5 Critical Mistakes that I hope You Never Make
I started a now defunct blog called More Caffeine Please a little over three years ago. The goal of the blog was to promote my services as a copywriter to small and mid-sized businesses.
The blog failed miserably. Poor execution led to poor results which eventually led to neglect.
If I had to start that blog over, here are five mistakes I would have done differently.
Get Readers to Subscribe Before Launching
The first thing that I would do is try to get prospective readers on my list before launching my blog. I spent four hours on my very first blog post, hit publish, and the only person who read it was me. Yes, I emailed it to a few friends and wound up with 25 or so readers, but it’s not exactly the kind of traffic that makes you want to get up in the morning and do it all over again.
Here’s what I should have done. First, I would created a landing page to promote a webinar so that I could capture email addresses. I find that webinars usually have higher opt-in rates than ebooks, and this form of event based marketing would have been the perfect kick-off to my blog.
Once I had the landing page up and optimized, I would have guest-posted on 7-10 blogs to build awareness and gain credibility.
About two weeks from the date of the webinar, I’d write a press release and distribute it via PRWeb. I don’t think that my press release would be news worthy, but distributing a press release via PRWeb usually gets 50 – 70 targeted sign ups to a webinar that promises to be information packed.
Finally, I’d run Facebook ads to promote the webinar. There are a lot of other ad platforms out there such as Linkedin and Google, but Facebook is still quite inexpensive.
If I had done this for two months, I would have launched my blog to about 500 readers instead of starting from scratch.
Stick with One Marketing Strategy
When I look at the key players in the marketing industry, I notice that they all have one thing in common. They picked one strategy to promote their blog, and stuck with it.
For instance, Chris Brogan was predominantly a Twitter user. Sure he dabbled in Facebook and Linkedin too, but Twitter was clearly where he spent his time.
Mari Smith dominates Facebook. I recently attended a Facebook marketing webinar of hers the other day that topped out at 5,800 viewers.
And Lewis Howes is one of the few people talking about how to drive massive amounts of traffic and build your business through Linkedin.
One of the things that I did, and I think a lot of us do, is spend far too much time looking for the magic elixir. Which platform is in vogue this week that promises to drive massive amounts of traffic? The answer is all of them. What separates the top marketers from everyone else is they stick with one or two strategies and dominate them.
Be More Consistent
I started blogging back in 2008, and I was extremely inconsistent with my posts. I did what all beginning bloggers do, start out with a bang and posted every day. Then I fizzled out after a few months until I quit my first blog.
When I look around at the blogs that started around the time that I started, I can’t help but wonder how much further my career and my business would be.
I constantly have to remind myself that building a blog and a business is a marathon. There is no one thing: customer, guest post, social media platform that is going to transform my business over night. It’s about doing the little things like writing guest posts on a consistent basis until my momentum carries me forward.
Every business, whether you are selling a product or service, or trying to get people to click on ads, needs three key systems to thrive:
- A customer acquisition system
- A product or services delivery system
- A collections system
As your business grows, you will add other systems such as human resources and new product development.
Even if you are a single person operating out of your bedroom, make sure that you document all processes and procedures.
Strong systems will allow you to scale your business.
A customer acquisition system will allow you to hire a marketing team and sales force so that you can acquire more customers. I have a sales script that I can hand over to any new sales person who joins the company and know with reasonable certainty that he will be able to close a good percentage of sales.
A product or services delivery system will ensure that each customer receives the same quality work. Can you hire someone to replace you and still deliver the high quality work that your customers have come to expect?
And a strong collections system ensures that you get paid. When you have one or two customers, you might not think a system to collect money is necessary. However, when you have 20 or 30 customers at the same time, it becomes difficult to keep track of accounts receivable.
Finally, I regret that I spent far too much time reading, and not nearly enough time acting. If you are looking to build a Facebook page and have absolutely no idea how to get started, then you should absolutely purchase a book.
However, when you feel like you need to start reading two or three books before you become “comfortable” launching your page, then you are just procrastinating.
I spent too much time procrastinating. I needed to realize that mistakes were going to happen and learn from them.
If I had spent more time trying out new ideas and less time reading about them, my business would have been in far better shape.
I can’t help but wonder where I would be right now if I had known what I know now. Lessons like getting readers to subscribe before you launch only come with experience. However, I greatly regret my inconsistency and lack of perseverance.
I’m in the process of taking my company in a new direction and have launched a blog that will hopefully spark interest, and serve as a powerful marketing tool. I’ve also spent quite some time applying these lessons that I’ve learned to ensure that I don’t have the same regrets three years from now.