“It was a really cool place to hang out until everyone else started going there.” This is a common complaint among hipsters. Marketers share their frustration; that is, if you replace the word “cool” with the word “profitable.”
A great marketing channel can lose its luster over time. New advertisers take attention away from your message. Rising costs make the investment less lucrative. Regular users get bored and move on to greener pastures. To keep your marketing activities profitable, you sometimes have to do the same.
Fortunately, new advertising opportunities are popping up all the time. They won’t all be winners in the long run, but the only way to find the good bets is to keep an eye out for them. Here are some things you can do to find new marketing channels and freshen up your marketing mix.
Follow the Followers
The Internet is so vast that no one can scan it all. A good web tracker tool can tell you how visitors come to your site, but you’ll also want to know where else they go when they leave. Your visitors may be visiting sites you don’t even know about yet, so put a program in place to track their behavior when they’re not visiting you.
Since current technology only goes so far, you might need to scan for this information the old-fashioned way. If visitors post links, check those sites. Find out who they’re liking and following. Look at their photos on Pinterest and Instagram. It’s an imperfect process at best, but you’ll get at least a general idea of where to go, especially if you follow your most active visitors.
Check Content Sources
Most new websites already have a content-marketing plan in place, which means they’ve already optimized their blogs and videos for key searches (at least, if they’ve done it right). The next time you’re searching for new content, check the source of your favorite selections and add those sites to your list of potential new channels.
To speed up the process, focus on the sources that post good content consistently. Start linking this content from your website, and over time you may be able to ask the site to return the favor. Also, measure the click rates on these links. Sites that attract a lot of your visitors could be fertile ground for new prospects.
Read the News
To do your job right, you have to know what’s going on in the world, and what new trends and innovations are coming down the road. The media is a great place to discover both. Check a mix of newspapers, general-interest sites and industry publications to discover new trends, new players and new marketing opportunities.
Do what you normally do – scan the headlines and stop when something catches your eye. The only difference is you’re scanning with a different purpose. Instead of just finding out what’s new, analyze each story to determine if the change will impact your marketing strategy. If this takes too long, sign up for RSS feeds and have the headlines sent to you.
Just Start Looking
Have you ever had a free moment and started browsing for everything that popped into your head? For some, this is a way to kill time. For others, it’s a quick way to answer a nagging question. For you, it can be a way to stumble upon a new marketing channel.
Take an hour or so each day to search on anything, no matter how silly or senseless. If you want, you can start with a free-write. Jot down every thought that goes through your head and then search whatever you wrote. Some searches won’t amount to much, but on other days you’ll find something that spurs a content idea, which could turn into a link-building opportunity.
No marketing plan stays profitable forever. Don’t just sit back and enjoy great results; keep looking for new marketing channels and build a marketing strategy that doesn’t get old.