVE Simon Cowell!! And he is definitely far from being forgettable, this is really good advice!

  2. Liz

    It’s like this guy just makes money off of being awful to people. Not something I can stand behind, but I do see the overall point: Get noticed. Bad press is better than no press, and having a “style” is beneficial in every way, especially as a professional writer.

    1. Michelle

      Who doesn’t LOVE Simon?? I think he’s so fabulous, I’d give anything to meet him!!! And he’s an incredibly smart businessman or he wouldn’t be where he’s at today.

    2. Sarah

      I’ll admit, I’ve got a huge crush on Simon! I wish this one had a caricature too. :)

    3. Michelle

      I love those caricatures! A Simon Cowell one would be adorable, although I must say, I think his head is already big enough. :)

  3. Mike

    I recently learned about overwhelming people, I was sending out email blasts once every other day, and wasn’t seeing much success from it. Come to find out that people were treating it like just mail, not even reading it, because it was too much and too often. Sometimes, it’s true that less is more.

    1. Michelle

      Definitely true. People don’t want anyone breaking their door down! Everything in moderation, my dear.

  4. Jony

    That last point is a good one. A respectable person will always admit when they are wrong, and they will be respected for it.
    “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” -John C. Maxwell

    1. Gorman

      This is definitely true, and it goes back to building credibility: People will trust an honest person, and an honest person will always admit when they’re in the wrong.

  5. Anon

    Simon Cowell IS a gimmick. I bet he pre-writes all of his insults.

    1. Affmaster

      That may be so, but he’s made incredible amounts of money. He must be doing something right! And it’s entirely possible to learn from someone without liking them.

    2. Anon

      Yeah. Still, though. I don’t like that guy. It’s entirely possible that I’m jealous of his millions, and sick of seeing his face everywhere. But also I think he seems like a total A-hole. And not only because of this “witty criticisms” but also because of his goofy haircut, his monochromatic wardrobe, and his fake-n-tan. Yuck.

  6. Sad Music

    The man’s not wrong most of the time, he does know music, but he can be a bit harsh. Everyone has a right to express themselves!

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