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Google Barrell Roll, Easter Egg

The Barrel Roll "Easter Egg" generated buzz and publicity for Google in the Wall Street Journal.

I am always looking for ways to help my small business clients get more for their marketing dollar and inspiration comes from every aspect of my life.  This week I was searching for something online when the Google logo caught my eye and got me thinking.  While Google is unquestionably the king of search marketing, they are also masterful at many forms of marketing.  Here are five surprising marketing lessons small business owners can learn from Google.

1. Be Really, Really Good at One Thing

Before Google took on the Earth or built the Android, it did one thing better than anyone else, Internet Search.  As the foundation of all things Google, their search engine and search technology was innovative in the beginning and continues to be innovative today.  By committing to being really, really good at this one thing and maintaining that commitment, Google built a reputation in the market as a trusted resource.  This kind of relationship with the consumer is pure marketing gold.

2. Don’t Rest on Your Laurels

Once Google had secured their place as the top search engine online, they didn’t stop there.  Rather than reveling in the fact that they owned online search, they continued to refine and revise their search algorithms and functionality to make the customers’ experience better.  They understand that the competition is feverishly at work trying to copy their success.  To that end, Google works to stay one step ahead of their competition, improving their main product, inventing new ones.  This step is critical and something many small businesses fail to do.  Having a great product may put you on top but it won’t keep you there.

3. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Even though Google owns the Internet marketing space and continues to redefine the way other companies market online, they continue use a variety of other marketing methods that includes email marketing, direct mail, and even telephone calls.   By using a variety of marketing methodologies, Google ensures they are reaching all of their potential customers, not just those who are already invested in and interested in Internet marketing.  If Google isn’t only relying on online search to market their business why should you?

4. Be Innovative

Even though Google continues to do their one thing really well, they also recognize the power of expansion and diversity.  The company is committed to creating a culture that embraces and inspires innovation.   This innovative attitude has created things like Google Earth, the Android Operating System, and Google Maps.   Even though not all products are successful (Google Wave for example) the innovation required to create these new products becomes astepping stonefor creating new (and often successful) products in the future.  You’re not always going to hit a home run in your marketing, but you always should be swinging.

5. Have Fun

Google also embraces the idea that business doesn’t have to be boring.  I love this! What other company do you know is able to routinely modify their logo without compromising their brand?  This is something Google does on a regular basis with Google Doodles, the alternative logo designs that grace the Google home page for special events and holidays.  Not only does this create a lot of fun for Google Users, (and I’m sure Google employees as well) it also creates a lot of marketing buzz for Google.  They’ve often been featured on television, radio and newspaper just because of their fun Google Doodle.

Another thing that Google does is hides little surprises (or jokes) in the search engine function.  These surprises, called “Easter Eggs” are search terms that produce unexpected screen behaviors or interesting page results. For example, when you type in the words “do a barrel roll” into Google your screen starts spinning around.  Google’s antics not only create buzz for the company and increase customer engagement, and I’m sure, satisfaction as well.  It’s a well-known fact that humor sells.  Google uses humor as a part of its regular routine.

Google makes it clear that when it comes to marketing your business, you need to have a diversified strategy.    What other marketing lessons can we learn from Google?