The online marketing industry is a mess.
November 15 2019
The online marketing industry is a mess.
Somewhere along the way, we as marketers stopped looking at the visitor, at what they’re searching for, which has caused a serious amount of problems for marketers and business owners.
Here, we’re going to cover what WORKS in marketing right now.
This is not going to be a post about hacks or tricks or techniques that supposedly work for every market/ industry/ sector; there are enough post like that on the internet already.
So, in this post we’re going to cover three big roadblocks in online marketing that you might be falling victim to, and how to remedy those so that your company’s marketing efforts will move closer toward its full potential.
Most companies who ask about “what works in marketing” are in similar positions; any of these sound true for you?
- They’ve tried ‘everything’ in marketing, but struggle to create the results they’re hoping for.
- They’ve experimented with many advertising channels, but so far have achieved little-to-no yield from most of them.
- Any growth they’ve managed to create has paled in comparison to their expectations.
If you can relate to any of these situations, let’s put each one to rest, in order.
The first marketing roadblock: “trying everything”
When we go to a company’s website, we can tell when they’ve “tried everything”. We’re assaulted with “stuff”.
We’re talking about: pop-ups, welcome mats, exit intents, opt-ins, and those new-dangled spinning-wheel things that ask you to select your bonus gift.
We’ve been to these ‘everything’ websites ourselves, and what we notice is this:
- We don’t like those websites.
- We don’t trust those websites.
- We know when we’re being herded and we don’t like it.
So what do we do about this? If we’ve tried everything, what’s the key?
1. Make sure you’re proud of your site.
I mean… really, really proud.
When you tell people about your website, you shouldn’t feel as if you’re luring them into a trap, or that they won’t ‘get it’. It shouldn’t be tedious to sift through the site due to excess ‘marketing stuff’. A great website connects with its audience and is worth making a (good) remark about.
2. Make sure you’re clear on your audience.
‘Everything’ isn’t necessary when you know your audience. The clearer you are on who your audience is and what they need to hear from you, the less you’ll rely on gimmicks to stand out, sell better and make your impact.
3. Stop dabbling.
Armed with clarity over who you’re talking to and what to say, release the temptation to dabble in your marketing work. If you know what to say, why are you saying other things?
Dabbling inflicts pain on your business. Replace it with indefatigable focus: on your people, and on what they truly need from you.
The second marketing roadblock: trying to find a “magic channel”
There is no magic channel. All advertising channels are mostly the same.
- People sharing their highlights
- People hiding their lowlights
- The ability to advertise to these people
It’s important to remember that most channels are like this. If Facebook failed you, LinkedIn is not your savior. It’s still another platform that interacts with people, isn’t it?
The question again becomes:
Who do we want to talk to, and what do they need to hear from us?
Some people enjoy social channels more than others. Which do your people enjoy? Be there. And share the message they need to hear, there.
If we can do this, we quickly settle on the best platform or platforms to engage with those we wish to serve, armed with a message they want to hear from us.
So the keys to this one are:
1. Remember what a channel is.
It’s a website that people go to regularly, normally designed to sell information to advertisers.
It’s not a golden ticket, it owes us nothing, and its goals differ from yours.
2. Go where they are.
…And stop going where they aren’t. Knowing your customers means understanding where they’ll be and how to utilize those platforms to strengthen your connection.
3. Pay attention to the meta-game.
Other businesses are messaging people on LinkedIn too. Those who ‘like’ your Instagram post may well have done so for the same reason you went and ‘liked’ theirs – to increase your exposure.
So don’t focus on Likes and Follows, but instead focus on whether or not you’re talking to the right people, and saying the right things they need to hear from you. That’s all that matters. The rest will only distract you from what matters.
The third marketing roadblock: wrong expectations
Thinking you’re not as capable as you are is a misstep. Thinking that operating at full potential is easy, is also a misstep.
Oftentimes, we’re seduced by the narrative that countless riches are but a single online course away – That it can be fast, easy and affordable to produce significant results simply by using the right piece of software.
However, you’ve probably learned by now that some things just take time.
And that’s okay.
It’s 100% OK if something doesn’t work the first time around (hardly anything does!)
Just like our book title suggests, Marketing Isn’t About You, it’s your fiduciary and moral responsibility to reach your potential, because that’s going to enable you to serve more people and making more impact.
So what can we do about this?
1. See the data for what it is.
When marketing isn’t working well, it doesn’t mean it’s ‘broken’, only that it’s underperforming, and all things underperform to start.
But what gets measured can be improved. So we can refine our message and increase our results if we choose to.
2. See the people behind the data.
Beyond the data, it’s important to remember that real people are looking at you. If we focus on the data for too long, we can forget that. If you only have 100 people on your website today, that is 100 real human beings who went there.
What do your people really need? Are they finding that in you? 100 can be nothing or it can be everything, depending on if you can see the people behind the data or not.
So, here’s the bottom line: What works in marketing now?
Well, as it happens, it appears to be the opposite of what most people do:
To focus, and care more about those you wish to serve.
It’s our responsibility to tell our audience that this is our mission. After all, they’ve been waiting for someone to finally show the industry that what works in marketing is 100% customer-centric.
Pair this golden rule while taking the steps to reach your potential and you have a marketing plan that actually (and finally) shows results.