Without a doubt, the last fifteen years have brought a whole ocean of change in how organizations market themselves. Websites are a perfect example; best practices in website development and strategy change every few years. Looking at a seven-years-old site is like going back to prehistoric times. The saying “what works today, will not work tomorrow” has never been truer. I would add “what works for you, will not work for everyone else.”
For years, every new social media channel was the shiny object. You would hear, “I built my whole business on Twitter”, and the audience would swoon and everyone would go out and try to do the same. The person failed to share their natural knack for writing short witty statements. By the time others were wondering why it wasn’t working for them, there would be a new social media channel to try.
Facebook and the problem of free
Before Facebook turned into the advertising juggernaut it is today, it was the king of free marketing. About five years ago, I gave a presentation about email marketing to a group of small retail businesses. Afterwards, a person was raving about how their business success was all due to their Facebook business page. They proudly proclaimed it was their sole marketing channel. I had to hold my tongue about the fact that they had no way to communicate with all their fans except through Facebook. My advice is always the same, build your own list. You own it, and you control it. It must have been a shock when Facebook started to reduce access to their Facebook fans unless they paid to “promote” their posts.
What to do in a world of options
I think the single biggest problem organizations have which didn’t exist fifteen years ago, is the sheer amount of options and the trap of doing too much. The reality is that you can’t do too much, and do it well. What I have discovered is following a few basic principles and sticking to them will get results.
One simple metric
The center of your marketing is your house list, and the question is: Is it growing? There is a lot to figure out, but this question provides a very simple metric, and every marketing decision flows out of this. So before you tweet or Instagram anything else, answer this: How will this grow my house list? If it is not, then I would stop doing it until you have your house list in order. The next fifteen years will no doubt continue to offer an ever growing list of options, but if you have a strong house list of people interested in hearing from your organization, you are guaranteed to have a strong list of prospects.
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