The parable of the wise and foolish builder:
The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn't fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn't do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. Matthew 7:24-27
Respected colleague and good friend Lee Odden tweeted this week:
— Lee Odden (@leeodden) May 4, 2018
I'm a huge fan of Dennis as well, but I had to take exception to the notion that marketers should somehow abandon their sites and simply work through third party sites to engage and convert customers. I disagreed and Dennis calmed me down…
Guess what? You still have to get people to your website. Email, SEO, ads– all depend on someone else. https://t.co/srlq64QR29
— Dennis Yu (@dennisyu) May 4, 2018
Whew. I believe this tweet all came down to perception and context. As a business buyer or consumer, of course my website has never been the center of their universe. But it is the center of my universe. The fact is that your perspective customers have a life on the web that may or may not include engagement with your brand. That makes your job difficult since it requires that you find them, figure out what interests them, and engage them in a manner that brings them to you.
Mack Collier recently shared:
I think blogs are having a bit of a renaissance, as users worry about privacy issues on Facebook and Twitter, and brands struggle to get organic reach, I believe blogs are more valuable than ever, you OWN the platform, not the case with social media sites #blogchat
— Mack Collier (@MackCollier) May 7, 2018
I'm in total agreement. Businesses and consumers alike are seeking out fresh, relevant, entertaining, and informative content more than ever before. This publication continues to grow its reach and engagement… and I wrote a single blog post in the last two weeks! Why? Because readers see that I'm both passionate, knowledgeable, and trusted. Unlike a clickbait Facebook Ad, I've built a reputation with you – my readers – and you continue to share and react.
If you're not getting the results that you're seeking from the center of your universe, I'd encourage you to listen to a recent Side Hustle Show: SEO for Bloggers: The Simple Way to Get More Free Traffic from Google. Matt Giovanisci shares the secret that I've been shouting about for years… produce better content than your competitors and you'll win search and social. While that's marked as simple, it does take a ton of work to produce the best articles on the web. But it's rarely impossible!
Your Universe or Theirs?
Are you able to freely contact perspective buyers that have shown interest in your products and services where you are marketing to them?
If you're utilizing Facebook Ads or other platforms where you don't have an email address, ability to directly message, or a phone number… you don't have that prospect. They're outside of your universe. A follower on Facebook isn't your prospect, it's Facebook's prospect. In order to speak to them, you have to pay a fee to Facebook. And, Facebook not only restricts how you might speak to them, when you might speak to them, and dictates the price to speak to them… they can also remove the ability altogether. The Facebook house is built on sand.
That, of course, doesn't preclude that I fully leverage Facebook as a marketing channel. I do. However, my expectation for success and a return on investment is that I drive that consumer or perspective buyer to my site where I can capture their contact information, continue the dialogue, or even have them convert… away from Facebook. When I have their contact information is when they're an actual prospect.
Outside of these resources owning your prospect, there's another limitation. When you run out of money, you run out of leads. When I invest in incredible content on my site, I continue to drive leads. In fact, the article I wrote on How an API works is over a decade old and still drives a thousand visits a month! Why? I provide great detail and even a third-party video that helps to explain the concept.
Here's some homework for you… use a tool like Semrush and identify an article on a competitor site that's ranking well or one on your own site that isn't ranking well. What can you do to improve it? Are there images, a diagram, or a video you can add to explain it better? Are there primary or secondary data available on the web that supports your explanation or theory?
Challenge yourself to write an amazing article… almost a mini-book. Include a background, sections with headers, and illustrate your article better than any of the competitors. At the end of the article, include a great call-to-action that entices the reader to discuss the issue with you further or to promote your products or services. Now republish the article with today's date on it. Promote the article every month via social channels… and watch it blossom.