“It’s impossible to get more than one download of our eBook each day.”
“I don’t believe it’s possible to make money using Adwords.”
“Twitter doesn’t work for us.”
All sentences I’ve heard recently.
What those people actually meant, of course, was “We haven’t managed to” or “We don’t know how to” – not “It’s impossible”.
But sometimes it’s very hard to tell the difference….
…Which is a problem when you need to decide where to invest your time, money and energy.
You see, if an online marketing tactic really isn’t working for you, the best thing to do is often to drop it. You need to spend your valuable resources on things that do work and that will make a significant difference to your bottom line.
In Seth Godin’s short book on failure, The Dip, he argues that being savvy enough to know when to quit is the hallmark of companies that ultimately dominate their niches, because they don’t get bogged down in failure. Many are serial “quitters”; they flit from one tactic to another until they find the one that really works.
But sometimes the marketing tactics aren’t the problem – it’s your own knowledge and skills.
So how can you tell which activities really are a dead-end, and which are worth putting a lot more time and effort into?
How do you stop yourself quitting marketing activities that could have made your business thrive, if only you’d mastered them?
Here are three questions you should ask yourself, before you quit.
If I mastered this tactic, what would the rewards be?
Sure, you can spend a year learning how to build up your Twitter following, or use Adwords to drive more traffic to your offer.
But would it make a fundamental difference to your business?
If you were successful with these tactics beyond your wildest dreams, would you emerge as a leader in your market? Win new customers? Be much closer to hitting your revenue goals?
There is no right or wrong answer – it depends entirely on your business, competition and aims.
But if the answer is “no, this is not a game-changer for me,” drop it and spend your time concentrating on activities that are going to give you the biggest reward if you get them right.
Is this tactic distracting me from something more worthwhile?
Sometimes we know that there is a better way for us to promote our business, but can’t take it on because we don’t have the bandwidth right now…
Perhaps, for example, you already realise that a sales funnel is what you really need – but your marketing staff are already stretched to the max, building a “nice to have” Instagram page.
Or perhaps your team is so busy learning how to work your expensive marketing automation system that they don’t have time to do what really matters – write powerful marketing material to automate.
Get your priorities right! Don’t stick with marketing activities which produce average or mediocre results, when you know that there is a better way to market your business.
Yes, it is difficult to give up on a project you have already invested in – but learning to do so, when it makes sense, is precisely what will keep you moving forward.
Have I really done everything I can to succeed with my current approach?
The company I referred to at the beginning of the email, who claimed it was too difficult to build up a Twitter following? They were tweeting once a day. (Just to be really clear, that is Not. Enough. To. Make. An. Impact.)
Others give up on landing pages without ever testing them.
Yet others never really invest enough in their advertising to generate the traffic they need.
In short, they dabble, and then when they don’t see results, they move on to something else.
Now, if something better really has come along, or if you’ve decided that it’s not worth your while doing, then fine (see above). But to give up on a perfectly good tactic without really putting everything into it?
To really push your business forward, you will have to excel at some form of marketing.
The only way to do that is to put in major time and effort.
You will encounter serious obstacles…. You will get frustrated…. It may look hopeless for a while….
And most of your competition will quit at that point.
But – as Godin notes – if you are pursuing the right tactic, the companies that work through the difficulties are those that move ahead of the pack.
Make that you!