The Devil in the Marketing Details – Do One Thing Right Before You Try Another

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Marketing is not easy, and online marketing does not necessarily mean that marketing has become easier. Marketing has become more accessible, yes, but easier?Marketing is not easy, and online marketing does not necessarily mean that marketing has become easier. Marketing has become more accessible but also more complicated. Don't try everything at once... #onlinemarketing #digitalmarketing #marketingstrategy #digitalmarketing #smallbusinessmarketing #startupmarketing

As a marketer, I often see other marketers and even more often clients try a lot of different things at once. The process is always the same. They have read or heard about something that sounded clever. (Well, most of the time it probably was clever in its original form). So they think they will try something similar – but then it doesn’t work, at least not at once.

An Example for the Importance of Marketing Details

One example for this is Google Adwords. Adwords allows you to publish your online ads directly on the search results pages of Google – and you can target exactly what people are searching for. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Well, that’s not all. Since you target people by what they are searching for you, have to select the search terms you are looking for. Identifying the search terms that are right for your product can already prove more difficult for your product – but it doesn’t stop there. Your product is not the only product that is being advertised, and the broadest or most fitting search terms are probably being bid on by others as well. That increases the prices. You also need to weigh in several other factors such as whether your landing page fits your selected search term and the conversion rate you can expect.

My guess is that at least 90% of the people who try advertising on Google give up after a few days. Many of those calling Google Adwords a waste of money have simply not worked out how to best make it work for them.

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As with any other online marketing activity (and any other marketing activity in general), Google Adwords has to be set up well for every single campaign, every single product and every single use case. Marketing is not easy – and the reason for no marketing activity being easy is that you are always in competition with others. And whenever you are in a competition you first need to become better than others at what you are doing before you can expect to earn money of it.

The same holds true for Google Adwords – many marketers use Google Ads very (and I do mean VERY) successfully. Ask them whether Adwords is really a waste of money. But depending on your niche Adwords requires a considerable investment of time, money and creative thinking before it can work. It is not set it and forget it. It means set it up, monitor, finetune and maybe start from scratch again… several times.

That does not mean that Google Ads will always work. But before you say that Google Ads won’t work for you, you should know the reasons why it won’t work.

Some More Examples Before We Get to the Actual Problem

I want to give you some more examples of where many dismiss a particular marketing strategy without having enough data to know whether it works or not:

  • Facebook Fanpages: If I had a dime for every time someone told me that Facebook Fanpages don’t work for them. Not enough organic reach? If you reach 10 percent of your Fans every day that is still a lot of reach if played right. No engagement? Engaging your fans is the responsibility of the Fanpage admin, not Facebook’s responsibility or (an even more idiotic assumption…) the responsibility of your fans.
  • Facebook Ads: Today a client told me that he was against using Facebook ads – because “everyone knows that you only reach fake people in India”. Before anyone comments on this – this is not the client’s fault but the fault of the viral video called “Facebook Fraud” which was released last year (I won’t link to it again). The problem exists, yes – but that doesn’t mean you cannot use Facebook ads successfully. Read one of Jon Loomer’s articles on the topic – don’t take my word for it. You just need to invest some brains.
  • Guest Blogging… No one wants to publish your posts? Maybe your posts aren’t good enough – or you simply didn’t catch the bloggers attention with your email. I have even read a comment on another blog once that guest blogging didn’t work for a specific blogger because “no one asked him to write.” Really? Why not reach out to others yourself? Facepalm!
  • Content Marketing: Did you know there are 1000s of people that are telling others that content marketing is a thing of the past because they didn’t get new clients after publishing their first and only ever guest blog post?

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The Real Problem: Expecting Marketing to Come with a Red Button

Now let’s get to the real problem, and I admit that I’m part of it.

People like me sell that we know how marketing works (and we do! 😉 ). We write about marketing. We publish our general knowledge. We publish posts like How I tripled my subscriber rate in 10 days. Or: How I used Google Adsense to sell 1000 copies of my email course in 30 days.

(Warning: I made these titles up for this post. But Google them – I am sure that you will find posts that have exactly these titles – or, at least, close to these titles.)

These posts are not lying – at least not the ones that I wrote. But they are omitting certain facts – namely the experience that we gained by doing what we are doing for years. We were only able to work out how to play Google Adwords for our specific case because we had years of experience. We didn’t sell those thousand copies in 30 days; we sold them within a couple of years – which were part of the preparation period.

We write these posts for two reasons – the first reason being to raise attention to ourselves. That is our job and that is what we do. The second reason is to make marketing appear like it can simply be switched on with the press of a button. The message we sell is: Hire us, and all of a sudden your marketing will boast your sales through the roof.

Honestly, the truth is, that while the post may not be exactly a lie, the marketing message is a lie.

Marketing means frustration (1)When we talk about tripling subscriber rates in 10 days, we talk about tripling the subscriber rate of a site we’ve been working on for years. It took us three years to work out a problem that was limiting our subscriber rates to a third of what would have been possible. And after we worked out what the problem was, it took us ten days to fix it.

That is the reality of marketing. Whatever we like to tell you – marketing never comes with a red button. 90% of the time marketing means: Work… Frustration… Small Improvements. Working out the little details. Improving little things to improve our results just a little bit. Good results take a lot of sweat and tears.

Working on the Marketing Details – Do or Do Not…

In the words of Yoda…

Coming back to the introductory paragraph: The key to marketing success is to work on the details. And that means you need to do one thing right before you can move on to the next. You need to work on the details.

Here is another example:

I have had clients who expected me to work on a social media strategy for several social networks at once. There reasoning is simple: If they don’t get good enough results on one network – they can always scale it up by doing more on more networks, right?


When you work in social media marketing you need to work out what the audience you want to reach wants to receive and then work out ways to give it to them. As long as you have no idea on how to do that – you can work on as many networks without getting the results you need or want. So you need to focus on one network and instead work out your value proposition. Not move rapidly from network to network until you find something that somehow magically works.

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Marketing is not easy, and the devil is in the marketing details you need to spend a lot of time on. Marketing has become accessible, yes, but easier?

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