Why Doesn’t eMarketing Work?

With so many ways to market your business online why is it that nothing seems to work?  You’ve invested a bunch of time and money only to have a handful of website visitors each month, a mailing list of a couple of hundred people, you’re blog makes you feel like you’re talking to yourself and this “social networking thing” seems like a total waste of time.

eMarketing can and does work.  But there are some common ill informed assumptions about it that can lead you astray.  You also need to make sure you’re putting adequate time and effort in the right areas.

Technology versus People

It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the purpose of eMarketing is to connect with people. This may seem obvious but think about what we pay attention to when it comes to internet marketing: How well does my website rank? What newsletter system should I use? What blogging platform should I use? What social networks should I be on?  All of these questions are about technology; not about people. While these are all valid and important questions, they are the systems we use for communication; they are not communication themselves.  It’s like confusing the telephone with the person on the other end of the phone.  (I’m reminded of the Comcast commercial where the person is saying “But I have Comcast high speed phone service now.” and expecting a different outcome from the conversation.)

We tend to focus on the technology behind marketing instead of the people we are trying to connect with through marketing because we have control over technology.  We assume we can’t control people.  Granted, you can’t make someone buy your product or service but if you show up at the right place at the right time with the right solution, you can entice people to buy your product or service; or at least choose to hear from you again.  When you overly focus on the method of communication, you lose sight of the real goal which is to influence buying decisions.

“If You Build It, They Will Come” Only Happens in the Movies

An analogy I often use about building relationships online is that you wouldn’t go to a networking event, stand in the corner the whole time and afterwards complain about how it didn’t work.  So why are you doing it on the internet?!  Just because you have a website (even if it’s a fantastic website) with a newsletter sign up form, a blog you’ve submitted to all the blog directories, and a social networking profile on all the big social networking sites, doesn’t mean anyone is going to contact you.  You have to go to them!  Sure, you have to “build it” but you also have to start conversations and participate in existing conversations.

To have productive online conversations you have to know where your target markets are hanging out online and then go there.  In order to do this, you have to know your target markets very, very well.  The better you know:

  • their interests
  • their pains and frustrations
  • the issues they care about
  • the experts they pay attention to
  • the organizations they are members of
  • other products and services they buy
  • the websites, blogs, forums and newsletters they read

…the more able you will be to accurately target where you need to be spending your time online.

Product Development Is Not Marketing

A common mistake I see many entrepreneurial minded business owners make is that each time they decide to do something about their lack of sales they create another product. They get a great idea and think “This is the one that’s going make me rich!” (Or famous. Or an expert.) Instead of doing the hard work of selling what they’ve got, they jump right back into the design process and once again they’re in their comfort zone.  They’re happily creating away while avoiding the real problem; selling the products they already have.

There are a couple of reasons why ebooks, teleclasses or seminars don’t sell.  Either there isn’t a market for them or you just don’t know how to sell them.  Either way, jumping into developing a new product isn’t going to help.  If you’re tempted to design your way out of poor sales, slow down and really examine whether or not a new product is going to make a difference.  Do some market research to make sure there aren’t already a dozen similar products out there and that there really is a market for what you want to design.  If you come to the conclusion that you don’t know how to sell what you’ve already got, find someone who does and either do a profit split with them or pay them to teach you how to sell it yourself.

Marketing Gurus Promising Riches Are the Only Ones Getting Rich

The following is an actual ebook title:

How To Make Money With Anything You Choose to Sell On-Line…
Automatically…With a Simple, Proven Strategy!

There are dozens if not hundreds of marketing gurus on the internet promising that if you just buy their “secrets” you will make money in your sleep.  Years ago I bought a few of these books and came to realize they all say the same thing.  They tell you to put up a website, write an obnoxiously long sales page, get some testimonials and run a Google Adwords campaign.

What the “gurus” don’t tell you is that the days of being able to throw up a Google Adwords campaign and expect the money to start rolling in are over!  Sure. There are people who made gobs of money doing it — I even know a few who managed to do it — but even they say it’s not possible anymore.  Once again, the old maxim holds true; if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Selling products and services online is not particularly difficult but it REQUIRES planning and consistent effort. The online marketing gurus will dazzle you with their stories of thousands of dollars worth of product sold in a single week—and it might even be true.  What they don’t tell you is that they were able to do it because they already have a mailing list of tens or hundreds of thousands of people.  When you can get in front of that many people with one email, you’re bound to make money.  If you learn anything from the online marketing gurus it should be: Build your mailing list!

Are You Answering the Door when People Knock?

Business owners hate to hear about this reason for lack of eMarketing results the most.  It shines a light on something they’d rather ignore: Their website doesn’t get the job done.

Your potential clients can find you from many sources: a friend or colleague, a search engine, your blog, a social network, an article you wrote.  But one thing you can be sure of regardless of the referral source is that they are going to check out your website.  Is your website ready?  Does it have the information people will be looking for where they expect to find it?  Most of the time, the answer is “No.”

Many articles have been published about how your website needs to focus on your target markets.  Yet most websites still revolve around “These are our services. This is what we do. This is who we are…”  Why?  Because it’s easy!  Playing with color and logos is fun.  Plus it has the added benefit of making you feel productive.  Clearly defining your target markets, what they are looking for, what site structure will make sense to them and writing copy that connects with them is hard.  It also requires professional help. Help that usually your graphic designer or web designer can’t give you.  Not only do you need a graphic or web designer, you need a copy writer with lots of web experience (preferably in your industry).  Your website will work better if you put more resources to the hard stuff and in the long run will result in more leads and more sales.

So if you think eMarketing doesn’t work, take a look at the assumptions you have about what should work and what you’re putting your effort toward.  A well planned and executed eMarketing campaign WILL result in increased business.

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  • Testimonial

    Elgé Premeau is a wonderful person to work with. First, she has the patience of Job. Second, she is a nice person who makes you feel comfortable to interact with. Third, she will work together with you, to make sure that your tastes and opinions are taken into account. Last but not least, she is talented and she's dedicated to excellence. Not a bad combination, that!

    Media Mavens, President
    Worldlink Media Consultants, Inc.

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