Marketing September 17, 2010 Last updated September 17th, 2010 2,296 Reads share

How Seth Godin Turns Browsers To Buyers

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You learn from the masters, right?

According to Ad Age, Seth ranks number one on their Power 150 web marketing blogs. If he’s having a down day, he may fall all the way to number two. Don’t worry. Check back in a few hours. He’s probably number one again.

You can learn a lot by monitoring Seth. You don’t have to agree with him. But sit back, watch what he does and take notes.

Take Twitter, for example.

Seth Godin doesn’t use Twitter. And promises he never will. Yet, few of us get tweeted as often as Seth.

Ok he does. Well, kinda. He links his blog to his Twitter. When he hits publish on his blog – which is every day without fail – a tweet gets sent out.

His 45,486 followers take over from there.

What’s the trick?

Here’s a clue.

‘You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. ~Zig Ziglar

You Are the Most Important Person on Seth’s Site.


Seth’s site is designed to be read.

It has:

  • No irritating popups asking you to sign for a newsletter.
  • No Flash intros that waste your time.
  • No plug-ins that must be installed.
  • No distracting banner ads.
  • No videos.
  • No frequent changes to the site design to keep things ‘fresh’. KiSS is the mantra.


  • You, the reader, are the most important person on the site.
  • The site is designed to make it easy for you to read.
  • It would be hard to design a site that was more user-friendly.
  • It loads super fast, which Google also loves. Google gives you brownie points for a fast-loading site.

Great Titles

Look at these titles. You want to read them, right? Seth knows how to write great hooks. Short titles that pull you in, generate curiosity and make you want to read more.

  • Sell the problem. No business buys a solution for a problem they don’t have.
  • Every activity worth doing has a learning curve.
  • Build in virality.
  • Subscriptions beat one-off sales.
  • Treat different customers differently.


A second thing about his titles. He keeps them short. Often two or three words.

Why so short?

A few reasons. One is that it makes them easier to share, another is that they’re easier to retweet (long titles may get chopped off when others add their comments) and they look great when compiled into a book.

The word count is low, sometimes less than a hundred words. But, like all great writers, he can condense his material into a few paragraphs.

Here’s an experiment.

Read through his articles and see what you can remove without affecting the meaning. Not much, is there?

Seth is also a great marketer. He packages his content so it’s easy to adapt to other media. For example, most of the posts in ‘Small is the New Big’ came from his website.

And how can you not like a book called, All Marketers Are Liars?


When you make yourself unique – and do something successful – others take note.

The web is full of imitators, wannabees and copycats. When you do something a little different that works, others want to look. If you do it very well, you become the template for others to follow.

For example?

Look at Leo Babauta. His ‘zen’ blog has launched a thousand websites that ape his minimal, simple values.

Seth has spawned his imitators.

Few, in any, produce content as intriguing, confident and sharable as he does.


The fact the he doesn’t use twitter AND promises us that he never will encourages other to carry the flame for him.

Seth has a rabid fan base. Most will tweet and re-tweet his posts even BEFORE they’ve read them.

Because Seth can’t (or won’t) they spread the word for him.

Rabid Fans

His followers are fanatic about Seth.

Don’t believe me?

If you feel brave, make a comment that doesn’t support the word of Seth or dares to challenge it. In Linchpin, he talks about the Lizard Brain.

I’ve read comments about the Lizard Brain in other blogs. Some folks seem to take it literally as though it’s a fact. Try explaining to them that there is no Lizard Brain.

Be prepared for some very negative comments.


Seth posts every day.

His blog is like a newspaper. New day, new edition. And the quality is very high. No filler. No fluff.

Fans check in first thing every morning to get the skinny…. and then start tweeting.

His site shows the number of tweets and shares. This encourages readers to find the most popular articles and spend more time on the site.

No Images

Breaking all SEO rules, Seth rarely uses images to jazz up his articles. He wastes no time on eye candy or visual cliches. The focus is on words.

Google Juice

and because he posts every day, Google rates the site higher than his competitors. Google has always favored sites that post regularly. This year it announced that it’s algorithm was updated to favor/reward etc sites that produce content more frequently.

Non-Social Social Media

The irony is that Seth doesn’t interact with his community. He doesn’t reply to comments on his blog – you can’t even leave comments – and his Facebook page has little interaction that I can see.

Somehow this encourages others to:

  • Speak on his behalf and spread the word.
  • Defend any criticism of his writings.
  • Interpret his material so others sees what he really means. How accurate they are is open to debate.

The point is that all this creates buzz.

More buzz, more sales!

Call to Action

Call to Action means getting the reader to do something, such as subscribing to a newsletter, joining your Facebook Fan page or buying something. The site makes this very easy to:

  • Buy the books
  • Read the articles
  • Share the love

It’s simple. And it works.

Over to you.

What’s the one thing you’ve learnt from Seth that makes him stand out? And how have you adapted it into your social media strategy?

PS – please click on the ShareThis button and share the love.

Ivan Walsh

Ivan Walsh

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