Today’s small and mid-size business owners have flocked to the web looking for a miracle solution to their marketing woes. While digital marketing does, at some level, level the playing field, it’s far from magical. In many industries, seeing results can take months or even years. So, what do you do when you do not see the results you want?
Marketing is all about creating a connection. If you can clearly and efficiently tell your brand’s story, you will have a greater likelihood that others will be drawn to you. Marketing isn’t a department or a set of tactics. It starts at the core of the business and moves outward to the world. Marketing tells others what you do and why you do it.
In the past, many marketing channels were just too expensive for smaller organizations to access. The internet changed that game. For the first time, millions of businesses could tell their story to the world at a very low cost. Today, having a digital presence is essential to nearly every business.
One of the many promises of digital marketing is the ability to drive fast results and prove ROI. While this is true in many cases, it’s really not that easy to claim. With billions of people online all trying to be heard, the internet is a very noisy place. Just subscribing to a set of tactics or purchasing some inbound software won’t necessarily translate into results.
Below are three recommendations I can give you if you’re currently stuck.
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Just Keep Chuggin’
One of the main reasons people never see results from their online marketing is that they quit too soon. It can be hard to keep going when you don’t see the results you expected. This is why setting the right expectations and defining your KPIs is so important.
For the most part, it takes, on average, three to six months to see the needle move. But in some industries, it can take more than a year to see the payoff. Let me explain.
In 2015 I rebranded my agency and made it my full-time business. I knew that I needed to do a better job of marketing myself. I made a commitment to write and post content three times a week, build links, and make lead generation a priority. While each month, I did see my numbers improve and had more engagement, I still didn’t see the revenue growth I anticipated.
There were a number of times when I wanted to quit. Let’s be honest; marketing takes hard work. I spent many late nights and early mornings writing, posting, engaging, and tweaking my work. After 13 months, I was paid back. My site now generates quality leads month after month, and we continue to grow our reach and community. If I would have quit 6-months in, I would probably not be writing this post today.
The reason I was able to keep going was that I used a data-driven approach. I defined my KPIs and knew what to look for. The data helped me stay the course because it showed I was headed in the right direction.
Try Something New
Sometimes you just need to know when to quit. That’s a hard thing to realize, but it’s true. Making a pivot could be the difference between having long-term success or downright failure. Forcing a tactic like PPC or click funnels could cost you money and return little or no results.
So how do you know when to pivot? Again, this is where knowing what you are tracking and what success and progress look like are important. If you are running a PPC campaign and see no clicks and no conversions, you may need to revise your ads. If you see that you’ve had little results over six months, then it may be time to pivot.
The same goes for any other tactic. If you don’t see progress, you may need to stop what you are doing and reset. Don’t see a reset as giving up or quitting. Remember, you have the data to show what isn’t working and why. Now you know. Use that knowledge to inform your next move so that you can get results.
A Blended Approach
So what if you have mixed results? I see this all the time. We work with a client and notice that social is going great, but our SEO is behind. Or that search visibility is great, but we aren’t getting the clicks we want.
When you find yourself in one of these situations, again, look at the data. See what is working and do more of that. Uncover what is not working and find out why then try to fix it.
Marketing is not an exact science. Run small experiments and track your results. Then apply what you’ve learned to your campaign as a whole.
Putting in the work and not getting a return right away is hard. Especially in today’s world when it seems like every week, a new “overnight success” is being celebrated in the media. The key is to set realistic expectations and know what your goals are. None of the great successes ever happened overnight. They all were the result of hard work, pushing past excuses, making pivots, and not being afraid to fail. If you find yourself wondering why you’re not getting results, I encourage you to keep doing the work that matters.