You’ve created a great website. You’re knocking your pipes out every day with posts on several social media accounts. You’re blogging. You’ve done some podcasts. You do an email newsletter Maybe you’ve even flirted a little with video on YouTube or Vimeo.
But despite all that effort, you’re still not getting the engagement or interaction that you wanted. And worst of all, it doesn’t seem to be making any real impact on your sales. So what’s the problem?
We’ve forgotten how to hustle
I think (and it is just my personal opinion) that we’ve forgotten how to hustle. We’ve been sold the notion (admittedly by people in my line of work), that all we have to do to grow our businesses is automate a series of digital marketing processes, and hey presto, untold riches will land at your door.
Digital marketing is fantastic, but it’s only part of the story
We can’t just sit behind screens all day long and expect the world to come to us. We need to take action in order to make things happen. For example:
1. Can people find you?
If you want people to visit your website, you need to do at least some SEO activity so people can find it.
2. When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile?
If you want more people to connect with you on linked-in you need to make sure your profile is up to date. Publish your blog posts in there. Add videos, pictures and other media to your profile. I don’t know about you, but I never connect with anyone where there’s no picture or summary information.
3. Actively participate in the conversation
If you want people to engage with your social media content - you have to engage with the content from other people. It’s not a one-way street. Too often people just chuck stuff out via Hootsuite or Buffer and make no effort to comment or like anyone else’s stuff. You can’t have it all ways.
4. Be shameless
If you want people to listen to your podcast, you need to shamelessly flaunt it at every opportunity. I heard a great story the other day about a woman who started a podcast which she published on iTunes, and was desperate to get some more listeners and more reviews. So one lunchtime, she went out to Marks & Spencer and bought a ton of cakes. She then went round everyone in the office where she worked, gave everyone a cake, and asked them to listen to her podcast, and if they liked it to do a review. She also asked them to share it with their family, friends and anyone they knew. It worked, and after a couple of weeks her podcast was featured as a ‘one to watch’ on iTunes, and her audience has grown steadily ever since. That’s top quality hustle!
5. Let everyone know when you're written a new post
Maybe put a link to your latest blog post in the signature of your outgoing email. Post and re-post it on social media to within an inch of its life. You’ve got nothing to lose right?
6. Direct people to your blog articles or other content
Direct people to blog articles on your site whenever you can. If I’m running a workshop, I will often tell people about a post I may have written that answers a question that pops up.
7. Create content based around your most frequently asked questions
Create blog articles based around the most frequently asked questions you get asked by customers. Then direct people there whenever you can.
8. Update your opt-in mechanism
What kind of opt-in mechanism do you have? Nobody signs up for ‘newsletters’ anymore. To persuade someone to give you their email address, you’ve got to offer something that your audience believes to be worth having.
How shameless should you go?
Well, that’s a matter of individual conscience. A couple of years ago I was nominated for a business woman’s award. It was one of those things where the final part of the process was an online vote. I did the usual, 'please vote for me’ social media posts which was ok but not great. So I decided to go on a hustle offensive:
- I wrote an irreverent blog post (I thought it was funny at the time)and posted and shared it everywhere. (If you're curious you can read it here)
- I went to moo.com and had some mini-cards printed up with the URL of the site where you could vote, and then for two months, I went to several networking events and handed them out asking people to vote for me. I did in a light-hearted way, and actually, once I got passed feeling a bit embarrassed, it was fun.
In the end, I didn’t win, and I’m in no way bitter about losing ;) but it did wonders for my marketing in lots of ways:
- My social media followers increased dramatically
- My mailing list subscribers increased by about 20%
- I had fun conversations with other business owners that I would never have had met otherwise
- I got new business out it
My point is this...
Digital marketing is not a holy grail. It’s fantastic, but don’t forget that you still have to interact with people and build relationships. Above all, remember that if you want more sales, you’ve still got to hustle!
That’s it for this week.