Take a moment to think about your marketing.
Are you happy with your marketing?
Do you feel you are spending a fair amount in terms of both dollars and time?
Do you feel you are getting a good return on your marketing investment?
Are you getting leads?
How you answer those questions will influence the marketing decisions you make. They also give you a good reference for how your marketing is presently working for your business.
I was recently approached by a doctor who was frustrated by the results of his marketing and asked me to put together a lead generation strategy for him.
He had some essentials in place, including a website, social accounts and a YouTube channel. But they were clearly out of sync and mostly unused.
This seemed like a great place to start so I made a few suggestions for improving what he had and then put together a plan for moving forward.
However, there was one challenge. The Doctor’s frustration with his marketing had turned into cynicism and cynicism turned into a refusal to execute any of our ideas. It turned out that his prior marketing company did not generate any leads so he didn’t want to spend money with us to try something new.
This is a bad spot for him and for us.
It’s bad spot for us because we’re forced to compete with someone else’s failure before we have a chance to prove anything.
It’s a bad spot for the doctor because his obligation is to his business. He can’t spend unlimited dollars on marketing. He made an investment in marketing and it did not pan out. Now, I come along and ask him to reinvest. Why should he? What has he to gain?
Internet Marketing Fatigue
That’s internet marketing fatigue.
Some years ago businesses didn’t have websites because there was no internet. Then the internet came along and companies began to adopt it as a marketing channel.
It was at that point that a new paradigm was born: I need a website because my competitor has one.
This is reactive, but not necessarily wrong.
Later, as the internet evolved the paradigm changed again and again to adapt to the trends of the times.
We need to have dark backgrounds.
We need to have spinning 3D logos on fire.
We need a content management system.
We need a mobile responsive site.
And on and on.
But now a new paradigm seems to be setting in.
“Online marketing doesn’t work because no one knows what they are doing.”
There’s another variation.
“No one know how to get me leads.”
And do you know what?
They Are Right
Yup. I hate to say it, but businesses are hitting it on the head. A few years ago as the economy began to nosedive, the online marketing industry went from saturated to hyper saturated. Everyone and anyone became an online marketer. A new illusory paradigm crept into the business space: online marketing is magic.
In the case of the doctor, his prior marketer was a real estate agent who was displaced by the economy and in order to make money she became a social marketer overnight. Her inexperience led to some bad decisions that cost my potential client money without giving him any return. It also set a precedent of mistrust.
So no, these kinds of overnight professionals don’t know how to generate leads for you. They may have an internet connection and a Facebook account but that doesn’t make them effective marketers.
Sadly, too many business owners bought into these kinds of big promises and small price tags and gained nothing. Now reality seems to be setting in and businesses are beginning to recognize that posting a pithy or snarky comment on a social media site or their blog won’t return dozens of new clients overnight.
As it turns out…
Marketing Is Work
Marketing requires time, effort and then more time. This fundamental fact of marketing has been eliminated from the equation over the past few years because marketing rookies devised low labor, passive income packages to make money easily as opposed to servicing the customer well.
A few days ago I was having drinks with a group of friends. One of them, a business owner, told me about a marketing agency that had contacted him. They were pitching him a search and social package for $600 per month. That’s not an unreasonable rate for what was included, but when he said no, they countered with a new proposal for $100 per month. While the services were different, it was clear that they were pricing a package to make money and not to serve his best interests.
This is a common theme. Businesses balk at reasonable rates in favor of artificially low too-good-to-be-true rates and eventually realize that they made a mistake.
The close cousin of this type of salesmanship is the “social coaching” package. This is where a self professed “social expert” sells a package of training so that that businesses can do their own marketing. These experts sell online marking as “easy” and “fun” and record themselves performing the training then sell it to as many people as can part with a few bucks.
But the practical reality is that marketing in any form isn’t easy. It can be challenging and frustrating. Just like any other part of business. To say otherwise is to be deceptive.
The Good News
The good news is that businesses seem to be recognizing that too-good-to-be-true is actually too good to be true. All businesses operate in cycles. There are lows and there are highs. In many cases, the highs are a result of lessons learned during the lows.
That means that the future of online marketing is looking bright.
Businesses are going to be incentiviced to be more demanding in their expectations and more careful about who they choose to execute their marketing. If this is you and your business is presently in this low, here are a few things to think about that can make your business upswing come sooner.
Kill Your Babies
Businesses pay money for a thing and then as a result, feel emotionally committed to that thing even though it may not be the best thing for the business. You may have spent money on your website, but is it search optimized? Is it human optimized? Are you getting leads from it?
How about your social? Are you spending money to have someone post to your social channels and getting no clients from it? Are your email campaigns getting the response you want or are the open and click through rates abysmal?
It’s time to rethink all of that. Find a competent marketing company that can clearly explain why what you’re doing isn’t working and then offer recommendations for what you should be doing instead. Make sure they provide metrics and that they can support their opinions with at least some reasonable amount of data or evidence.
It’s going to cost money, but it’s better to spend and get leads than stick with what you have and get nothing.
The Online Marketing Content Creating Ninja Guru Rockstar who wants to charge you a monthly fee may not be the vessel through which the gods speak.
Sorry, but it’s true.
A marketing veteran is going to be better for your business than someone who just learned how to use Twitter. Would you hire a plumber that claimed to know plumbing but had no hands-on experience? Probably not. So don’t do the same when it comes to your marketing.
Learn online marketing but do it the easy way. Ask your marketing provider to teach you why you need to do the things they are recommending. Being taught what button to click in an app has no value to your business whatsoever. Understanding the methods of your marketing in the context of your customer zeitgeist is the most meaningful thing you can do.
Accept that it doesn’t have to happen all at once. It’s a bad ideas to do it that way anyway. Things change too often. Become accustomed to learning as you go. Forever. That’s true marketing.
I Want You To Succeed
The local area where I work is going through a renaissance. My office is 3 miles from the shore that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Homes, buildings, roadways were washed away. After some rebuilding businesses are beginning to look to the future. They are thinking about growth. And they are doing it by learning not to make the same mistakes they made over the past several years.
Ultimately, the answer is not to spend as little as possible on your marketing, but to spend as wisely as possible on your marketing.