Veteran’s Day is often a very special day for me. I love all the free oil changes, meals and haircuts. I also love meeting so many of my fellow veteran’s whom I would have never met otherwise.
As I was waiting for my oil change, I met Jim. He served in the Navy during the same time that I did in the early 90’s and he was wearing a coat that many sailors are issued when the go on six month deployments to the Mediterranean. We called them “Med” cruises.
As we talked about some of our experiences during our time in the Navy he began talking about his business that he started around 2005. It wasn’t so hard to start a business at that time and make money quickly.
In fact, mortgages, car loans, credit cards… all kinds of credit was easy and cheap to get and they were handing it out like candy. Business loans were even easier to get.
So Jim had an idea for a business and took out a $150,000 loan to start his business.
It was going great right up to 2009. So great in fact that he was able to pay off his loan, build the house of his dreams and buy a boat.
However, by 2010 the crippling economy was wreaking havoc with his profits.
At least he thought it was the economy that was the problem.
What Jim didn’t realize was his business model is the type that is not really affected heavily by the economy. In fact, it ought to do even better in down economies.
What was really happening was Jim’s business was being affected by all of the changes to the “marketing” economy and he just didn’t know it.
A Brief Digital Marketing Perspective of Recent History
If you take a stroll back just five years you can see how the marketing world changed overnight. In 2008 every business knew they needed a website. In fact, the marketing of websites was “take your brochure online and get seen by thousands or millions;” or something like that.
But Twitter had just gotten popular in 2009 and by 2010 this new site that you could share pictures and life events with friends was suddenly catching on like wildfire. People were connecting with those they hadn’t seen or heard from in years.
For business, it was easy to get your “stuff” seen on Facebook and take advantage of this up and coming platform.
Facebook was just a baby but it was already revolutionizing the web.
By 2012 Google was changing their search engine and they were starting the process of weeding out bad websites or those websites that were not really relevant or meaningful to their customers. They knew that Facebook was a threat and was causing a disturbance in their business model.
Regarding businesses, during this time businesses had a few options to grow their business:
- Traditional mass marketing like local newspapers, magazines, direct mail, door hangers and flyers, radio, TV and local sponsorships of events or non-profits; just to name a few.
- Online – Organic search engine optimization, pay-per-click on a search engine, marketing of forums and early social media adoption of Twitter and Facebook.
Where are We Today?
Today, the options have grown massively and the resources needed to pull them off have grown. The digital marketing arena has exploded.
Just consider the following as only a few examples:
#1 – A few years ago no one had heard of a tablet. Now, tablets such as iPads, Android tablets, and Kindle tablets are more numerous than traditional pc’s. And, with the new devices like the iPad Air 2, the newest iPad Pro being released this week, and the Microsoft Surface Pro lines I can take my office with me anywhere, anytime and easier, faster, and more powerful than any time in history.
#2 – Mobile phones are becoming more and more powerful and capable. My iPhone 6s shoots video in stunning 4K and with its additional photo capabilities and I have the ability to edit and save videos and pictures on my phone faster and simpler than ever.
In addition, mobile apps are taking advantage of the technology and connecting devices with ease. For example, I started writing this article on Friday on my laptop via Microsoft 365 Office. Over the weekend I worked on it through both my tablet and phone and I’m finishing it on my laptop. Efficiency is easier and better than ever before!!!!
Plus, many of the apps are now so powerful that virtually any standard business application can be done on these powerful devices.
I can access blogs, data, phone numbers and addresses of businesses and get directions on my phone at the touch of a screen easier than ever before.
But, I can also create my videos right on these devices, upload them straight to YouTube with ease. I can “talk” my blog articles instead of write them as I shared in this article last week titled “Want to Learn a New Way to Blog Faster, More Efficiently and More Profitably?”
I can upload my articles straight from my mobile devices to my blog and its’ so simple to do.
There is technology coming that will make it even simpler than it is today, but I’m not going to get into all of that today.
#3 – Social Media has Improved. In the past, I had to write articles and social posts knowing they would only apply to a few of my friends and followers on social media. Now, for a small fee, I can target highly specific audiences with my content and earn new readers, followers, prospects, customers and partners who actually want my content.
Everything has a cost and “FREE” is not always free. How much more work, time and energy is required to reach audiences? Time equals money so if you have some financial resources you can invest through these tools to increase your efficiency, productivity and profits.
If this is True, Why is Digital Marketing Easier and Harder?
Well, I just explained “some” of the easier. Creating has never been easier to do.
However, with simple comes complex.
Complex comes in the forms of options and as we all know too many options can leave us feeling paralyzed.
Here are some direct and subtle questions over the years I have been asked by people in virtually every industry or business type (it’s by no means exhaustive):
- Why is Google penalizing me? They are hurting my business and I didn’t do anything wrong?
- Facebook wants me to pay for what they used to give me for free, how am I supposed to grow my business if they want to blow up my budget?
- What do you mean I have to give more content away? I already have no idea what to write about and I don’t have the time for this?
- My pay-per-click ads used to be simple to run and profitable to post but over the last few years they have worked less-and-less and become less profitable. Why?
- I don’t understand why I have to blog? I don’t want to waste my time doing that when I have more important things to do?
- What is a landing page and call-to-action? I hear these terms but they just leave more confused.
I could go on-and-on but I won’t.
As I was waiting for my oil change, Jim shared that he feels completely lost and yet he keeps himself informed. He reads articles and watches videos from reputable sites about search engines and social media and each week he feels that it’s getting more and more complex and that it requires more and more of his time to follow through with what he is learning.
Hubspot recently put together some interesting stats that are highly practical about what is happening in digital marketing. Here are a few examples from the article that hit home for me:
- On average, companies respond to only 30% of social media fans’ feedback. (My note – that is TERRIBLE! Why even bother with “social” media?)
- The average tablet user spends 13.9 hours per week with the device.
- By 2016, more than half of the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web.
Be sure to check out the article and let me know in the comments which ones impressed you the most.
The reality is that technology is getting easier to use. But that creates options and options create complexity.
Why Do Options Make Digital Marketing More Complex?
Let me offer a few practical examples as to why options create complexity:
- You have to make sure you either know how to code a site right for multiple browsers, tablets and smartphones or hire the right web designer or developer to help you (P.S. If you need help finding a great web designer contact me, I know a few who are amazing).
- More people are online than ever and that means if you’re going to be efficient and profitable you have to know your audience and where they are hanging out online or you will waste time, energy and money trying to connect with people who are not where you are at.
- Search engines are changing and you are vulnerable to them.
- Social Media is changing and you are vulnerable to them.
- You have to keep up with daily, weekly and monthly changes that could set you back if you don’t.
How Can You Reduce Complexity and Increase Simplicity?
History is full of change. Just think about it; the printing press, trains, cars, planes, computers, space exploration, robotics, mobile phones, tablets, and now artificial intelligence.
Change is happening at the fastest pace in human history.
But there are things you can do.
The most important thing you can do is step back and focus on the foundation of your business by getting your message down.
Here is a secret – did you know your biggest challenge is not technology? That sounds counterintuitive to everything we’ve talked about to this point.
But it’s true!
According to the 2015 B2B Web Usability Report, nearly 50% of people said they leave a website immediately due to a lack of a message.
In October 2015, IBM came out with a study where nearly 80 percent of consumers stated that the average brand doesn’t understand them as an individual.
Today, the web has opened an opportunity to attract our audiences, prospects and customers.
What is a search engine ultimately looking for and how do they connect a searcher with content? How about social media? Why do people click through to your website or blog article?
How about other bloggers? Do they have a reason to engage with you, share your content or include you in their blogs?
Because you have a specific message that relates specifically to what people need, want or desire and you communicate it in a way that is relevant, meaningful, helpful and inspiring to those the content is intended for; you can have opportunities that most do not because they don’t have a message.
The complexity of technology is that is forcing us to be very clear about our business and who our business is for; – the complexity is forcing us back to simplicity.
Here is the really cool part; your message is the driver of your business and the technology you will use to deliver that message.
When you know the “specific” problems you solve and who you solve them for it dictates what you will do and what you won’t do.
I call this the process of gaining clarity.
Clarity creates simplicity, vision and direction
When you are clear you can create strategies on purpose, instead of on hope, because you know things you did not before.
When you have clarity you open up the web to its fullest potential over its minimal hopes.
Beware the Myth That You Can Do This on Your Own.
Over the coming weeks I will be sharing with you some newer clients who have been going through the process of learning what business they are “really” in.
They have been learning:
- The problems they are passionate about solving.
- The tangible values their customers experience and how they feel about that experience.
- The “specific” problems they solve through each tangible value.
- Who they “specifically” solve each problem for.
- How their product or service is “a” part of “a” solution.
Let me share briefly what three current clients have said:
When I read your blog and go through your site this seemed so easy. I thought to myself for some time I could do this on my own. Yet, I’m not getting the results I want in my business. Now that I’m doing it this is HARD! It’s the hardest thing I’ve done for my business and yet I can see the rewards.” ~ Sylviane Nuccio – (www.sylvianenuccio.com)
This was the most mind blowing thing I’ve ever done for my business. It has literally changed the way I see my business, my clients and how to interact with them ~ Kim George (www.small-bizsense.com)
Stay tuned, as they start tweaking their sites over the coming months I’ll have more to share with you about them and their journey’s as well as links.
How do you get back to simplicity and how do you get a powerful, clear and concise message that will give you the focus you need and keep you from chasing shiny objects that are really just distractions?
Check out my “Begin Here” page – I will answer these questions for you there.
Jim is learning that business is complex but complexity is rooted in simplicity. Discover the simple and the complex will go away as clarity provides vision, focus and direction.
If you’re like Jim you have an opportunity to see through the clutter. Digital marketing doesn’t have to be hard.
I want do for you what I did for Jim. I want to offer you a FREE, no obligation 60 minute consultation. If your website, blog, social media, video or any other form of marketing you are doing is not achieving results there is a reason.
Click here or on the image below to schedule your time directly on my calendar. I will email you soon to follow-up with you about our time together. Do it now and let’s chat!
Two Other Quick Things:
#1 – My prayers and support go to out to France and all those affected by the evil acts of terrorism this last Friday.
#2 – My new eBook titled “The 7 Invincible Laws of Business Blogging Success” is now available on Amazon for only .99 cents. This book could be a game changer for you so be sure to get a copy today.
Do you have a comment, thought or would you like to share how you feel about your online experience in marketing? Please leave a comment below and let’s chat.