Why Your Online Marketing Is Failing

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This is week eighteen of a series where I'll be sharing a chapter from my book (Stop Selling Start Helping) each week. If you missed the previous weeks, click here to view all chapters. To learn more about Stop Selling Start Helping, click here.

CH 18 Why Your Online Marketing Is Failing

Are you frustrated because your online marketing efforts don’t seem to be producing results? Are you putting in the time and effort, but your website still isn’t generating quality leads?

Well, I’m going to share with you seven reasons why your online marketing is failing...

1. It’s all about you.

Think about the last time you visited a website. Were you excited to see a photo of the office building on the home page? Did you love all the “we” statements you noticed as you read through the text:

  • “We’ve been around for 47 years.”
  • “We manufacture ABC widgets.”
  • “We offer the highest quality products.”
  • “We help organizations solve problems.”
  • “We are experts in XYZ.”
  • “We...we...we...we...we!”

I’m guessing the answer is, NO, those things didn’t jump out to you as helpful. Think about that for your online marketing, as well. Is it all about you and your company and your products or services? How many “we” statements do you see on your home page, in your email newsletter, or in your blog?

I’ve said this already, but I’ll say it again, people are selfish. They don’t care about your company – or even your product; they want to know if you can help them. Will your product solve their problem? Can they trust you with their money? Will visiting your website get them closer to resolving their current challenge?

Helpful tip:

Ask yourself this one question – When people visit our website, do we solve their problems better than anyone else in the world? (See Chapter 9)

2. You’re not talking to the right person.

Who is your best customer? I’m talking about the ONE, ideal customer – the one that if you had 10 or 100 of her, you’d be enjoying life, making more money than you need, and providing the perfect solution that meets and exceeds expectations for her every single time.

Does your online marketing “speak” to this person?

Well-known marketing expert, Andrew Davis, says “You can’t be everything to everyone; but you can be something to someone.”

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Confession time: We struggle a lot with this one! Most companies do. But, it’s 100 percent true – you can get rich when you target a niche.

Helpful tip:

Define your ideal customer. Check out this article from Content Marketing Institute for help.

3. You’re not in the right place.

Are you marketing on Facebook? Do you have an Instagram account? How about LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumbler, or YouTube? Are you sending out emails? Do you produce e-books or infographics?

None of these is right. And none is wrong, either. Just because a channel exists doesn’t mean you need to be there.

The question to ask is, “Where does our audience get its content? And, in what format do our customers/prospects consume that content?”

I could share a thousand different examples to make this clear, but I won’t do that. I’ll simply say this: Your specific audience absolutely has a preference when it comes to its choice of online channels and types of content it will engage with. Find out what those are and make sure you’re there.

Helpful tip:

Do the research. As with the buyer persona article referenced above, you need to learn WHERE your customers hang out and HOW to use that platform to reach them.

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4. There’s nothing interesting, entertaining or educational.

Do your blog titles grab attention? Does your website make people want to stick around? When someone leaves your site, are they feeling good about what they just read, saw, heard, or experienced?

One of the questions we ask during the content marketing planning process is, “How can I create interesting yet consistent content that will attract new customers and retain old ones?”

The key here is “interesting” and “consistent.”

Every piece of content in your online marketing program must be interesting and consistent; otherwise, no one will care, no one will share, and no one will buy.

Helpful tip:

Consider these 100 blogging ideas from Chris Brogan. They are creative and thought provoking – both for yourself and your customers/prospects.

5. You’re only concerned with selling stuff.

In general, people don’t want to be sold; they want to be helped. There’s a reason you avoid “that guy” at the Chamber meetings, ignore that “unknown” number coming through on your phone, or tell the salesperson at the clothing store, “I’m just looking.”

We want to make educated buying decisions and feel like we did the right thing. When you help your prospects, instead of focusing on selling something to them, everyone wins. Your prospect understands better. You build credibility with her. Whether she buys right now isn’t the real bottom line. If she feels helped, she’ll remember that; she’ll tell someone about it; and, at some point, she’s likely to buy something if it’s truly what she needs/wants.

Helpful tip:

Review your content – your website, your email newsletter, your blog, your product information. Is it helpful? Or are you just selling?

6. Your website sucks.

When it comes to success or failure in online marketing, often it comes down to your website. I wrote a blog about this one – “14 Reasons Your Website Probably Sucks.”

Helpful tip:

Check out that link above. Read it and act on it!

7. There’s no call-to-action.

#2 on that list of reasons your site sucks is, “Your website has NO call-to-action.” Yes, it’s a specific reason your website might suck; but it’s also worth mentioning in more detail here.

What specific action do you want your website visitors to take? Do you have one? Do you have too many? This one pulls together many of the others in this list: the right audience, the right platform, educational/helpful content. If all these things are in place, but there’s no clear action to be taken, then all the other efforts are useless.

Once a visitor lands on your website, why should she stay? You’ve got about 10 seconds to give her a good reason to stick around! If you’re not 100% clear on WHY she should pay attention, she is 100% likely to click away to find another website/business that is. Visitors need to know right away what it is you do and how you can help them.

Helpful tip:

Often times, marketers will put more focus on being clever than clear. Be crystal clear about what offer is in your CTA. And be specific.

If you’re giving away a free guide, say “Download our FREE guide to X.” If you’re hosting a free webinar, say “Register for our FREE webinar on X.” X should clearly convey a compelling benefit of receiving the offer. This is much more effective than “Download Now” or “Get a Free Article.” These simply aren’t specific enough.

So, what are you going to do about it?

If your online marketing isn’t producing the results you expected, hopefully these seven points will help you re-evaluate your online marketing activities and re-energize you and your team to keep at it, but with a more targeted effort.

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