As a brand owner, you’ve probably met your fair share of overenthusiastic marketers. You know; the kind that promises you’re going to be a social media star in just six months. With the plethora of optimism spilling over every time they talk, it’s hard not to share the same excitement. However, the state of digital marketing right now has proven that, if anything, this kind of policy in an internet marketing company can actually ruin your marketing strategy.
You don’t need an internet marketer that sugarcoats the situation. If you want to actually achieve results, you need honesty. Here are some hard truths about the state of internet marketing—truths some internet marketing companies refuse to tell their clients.
Mass Marketing Doesn’t Work Anymore
The days of generic radio ads, newspaper coupons, and made-for-the-masses TV adverts are over.
Yes, companies will still spend millions on a super bowl commercial and they can drop the occasional investment in a magazine page for product placement, but these methods are tired and overused. The brightest minds have come up with online streaming and ad blockers specifically to eliminate these marketing attempts in their lives.
Think you’re safe because you’re doing online mass marketing?
Advertising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram cost a pretty penny, and they are not 100% guaranteed. If you decide to go full ham and advertise on all social media platforms—i.e., YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc.—then you’re doing the online marketing equivalent of throwing a commercial up on television and hoping the right people will catch it.
Mass marketing on multiple platforms is generalized, impersonal, and not as effective as it used to be. Nowadays, people put so much weight into personalization. They don’t like knowing they’re “just a consumer” to you.
Of course most marketing companies would encourage you to purchase marketable content and strategies for as many channels as possible. And, to be fair, cross-platform marketing is smart and, in certain circumstances, can yield incredible benefits.
But if your audience isn’t on YouTube or Snapchat, why even bother advertising on these platforms in the first place?
The best thing to do is to run marketing analytics and find out where your target market is hanging out. Are they 40-somethings spending most of their days on Facebook and YouTube, sharing pictures of their kids and watching how-to videos? Or are they edgy millennials tweeting up a storm on Twitter? Whatever the case may be, you want to stay in—and focus on—the same social sphere they’re in. That means building your entire strategy to suit the platforms they’re on, in regards to what they want.
To sum up the previous five paragraphs, personalization matters. Generalization breeds curiosity, but personalization breeds long-term loyalty. A good internet marketing company would recommend you stick to a highly specific niche, which will ultimately allow you to deeply connect to a smaller segment of your fans.
Formulas Fail. ALL the Time
Cat’s climbing out of the bag now, but there’s no helping it.
Marketing is as cutthroat an industry as it gets, and internet marketing is no different. People are as finicky as they are savvy, and what grabbed their attention—and their wallets—last year will almost definitely not work this year.
People ultimately want value, whether it’s informative or entertaining. If it’s outdated or irrelevant, they immediately search for something better.
We’ve reached that point in internet marketing where every consumer knows our formulas. They know what we’re going to do, when we’re going to do it. They know all the subtly hidden sales pitches, the exact email they’re going to get once they opt in, and that the “how-to” guides we give them for free really only solve a portion of the problem.
How? Because they’ve been bingeing on content marketing mediums for so long.
Way back when, when the formula was still new, leads probably signed up for every mailing list, opted in to every free whitepaper offer, and maybe even attended all the twice-monthly webinars. The value they got from these pieces was fresh, and it kept them coming back for more.
Unfortunately, by coming back for more, they’ve begun to see the pattern. They’ve begun to predict the email flow, the Facebook posts, and the free events they’re going to get invited to until they actually buy something. And they’ve now taken steps specifically to prevent it—giving their non-primary email, for instance, or turning off notifications from a specific page.
People aren’t as naïve as we’d like them to be. Once they’ve figured out your internet marketing formula, it stops working as well as it used to. And when that happens, it’s time to wad up the old strategy and try to think of something new.
And on that note…
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Another reason generalized marketing doesn’t work as well as most of us would like it to is because not everyone enjoys the same thing, content-wise. Yes, there are a couple mediums that almost anyone can enjoy consuming—such as social media vidlets and internet memes—but different people will have different preferences regarding the content they consume.
The first point of this article was that you can’t just throw your content up on every available platform and expect an influx of hungry consumers. Similarly, you can’t just plug the same kind of content over and over again and expect to hit your business objectives. If you want to generate highly convertible leads, you need to cater to what your audience wants—and not everyone is going to want the same thing.
For example, a lot of people love podcasts. It’s a great way to kill time while doing mundane, can’t-be-skipped activities like commuting to work, getting groceries, or just basically vegging out. They’re the online version of radio talk shows, and they’re just as effective for audience engagement and networking. They also provide excellent value for your existing consumers.
But that, right there, is also the problem. Podcasts only truly work for people who already know your brand. Use them to nurture and strengthen your relationship with your existing consumer base.
If you want to generate more leads or close more sales? Podcasts are actually not the way to go.
(For that matter, neither are “how-to” videos and “how-to” blog articles. These are great for establishing yourself as an industry leader or authority, but they don’t generate a lot of fresh potentials either.)
Some internet marketing companies are, sadly, just after your money. So of course they’re going to encourage you to invest in all the content mediums (videos, social posts, blogs, podcasts, listicles, infographics, etc.) and post them to all the social channels—because that entails purchasing all of their services.
If you’re going to be investing your resources on digital and internet marketing, you might as well invest wisely. Hence, don’t choose a company that is overly optimistic and wants to put you everywhere. Instead, find an internet marketing company that’ll tell what’s what—an internet marketing company that’s going to be straight-up honest with you and tell you, flat-out, “no, that probably won’t work,” or “what are your business objectives? Because this won’t help achieve that.”