I get it, I’ve been in your shoes countless times and I’ve talked to hundreds of marketers in the exact same situation.
While it might seem like online marketing simply isn’t a good fit for your business, in my experience, most online marketers struggle to “crack the code” for one of two reasons: 1) they aren’t being consistent or 2) they are too conservative.
These are very different problems, so let’s take a look at how to handle each one:
Often, when I talk to marketers or business owners who are struggling to produce results from their online advertising, I hear a story that sounds something like this:
I’ve tried everything! I’ve done email marketing. I’ve advertised on Google and Facebook and I’ve been active on social media. Heck, I even tried making a video about my business! Nothing works!
On the surface, this story sounds good. In fact, these marketers and business owners will often go on to talk about how they read about this tactic or that best practice online…and they still didn’t get results.
It’s a frustrating situation, to be sure, but when I start asking about how long they spent advertising on Google and Facebook or how often they post on social media, things start to get interesting.
More often than not, I get answers like “I spent $100 on Google and didn’t a single lead” or “I posted four times a day on social media for two weeks and only had five retweets.”
All of a sudden, the problem becomes pretty obvious. They aren’t being consistent.
The Truth About Online Advertising
A decade or two ago, online marketing was in its infancy. You could hop online, run an ad or two and see a huge return on investment.
These days, however, things aren’t quite so easy.
In today’s incredibly competitive online environment, if you want to know whether or not a marketing channel will be profitable for your business, you need to give it time to succeed.
Even if you’ve put together what seems like killer AdWords campaign, $100 probably won’t deliver many leads. You might be bidding on the wrong keywords, have the wrong ad copy or be using the wrong messaging on your landing page—all without realizing it.
Great online advertising is all about learning and refining your ad strategy, and learning takes time and consistency.
Unfortunately, “best practice” guidelines often make it sound like all you have to do is make a few tweaks and you’ll immediately start to see the revenue flow.
In real life, things are never that simple. You have to figure out “best practice” for your own business…which means learning…which means time and consistency.
So, if you haven’t spent (or aren’t willing to spend) months-to-years perfecting your online advertising strategy, don’t be surprised if online marketing seems like a waste of money.
Figuring Things Out
To figure out your business’s “best practices” for any given marketing channel, you’ll need to spend some time and consistent effort in 4 areas:
1. Buyer Personas
On the surface, putting together your buyer personas seems like an easy task, but sometimes your target market isn’t who you think they are. Figuring out who really responds to your marketing takes time, effort and research.
As you consistently refine your buyer personas, your marketing will become increasingly more effective and more profitable.
Unfortunately, while you could probably market your product pretty effectively to yourself, the fact of the matter is, you are not your target audience.
Even if you happen to be an ideal customer for your product, you still aren’t your target audience. People can have a lot in common and still respond to radically different messaging.
All of this means that figuring out the right messaging for your buyer personas will take a lot of work. You’ll need to be willing to test a lot of ideas until you find something that delivers awesome results.
3. Overall Experience
Even the best messaging can fail if your overall online advertising experience doesn’t work for your target audience.
For example, you might have an ad that speaks to one pain point and a landing page that addresses a different pain point. Both of those pain points might be relevant to your buyer persona, but if a potential customer is expecting one thing and ends up getting something else, they are much less likely to buy.
Great online advertising is all about crafting a seamless experience for your target audience. But, figuring out exactly what your audience wants at which point in their experience takes a lot of trial and error.
You might have the right buyer personas and messaging, but if you haven’t taken the time to create the right experience, you may still struggle to run a profitable campaign.
4. Thinking Creatively
Simply consistently working on and improving your online marketing will put you ahead of most of the competition, but it still might not be enough to get the results you need. This is where you have to get creative.
Often, marketers and business owners believe that simply following best practices—consistently, even—will guarantee them marketing success. Sadly, it’s often not that simple.
If you’ve established a solid baseline and your campaigns still aren’t delivering acceptable results, it isn’t time to quit. It’s time to get creative.
Odds are if “best practice” isn’t working for you, it isn’t working for anyone else, either. That means a little creativity can produce big results.
For example, while helping a client in the tech support industry, I discovered that the best customers weren’t the virus-afflicted computer users everyone in the industry was targeting. Instead, the best customers needed help logging into their email.
We tested the idea out and it completely changed how this client approached their business…and made them millions in additional profit.
We worked with another client who had spent years trying to market the price of their cheap product. Then, we decided to try advertising speed rather than price.
It turned out that their buyer persona actually cared way more about speed than they cared about price. As a result, changing their messaging to emphasize speed dramatically improved the performance of their campaigns and their profit margin.
What’s important to note here, though, is that the best, most creative ideas come as you consistently work on your campaigns. The better you get to know your customers and what they respond to, the better your “big ideas” will be.
Ultimately, the only way to get a marketing campaign running right is to keep working at it.
Identifying the right targeting, messaging and experience takes time. Building a social media following takes time. Figuring out what sort of content your audience wants takes time. Creating and implementing brilliantly creative ideas takes time.
Most businesses can produce great results from almost any online marketing channel…they just have to be willing to put in the time and consistent effort it takes to get those results.
By the way, if you’d like me to take a look at your campaigns and help you decide which channels deserve a little more time and consistency, let me know here or in the comments. I’d love to help!
How have you seen consistency improve marketing performance?