One of the biggest risks to the success of your business online is a lack of diversification in your marketing channels.
It's a natural thing that most businesses will find a rhythm that works with a particular channel/strategy, and stick at that.
However, by not adequately diversifying (or having backup marketing options) you could be exposing your business to excessive risk.
Back in 2011, my first business was wiped out when my one channel/strategy (posting articles on article directories to drive traffic back to my site) was decimated by a Google algorithm change.
I went from hero to zero, overnight. Almost all of my business income was totally wiped out.
So why not learn from my mistake?
In this blog post, I outline a few simple strategies for reducing your reliance on any particular channel.
- Identify the risk. Make sure you know where the majority of your traffic/leads/sales comes from. This is perhaps the biggest piece of advice I can give, as so many business owners I speak with aren't "aware" of where their business comes from online. Use platforms like Google Analytics and your CRM to help with this. I would suggest you sit down and work out the percentage of leads that come from each digital channel (e.g. organic search, Google Ads, paid social media etc). What is your biggest "risk factor"? E.g. if you discover that 75% of your traffic and leads come from organic search, then that would be a definite risk factor.
- Identify the "sub-risks". Let's use the organic search example from above. If your website gets lots of organic search traffic from a wide variety of keywords, then it is less likely that you are going to see your traffic dry up (unless your entire site is penalised or out-played by your competition). However, what if most of your traffic comes from organic search and only one or two keywords? This was the case for a website of mine that went from 10,000 visitors a month to less than 1000 in the space of a year. The culprit? One keyword. Basically, a sub-risk is just the next level of risk underneath any particular category.
- Work out where you can scale up your next best opportunities are. For example, if you've identified that Facebook is your largest source of traffic, leads and sales, but Google Ads is in second place - can you scale up your Google Ads activity? Look at your analytics reports, CRM reports etc to identify the channels that have the next best potential for your business. Ensure you have a plan to leverage them to your advantage.
- Build a list. An email list (provided it is properly obtained with adequate permission) is one of the most effective defensive plays in marketing. It's much less likely that an email list will be taken from you. There is an old saying "the money is in the list" and I believe that is 100% true. No matter what channels you are using, you should always be trying to get people on your email list.
- Stay educated. Ensuring you are informed about the issues that are affecting your marketing channels is critical. You don't need to become a complete expert, but have an understanding of what's happening in SEO, PPC, social media marketing etc. Being educated will help you identify new risks as they come to light.
- Keep your eye on new tactics/strategies. I know we are all told to avoid 'shiny object syndrome'. But sometimes new and shiny objects can provide a pathway to building more stability and future-proofing into your marketing. At one point, Facebook seemed like a flash in the pan - but now it is here to stay. Businesses that jumped on Facebook at the right time had easier access to organic reach, lower advertising costs etc, which will still be paying dividends to this day. I'm not encouraging you to change course as soon as every new opportunity arises - but do keep your eyes peeled in case a channel/strategy crops up that would be valid for your business, and then see how you can work it in to your promotional mix.
- Build a brand. If Apple had all its social media accounts wiped, was blocked from PPC advertising, stopped ranking in Google etc, would they be wiped out? No, of course not. Their brand is so strong that people would still seek out their products. I'm not suggesting you try to become the next Apple. However, you should look to build a reputable and recognisable brand in your industry, so that people will seek you out directly wherever you are.
I believe that diversifying your digital marketing is one of the most important things you can do for success.
You always want to try and squeeze every last drop out of the channels and strategies that work well for your business. However, it is vital that you keep your eye on other opportunities as they arise, and always have a back up plan.
Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time. There is no obligation to you, and I am confident you'll find the meeting valuable and informative.
Make sure you watch the video below for more tips as well: