What is happening here?
With so many ways to drive traffic to your website or business, how on earth are we able to know that we are spending time on the right platforms with the right strategies? There are so many options and there are so many “success stories” of people using different strategies that it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.
So what do you do?
Chances are you try and do everything. You don’t want to miss out on success so you try to put an egg in every basket. I know because I have done it before.
But what happens?
You start writing blog articles because you think it will help with your SEO. You post those blog articles on Facebook because you want to build up a social media following. But Facebook is not good enough. So you post your blog on LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest and Twitter. But wait… posting content is just the beginning. You remember that social media is all about interaction.
So you spend the next hour or two replying to comments, liking other people’s content and trying to “engage” the best you can. Your cell phone is always in your hand. You are “hustling” and it makes you feel good.
But what about your email list? You need to build your email as well.
We forgot about guest blogging. We need to do that. How are you supposed to grow your brand without doing any guest blogging?
Before you know it, you’ve spent months on every platform imaginable and the culmination of your work hasn’t exactly rocketed you past that next level of success you are looking for.
What went wrong? You did everything you could possibly do.
The “More Is Better” Trap
I have a strange internal relationship with Gary Vaynerchuk. I don’t know him personally, but sometimes I feel like his message as an entrepreneur effects me more than any other person that I follow.
On one hand, I have the utmost respect for him as a self made business man. No one could ever take his success away from him. I admire that and I can relate to him on that level.
But there are other parts of his message that I feel are sensational and illogical and straight up harmful to the new businessman or woman who is just starting out. Gary Vee preaches the “mentality of more.” More content, more work, more hustle, more reach, be in as many places as you can. More! More! More!
I think part of me is a bit resentful towards this message because of the amount of time I wasted trying to be in as many places as I could. I will be the one to tell you that the “more is better” mindset is a trap. It’s an illusion. It’s a marketing ploy designed to make you think that you need to constantly be in the know and that you are always a step behind.
It’s a lie that is dedicated towards making you feel like you’re not doing enough and therefore, need to participate in someone else’s message so that you can reap the success that he or she has had.
There are tons of online personalities and business people who have built great businesses through online content. But in almost every case, the success was not a by product of more. Their success was a by product of focus.
It’s not about going bigger or casting a bigger net. It’s about going smaller and dedicating yourself to serving a specific group of people. It’s about picking a lane and becoming the master of that particular domain.
So stop with the constant barrage of Instagram pics, blog articles, medium posts, LinkedIn posts and any other content you think is relevant.
Pick something and become the very best at that one thing that you can possibly be. Once you have mastered your one craft, then you can move on. But don’t move on until your first strategy is providing a return on your investment.
More of nothing is still nothing.
What Should Be Your Strategy?
We have established that more is not better. Great. I hope that you truly buy into this message because it will only help you and your business. But now you’re probably wondering what marketing strategy you should use. Let’s look at our options.
Inbound Search Traffic (SEO) – I started with SEO because it is my favorite strategy to grow a business. But that’s also because it is the most in line with how my business operates. SEO works great for service based businesses or businesses that are designed to help people solve problems.
Think of the problem your business solves. What would people search on Google if they had that problem? For instance, if you’re an organic juice bar, it may greatly benefit you to show up in searches for “best organic juice company near me.”
Now SEO is time consuming and it is not something that has an immediate return. But over time, you know search will be valuable because you will be getting people to your website who are already looking for the service or product you provide.
Google My Business (GMB) – GMB is another form of search marketing. However, GMB shows up for location based search and is specific to local brick and mortar businesses with an address. If someone were to search “best restaurant in Nashville”, most likely they would use the Google Business Directory to find what they wanted.
GMB is a no brainier for any local business with a business address. Once you set up your GMB listing, you can always improve it by working towards getting positive reviews, by posting lots of pictures and by postings new content on your timeline. To get started with your GMB, click here and follow the instructions.
Facebook – Contrary to what most people think, Facebook is not a social media platform, it is an advertising platform with social media functionality. Naturally, Facebook is a great option for businesses that have an advertising budget. The cost per click on Facebook is very low, but the conversion rate on those clicks is also very low.
If advertising is not in the cards for you, there are options on Facebook that can help you build a real following. Facebook is always changing, but here are some quick tips.
- Participate in Facebook live.
- Post pictures of your every day life.
- Create content that highlights your community.
- Post every day.
- Network and reach out to other like minded people and organizations.
- Start a Facebook group and build a network.
Although Facebook becomes more and more saturated every day, there is great opportunity to scale on the platform. If you can create content that is share worthy, then you can get your audience to do your marketing for you.
Facebook has value for any business of any kind. It is the most useful of all social media platforms. My cautionary tale for businesses on Facebook is not to mistake traffic, likes and reach for revenue. If your video gets a million views but isn’t translating into business, it may be time to rethink your strategy.
It’s all about knowing your expectations and measuring the results of your time and effort.
Instagram – Instagram is a great platform for a personal brand and brands of any kind. Granted, every business is technically a brand, but there are some nuances. For instance, Instagram is a great platform for …
- fitness brands
- clothing brands
- tech companies
- food blogs and brands
- influencers of certain categories
Instagram allows you and your business to be very personal with your audience. When people build large followings on Instagram, it’s usually because they speak very candidly on the platform. They make videos and post pictures of there every day lives. Think of the huge Instagram stars like The Rock or Kevin Hart. Their content is not overly produced but rather it is a lens into their every day lives.
Instagram is a great option for companies and brands that are very visual. For instance, one of my friends owns a successful clothing line called 8and9 Clothing. He spends almost all of his time and energy on Instagram because his brand is very visually appealing and people resonate on that platform.
In the case of 8and9, it makes sense to focus on Instagram as it provides the best return for their marketing budget.
LinkedIn – In many cases, LinkedIn can be a very under utilized social media site. If you are willing to be patient and are willing to sort through the garbage, there are some opportunities to make valuable connections on LinkedIn.
So who exactly does this platform apply to?
In short, it applies to professionals. I would not recommend using LinkedIn as a marketing tool to grow your clothing line but if you are a coach, or a speaker or a finance consultant, then LinkedIn is a great option for you.
But be aware, there are millions of people on LinkedIn looking to do the same thing you are. Almost every time I sign into my LinkedIn account, I get a new wave of spam messages from people looking to “connect.”
Be sure to stay focused on your mission and not get sucked down the rabbit hole.
YouTube – There are many pros and cons to developing great YouTube content. Before we go any further, it’s important to know that if you plan to make YouTube your business, there is little chance you will make much money from it. If “vlogging” and making money off the advertising from your videos is your business model, then you will need to dedicate years to making amazing videos and get millions of views before you see any real money from it.
The vlogging and content creator landscape is very competitive.
But with that being said, there are avenues of YouTube that are still wide open. For instance, many people forget that YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world. It is more than just a platform for entertainment but it is also a platform for learning.
You have a great opportunity to market your own business through YouTube, simply by creating videos that “teach” people something. In the video, simply plug your business or your website. Over time, people will find your business by going to YouTube and searching for answers to their problems. If you do it right, it is almost a guarantee that you will be seen as an expert in your field.
A great personal experience I had with this strategy is in the video below. This one video has gotten me 3 or 4 paying clients within Stodzy Media. Although the results for this video aren’t typical, if you take enough swings you are bound to hit a few home runs.
Blogging – Blogging has been an extremely useful and effective way to grow my business and my brand. Good writers always have the upper hand in marketing their businesses because so much of the internet centers around the written word.
Yes, even with video and podcasts and all the social content out there, most sales come from good sales copy and well written content. Most writers will tell you that blogging is not easy and is very time consuming. Especially if you want to use blogging as the main means to grow your business.
Let me say that blogging for the sake of blogging isn’t a good idea. Blogging needs to accompany some kind of “audience” collection strategy for it to be effective in making sales or conversions. That’s why in all my blog posts, you see forms for people to join my mailing list.
This way, when people are driven to your website through a blog or through a guest blog on another website, you have the opportunity to keep them engaged through a newsletter or through emails. If you are going to bother spending time writing great articles, you want to make sure you have some kind of lasting return on them.
Podcasts – Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the last five years. There are some very strong predictions on how audio and voice are going to change the landscape of our culture. With new tools like Alexa and Siri, it is feasible to see a world in which audio and voice become the very fabric on how content and the internet are operated.
With that, I see podcasts as a great option for anyone trying to market a business. If you can chose a topic that has passionate listeners and you are able to capture a little piece of the audience through your show, you will see some great results from it.
Some challenges people have with podcasts is setting it up. I can create an entire article about how to actually set up your podcast, but to start, I always recommend people start simple.
Follow these steps.
- Start recording your podcasts on your phone. The audio quality will not be great, but it won’t be bad either. If your message is good, people will listen.
- Create a LibSyn account. This is the service that will upload and host your audio files.
- Connect your LibSyn to Itunes using the podcast connect and to Spotify.
- Start recording episodes every week and upload them.
Podcasts are about consistency. A great way to build a following is to bring guests onto your show who have knowledge in your specific topic. Hopefully, these guests will help you share your show because it will help them spread their message as well.
A podcast is a good option for any business who believes in content marketing, but may not be the best writer or may not be the best behind the camera. A great example of a successful podcast is Chris Ducker and Youpreneur FM.
Chris Ducker hosts a podcast every week. At the beginning of every show, he always mentions his online membership program. His podcast alone has probably done more to grow his business than any other strategy he has worked on.
Email Marketing – Last but not least, email marketing is the forgotten golden goose of digital marketing.
An email list is the most valuable asset a digital marketer can have. The reason being that if people have “opted in” to your email list, then you know they are an engaged follower. People are generally very protective of their email addresses and so if your value proposition is good enough for people to sign up for it with there email, then their attentiveness for your content is much higher than it would be in other cases.
That is why companies that sell products (such as clothing or online courses) always try to close the sale in emails. People are much more willing to spend money on a product that they have already showed interest in by “signing up to learn more.”
One mistake that people make with email marketing is thinking that they need to work hard to build a bigger list. Yes, the bigger your list the more people you can engage with. But if you focus more on engaging with people who care, then you will reap better results then if you tried to engage with as many people as possible.
Are you starting to see a pattern?
Where Do We Go From Here?
I understand that there is no such thing as a perfect world. In a perfect world, you would be able to look at your marketing options and be able to correctly adequate where to spend your time. It would be naive of me to say that this isn’t the case.
My message from this blog article is that you are better of focusing on a specific strategy rather than to try and do everything at the same time.
Is it possible to work on your Facebook and your Instagram page and your LinkedIn page at the same time? Of course it is. In fact, that may be a very good option for you.
Or is it possible to work on your SEO at the same time you work on your blogging? Definitely yes, in fact, blogging and SEO work hand in hand. The more content you write, the better your chances of being found through a search engine will be.
The mistake people make is to think that 50 blog articles is better than one great article. Or that posting 6 times a day on social media is better than one high quality video that has a great message behind it.
I feel very passionate in speaking up against this hustle mentality. It feels very predatory and it makes people believe that if they are not creating content and networking for 18 hours a day then they are failing.
The reality is that building a business takes time. It takes patience. It takes the ability to create a plan and execute on it. Most importantly, it requires intention.
My fear is that when people see the message of hustle and “more”, they will fail to put value being the intention of their work. I fear that attention is the new metric of success. Well when it comes to business, the metric of success should be profitability. If you have a business with a million followers and hundreds of pages of content but no cash flow, then you don’t actually have a business.
We need to be honest with ourselves in that regard. The purpose of building a business is to make money. It is not to gain attention.
This article is not an excuse to not work hard. This article is a call to action for you to be deliberate.
Here is my suggestion to you…
Step away from your business or an hour or two. Grab a notebook and write down exactly what the purpose of your business is. What problem are you solving for people? What value is your brand or your company adding to people’s lives?
Then go through the list of strategies listed above and decide what the best channels of focus would be. Is it social media? Is it blogging? Is it SEO? Why? How did you come up with that conclusion?
After you have written this down, send me an email and you and I will go through it together. Hopefully by the end of our conversation, you will know how to best use your time.
Are you already having success with your marketing? If so, leave me a comment below and let me know what has worked for you. 🙂