There’s no shortage of people touting marketing advice:
“Don’t scrimp on website design”
“Facebook ads are a waste of time”
“Video is the best investment you can make”
“Don’t try and write your own copy – hire a professional”
“You need to post on LinkedIn every day”
“SEO is better than PPC”
“Cold emails are a waste of time – nobody wants to be sold to by strangers”
But before you take any of this advice on board you need to understand where it is coming from.
I’ve seen too many business owners rush headfirst into poor marketing decisions because they took bad advice.
It’s the whole reason I started offering consultations – I wanted to get business owners to take a step back and look at their marketing objectively. To figure out whether the thing they were about to throw all their time and money at would get the results they wanted.
If somebody sells website design, then of course they are going to say you need a website.
They aren’t out to trick you – they’ve just seen the results that their “thing” has generated for other people.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean their thing will work for you. A fantastic website will only generate leads if you get visitors to it.
Every type of marketing works for someone but nothing works for everyone.
Before you hand over your cash to a videographer, copywriter, web designer, SEO expert or social media guru, figure out if their “thing” is going to work for you (more on how to do that shortly).
Advice based on bad experiences
You’ll often hear other business owners say a specific type of marketing is a waste of time or money based on the fact it didn’t work for them.
“I spent £5k on SEO and didn’t get a single new client”
“Used to put a blog post out every month and it was a complete waste of time”
“Nobody on Twitter is interested in doing business – they just want to follow celebrities”
Before you dismiss a marketing activity or channel based purely on someone else’s bad experience, consider why their experience was so bad.
Maybe their SEO efforts didn’t work because they picked the wrong keywords or their ideal clients just don’t search for their services on Google.
Perhaps their blog posts didn’t get any engagement because they weren’t sharing them anywhere or were only sharing once.
They might not have had any enquiries from Twitter because they weren’t building the right audience or engaging with their followers.
There are hundreds of reasons why marketing efforts fail.
- Not clear on who you’re trying to attract
- No clear objective for what you’re trying to achieve
- Not spending long enough on the activity to get results
- No consistency
- Terrible sales copy
- Not getting the content in front of enough people
- Focusing on the wrong thing
- Not measuring the right metrics
- No clear call to action – readers don’t know where to go next
- Broken links
- Confusing messages
I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to other people’s opinions, just that you need to remember their business is not the same as your business. And their marketing might have failed because they didn’t understand what they were trying to achieve.
Advice based on good experiences
In the same way that advice based on bad experiences might not be right for your business, advice based on good experiences might not be right either.
Someone may have had fantastic results from a specific activity, but that doesn’t mean you should throw all your money at it.
There are a hundred reasons why that thing worked for them.
They might have converted 100 new clients off the back of a single email because they had already built a subscriber list of over 20,000 people.
They might have landed a massive deal off the back of a video because they shared it with their 50,000 Facebook followers.
They might have got results from Google ads because their budget was £10k a month while yours is only £100.
Their starting point is not necessarily the same as yours. Plus, they might have a completely different target audience, product or price point to you.
Their business is not the same as your business.
Advice from the wrong people
If you want advice on how to do something, seek out people who have already achieved that thing.
Not well-meaning family or friends who have no marketing or business experiences.
Not other freelancers or business owners who have the same problems as you and no idea how to solve them.
Not self-proclaimed gurus who want to flog you their “secret success formula”.
And take the emotion out of it.
Too many people blindly follow the advice of their favourite influencer or people they like. But just because you like someone doesn’t mean their advice is good. Popularity and success aren’t the same thing. If you’ve tried everything they’ve suggested and still aren’t getting results, it’s ok to try a new approach.
Equally, just because somebody isn’t very popular or you don’t like their personality, or their style or their approach, it doesn’t mean their advice isn’t useful. If they are getting results, maybe they’re saying something worth listening to.
Related article: How not to get ripped off by marketers