The Real Reason Your Digital Marketing Efforts Aren’tWorking, and What to Do About It
When it comes to digital marketing, you can do it all — email, SEO, SEM, marketing automation, social media, content — without seeing any real lead generation or brand awareness building.
Other companies are successful, of course. They’re doing all the same things you are and they’re making a killing at it.
The answer is probably something you intuitively know.
Most digital marketing efforts don’t work until you have an audience.
And by “audience,” I don’t mean that you’ve done a buyer persona exercise and figured out who your ideal customer is.
I mean “audience” as in, a group of people who are actively interested in you and what you have to say.
Without an audience, most digital marketing efforts flop.
You can post a new blog post every day but if nobody is reading them, why bother? Just writing won’t build your audience, not by itself.
You can get real active on Twitter or Instagram, posting your thoughts and pictures endlessly, but if nobody is following you, all that effort is wasted.
You can optimize the ever-loving shit out of your landing pages but if nobody is visiting them, what’s the point?
Without an audience, your digital marketing ROI will be highest from advertising and SEO, but even then, if nobody has heard of you, you’ll pay more to get ad clicks than your more-popular competitors and you’ll be fighting an uphill SEO battle.
So the obvious question is, how do I build an audience?
Clearly it depends on what you do, but here’s the basic gist: find out where your audience is and go there.
Do they attend events? Sponsor them. Fight to be included on panels. Have a booth and give away free shit in return for email addresses.
Do they network? Attend those events. Shake hands. Pass out business cards. Present, if you can.
Do they listen to podcasts? Don’t launch your own podcast — get on the podcasts that already have an audience and plug something free that listeners can get if they join your audience.
Do they read Medium? Write on Medium and use tags intelligently, but also fight to be included in publications that your audience already reads.
Do they use social media? Find the influencers who have the audience you want and pay for sponsored posts that drive traffic to places where people can join your audience.
The point is, your audience is already an audience somewhere. The best thing you can do is poach it. If you start doing digital marketing beforehand, you’re trying to reinvent the wheel and grow an audience organically. Why? Other people have already done that hard work for you. Find or make opportunities to get in front of their audiences and convert them to yours.