How long is your Internet marketing task list? Have you updated the twitter feed hourly? Have you posted on Google Plus today? Have you sent out the email to a segmented list this week? Have you updated the blog recently? Have you created a new call to action?
The prevailing wisdom in Internet marketing seems to be that one way or another, by performing all of your SEO or internet marketing tasks day in and day out you become efficient at internet marketing, complete all of your tasks, and gain traction with your potential client base.
Except that all too often, you can’t. This is the frustrating experience of far too many internet marketers, who attempt to check off all of their tasks throughout the day: tweets by the hour, Facebook updates throughout the day, weekly emails, blogs every other day – and yet their task list grows like Pinocchio’s nose and they get no traction with potential customers.
You have missed something very important about how true efficiency in Internet marketing works…
You Efficiently Complete Tasks But Are An Inefficient Internet Marketer
You try to be an efficient Internet marketer by performing all of your tasks as quickly as possible while maintaining a high quality. If all of your tasks are done, they took half the time than it previously did to complete them, and the quality is solid than it is safe to say you are efficient on some level. It is likely you use tools to help you move through all of your digital marketing duties and more often than not they do actually cut down on your time and effort cost. Social media tools like Hootsuite help efficiently monitor your social media streams, tools like WordStream help efficiently optimize your PPC campaigns, and tools like Mailchimp or aWeber help speed up your emails campaign tasks. It is true that the more you use specific tools the quicker you perform the necessary actions with them, but it is also true you feel completely overwhelmed throughout the day and feel like no matter how much you do – it is never all done. No matter how many tasks you complete – your list grows longer. The truth is getting more done in a given time period is actually not true efficiency in Internet marketing.
To Become Efficient At Internet Marketing Focus On Results, Rather Than Completed Tasks
A smart marketer looks at efficiency from another angle, with the result first. True efficiency comes from increased results with the same effort, rather than increased task completion from the same effort. It is more efficient to spend extra time to craft that one great email that increases sales than to post 6 times to facebook and 50 times to twitter if that social media doesn’t increase the bottom line. There is no (logical) client or boss that will be mad about increased sales at a loss of tasks.
Disclaimer – Not all bosses or clients are logical
Let the Winning Horse Run
To be viciously efficient in internet marketing find the 1-2 marketing actions that most efficiently create results for you and focus 80% your time and effort on making those 1-2 things the best they can be. Run these channels, keywords, or tactics until you are maxing out their budget, effectiveness and ROI.
I actually stumbled upon this solution to extreme Internet marketing efficiency by accident. At the time I was running a Pay Per Click campaign for a large cell phone case client. In pay per click you pay Google to appear for certain words and phrases that users type in. I was obsessed with appearing for every single possible search query that could possible trigger our ad. I didn’t want to lose one possible click. I bid on cell phone cases, cell phone covers, cell phone holder, etc. Every day I would come in and spend hours researching and adding words to the account, and still the client would call to complain that they didn’t show for some phrase that they typed in. With each new word I added to the account came a whole series of additional tasks. I had to create a new ad, put a new budget against it, continually monitor for negative keywords and about 10 other tasks per keyword! We had a list of about 3,000 words and I was staying at work until about 9pm nightly just to get through my ever-expanding task list. I was frustrated and overwhelmed and inefficient.
My concept of efficiency completely changed when I read a book about the excesses of Wall Street and I came across this quote from a stockbroker:
“When you have a winning horse, let it run”
The stockbroker was referring to buying as much of a few winning stocks as possible and disregarding the budget limitations– but what that meant to me, as an Internet marketer was to find what already produces results for you and to push it to the limit. By pushing the tactics that produces results you spend your time and effort on the winners and each tweak and optimization basically guarantees you help the bottom line. It is highly efficient Internet marketing.
The next day I decided that I was going to implement this new way of thinking about efficient Internet marketing. I went to work and basically put 80% of the budget on the 3 keywords that I knew produced sales, and additionally decided I would focus 80% of my optimization efforts on them. I would no longer spend hours looking for these new keywords. I would spend my time and effort on making sure the words I knew produced results had the best ads and had the most budget allocated to them. I added no new words that and within 9 business days we hit a record! While we had never broken $7,000 in sales – on the 9th business day we broke $20,000 in sales. For the next 3 months I spent the majority of my time only focusing on those keywords. I would exclusively and carefully create ads for those 3-4 keywords, A/B test them and have landing pages creating specifically for them. My time and effort were focused efficiently. By focusing the vast majority of the time and budget on those particular keywords in that particular marketing channelI was able to increase sales dramatically – from around $14,000 per month to over a $1,000,000 a month. I also spent significantly less time on the account and no one complained because the one metric that mattered (sales – while maintaining a high ROI) went up dramatically. The key to my ability to scale up so dramatically was to find the winning keywords and push them to their limits all while not worrying about the tasks I was missing. I let the winning horses run.
How To Find Your Winning Horse
A. Begin with conversions
The first step is to figure out what it is that you want your visitor to do on your site. This is known in Internet marketing as a conversion. Businesses may have different conversions and really a conversion is the one action that you want your user to perform. For example if you are an eCommerce site you want the user to buy your product. For lead generation sites you want your user to fill out a form to become a lead. If you are not sure what you want, then I often recommend starting by building your email list. I cannot even begin to describe how valuable my email list has been for growing our company into the company that it is today. Once you have identified what you want to be your conversion metric….
B. Find Your Channel
I am assuming that you have been tracking your conversions all along using a tool such as Google Analytics or Hubspot. If not, then begin tracking it and come back to this step. What you want to do is analyze your channels and see which channel brings you the most conversions at the least cost of time and effort. By channel I am talking very specific – not just social media but is it facebook or twitter? Have your email campaigns brought in the most leads or sales? This step will take a bit of detective work – and while you are performing it, you will not complete a different task. You may miss your Google Plus post for the day or something along those lines. It is worth it – you are increasing your Internet marketing efficiency.
C. Find Your Specifics Within the Channel
Once you have analyzed and found the channel that works for you, the next step is to do a deep dive into the types of messages that work in the channel. In the example of the cell phone case company, we knew that PPC had the highest ROI of all of our channels but I had to dig deep to find the 3 or 4 keywords that really were providing the results. In the same way you are going to want to take out a spreadsheet and start doing some deep diving. Here are some examples to look at:
- Blogs – What are the types of blogs that are producing conversions? Who are the types of people who convert the most off of your blogs? What are the calls to action that work the best with your blogs? What are the offers that work best with your blogs?
- Emails – What segment of your email list is the most valuable? What types of emails produce the highest ROI? What types of subject lines produce the highest open rate?
- Social media – What types of posts produce the highest ROI? Are they pictures? Are they links back to blogs?
D. Put 80% of Your Effort Into the Right Type and the Right Channel
Once you find the right type and the right channel, put the lion’s share of effort against it. For example lets say that you that blogs in a list form about things to avoid such as “8 warning signs of heart disease” were your most efficient in terms of conversions per effort, than put 80% of your effort into recreating that type of blog. If you normally put out one of those a month – then put out 5 of them and make them the best they can be. Figure out if it is the list type of blog that is producing the results and repeat it. The time that you would normally spend doing other Internet marketing tasks – either drop the tasks or hand them off to an intern. Spend your time making your most effective marketing as optimized as possible.
E. Push it as hard as you can
You know have your type and channel and you are putting in 80% of your effort. What you want to do is push that type and channel as hard as it will go. Here are some examples of how to push your type and channel much farther than you thought possible:
- Blogs – You can buy ads cheaply on sites like facebook and send potential customers to the type of blog that is most effective for you.
- Emails – You can buy PPC ads that are specifically designed to increase your email list. This will build your email-marketing list tremendously.
- Social media – You can buy facebook ads to increase your social media presence.
You want to find the channel and specifics within the channel that are most effective for you. You then want to spend 80% of your effort to make that channel and the specifics the best that it can be. Once you are spending 80% of your time and effort – push that channel hard.
What are your tips for efficient Internet marketing?