The “level playing field” we enjoyed online from the early 2000s now looks a lot more like broadcast media from the late 1980s. Let’s talk about what it’s going to take for your business to thrive.
If you’ve been coasting on waves of “free” traffic from organic search and social media, get ready to climb some familiar hills over the next few years.
Breaking through media static and getting your message to your ideal audience will take a lot more than being the first to claim a hot organic search term. Google’s claiming more of their on-page real estate for themselves, Facebook’s turning their platform into a walled garden, and audiences have started to realize that advertising-reliant publishers aren’t always the best sources of information.
1. What you can do right now to reclaim your “owned media.”
You’d never build a house on someone else’s land. Yet, in all the hype around platform-based businesses and hyper-optimized landing pages, it’s easy to overlook a crucial fact: one tweak to an algorithm, one shifted opinion in a boardroom, or one technical mishap can take all that traffic away overnight.
Just look at what’s going on over at YouTube, where some of the platform’s most successful personalities are burning out—in public—while trying to stay in sync with a constantly evolving recommendation engine. A moderator at Instagram could delete your account, with no warning. Facebook’s already riled up nearly every publisher with a “news feed” recipe that makes it nearly impossible to reach audience members that asked to see your updates. (Unless you pay to boost posts, that is.)
It’s time to take back your “owned media,” especially your brand’s website. If you decamped from updating your site to focus on social media platforms because you thought they were “easier,” we’ll show you how we teach our clients to build and manage sites that practically run on auto-pilot.
2. How you can leverage PR and advertising to reach the right audience.
If you’ve been relying on organic traffic to fuel your business growth because you hate spending money on ads and you hate reaching out into your community, we’ve got bad news for you. Search engine results favor brands with big budgets, and social media prefers conversations among users (all the better to make space for paid ads).
Now the good news: even if you’re only planning to spend a fraction of your budget on advertising or public relations, you’ll enjoy a huge head start compared to competitors who still want to try to build an audience on organic reach alone. We’ll show you what we’ve learned about maximizing reach and conversion rates by targeting niche audiences, using techniques that even a bootstrapped family business can afford.
3. How to re-engage and rev up your direct mail list.
If you’re fortunate to enjoy a daily flood of visitors to your store, and eyeballs to all your social media posts, you might think it’s a waste of time to keep investing time and energy on your mailing list. After all, you’ll ride this wave of traffic forever, right? We’ve been tracking one case study where a company told its stakeholders they wouldn’t have to worry about paying for “expensive” audience outreach ever again—and it all backfired.
We’re not talking about an “online” brand or a recent startup. We’re talking about Victoria’s Secret. Wall Street analysts can pinpoint a steep drop in the brand’s sales—it’s shortly after they decided to “save money” by closing down their catalog. It’s not that shoppers expect a glossy, expensive catalog—it’s that the routine arrival of a message from a trusted brand prompts purchasing. We’ll show you how to tie your content creation and distribution together so you can turn your mailing list back into a profit center.