An interesting title, bear with me and let me provoke your thoughts. Scour any magazine, forum or website looking for fitness or health advice and you’ll soon be familiar with the myriad of results.
Using a highly desired goal as an example: weight loss. The advice will include… vibrating machines, sit ups, zumba, squats, no squats, don’t eat carbs after 6, paleo diet, NO carbs, exercise first thing, drink gallons of green tea, high fat / low fat, eliminate dairy, only eat grapes and so on.
Each resource hailing their chosen method of weight loss as gospel despite contradictory advice from others. When you ask friends and colleagues for advice, the same thing happens. “You must do this” and “It won’t work if you do that.”
Web marketing can be the same, ask around on how to grow your business online and you’ll get a resounding bombardment that you must be on Facebook, you must do pay per click, you must be blogging, recording video, sending newsletters, get on all social media platforms, QR codes, voucher schemes and link link link and then more QR codes for good measure.
An interesting comparison is forming between both debates of fitness and of web marketing. When looking for advice and direction, you are met with a list of things that you MUST be doing to reach your goal, the end goal being a lucrative goal in both cases.
If you’re not savvy with web marketing this can be overwhelming, likewise on a fitness goal. The person who appears to have had the most success at achieving the goal you set looks like the best choice, but are they? There are some things to bear in mind.
Distinguishing between good advice and bad advice
The best advice does not always come from the person who appears to have achieved your goal but will often come from someone that takes into account your unique requirements.
Just as your body type and genetics are unique to you, your business model and your customers are similarly unique to you. What may be a resounding success for one company may be a weak choice for you depending on how you implement it and if you can fulfil the commitments that some web marketing efforts require.
Someone with a perfectly flat stomach may be genetically advantaged to easily stay that way in the same way that another company with a huge following on Facebook may have a customer base that are heavily social and eager to engage with them at every opportunity. Your own results may not be as easy to accomplish.
Look at similar businesses to yourself and analyse what they do. Check out the leaders in your market and then similar, smaller, local businesses. Identify companies who deal with a similar customer base to yourself and see what appears to be working.
Striking up a relationship with these businesses allows you to share your insights into past mistakes and find current trends that are working well to help you both.
Analyse the potential outcomes and commitment
Getting fit requires commitment and hard work to get your results. Similarly, the same could be said about web marketing and the pitfalls that can occur when commitment falters and leaves behind a trail of initially hopeful ideas…
- Stagnant social media profiles.
- The videos that no one watched.
- The QR codes that no one used.
- The blog that now gathers dust.
- The news page with old news.
If any of these points sound familiar despite the reported success that others are reaping from them, try to revisit each one and evaluate any factors that may have contributed to the less than desired performance.
There are 5 main things you should think about when you consider a new avenue of marketing.
- What is your goal?
To increase website traffic, increase ecommerce sales, raise company awareness, promote customer loyalty, build relationships? Will this avenue help satisfy these goals?
- Where is it currently working?
Is it successful with similar businesses and is your customer base in line with the market that embraces such avenue?
- Does it benefit your customer?
The most vital question that will largely predict the success of your new avenue. Does it provide real value to your customers or is it likely to be ignored or worse, avoided?
- Can you afford to commit?
Will the time and cost required outweigh the benefits to be gained?
- What are the dangers?
Do you have disgruntled customers who will want to comment their grievances? If your avenue is not executed professionally, will it make people think negatively of you?
Consider your own circumstances in relation to what it will take to achieve success in your web marketing and you can better visualise what areas may and may not work.
If you are working with limited resources and budget then it’s vital to do the research prior to committing time and money into an avenue that you can’t sustain. Find something that you can manage and push it hard.
Know when to move on from a plateau
Social media is an excellent example, it is hot on everyone’s tongues with how it can boost your business to new levels and it would seem to be crazy for someone to not be convinced of social media, never mind oppose it but there are people (honestly) with compelling arguments on the subject of why they feel it is over hyped which can be read here and for a stronger opinion on the subject read here.
To succeed on Facebook, setting goals is the key and planning is paramount. Set goals which will help you reach more of your customers and interact with them to form relationships and better understand their needs. Structure the time spent nurturing the page, engaging with subscribers, planning content that is interesting and provides real value to the subscriber and monitoring and adjusting your approach over time to focus on the goal.
If despite your best efforts it isn’t working as planned, try diagnosing why and if it still fails to produce results then maybe it’s time to move on or seek external help.
If you feel inexperienced in any areas of marketing, just like fitness you can elicit the help of personal trainers. Web trainers come in the form of SEO companies, social media consultants, copywriters, marketing experts and many website designers will be able to advise and try to help you reach your web goals but if you’re spending more money than you’re making, maybe it’s time to move on.
If you’re truly giving up on something, it’s often a good idea to do a little cleaning up of things that people will expect to be up to date. It can look bad on you if you leave a graveyard of past attempts for people to discover. Like a news page that hasn’t been updated in 5 years or a Facebook profile with no new updates since a month after you joined in 2009.
Everything works in harmony
Just as you need to eat, sleep and train properly to reach your fitness goal you also need to balance your marketing methods. Email newsletters will work well in conjunction with a website landing page to back it up, pay per click campaigns will work best if your website has great content. A video blog on your website could be boosted by hosting it on a social channel like Youtube.
If you can manage each method, start blending them together. Use your email newsletter to incentivise people to follow you on social networks. Use your social networks to promote your blog on your website, use Youtube to add video content to your blog and then build a following so you can then use your Youtube videos to push people to the website to convert people into buying from you.
Leverage what you have and what you can manage and devote your time to the one’s that work.
I hope this article was thought provoking and although it doesn’t hail any quick fix solutions, results can be attained if you plan wisely, commit to effective methods and work hard to push yourself toward your goal. Now get down and give me 30 sit ups!