Indulge me for a minute. I need to talk about myself, briefly.
I've been a copywriter half my life and a website copywriter almost since there were websites in need of writing. Only in recent years have I studied, practiced and promoted inbound marketing and delivered the content marketing services required to make online marketing really fruitful.
And now for a short story.
It pays to understand inbound marketing.
My website's contact form gets filled out and submitted. My new client, Drew, digs what I do and hires me to be his website copywriter. This is how it's supposed to work. I didn't find him; he found me. I didn't persuade him to hire me. He had funneled his way down into the strike zone us online marketers call conversion.
Drew and I talked about the things I did which allowed him (and many other clients) to find me. He was impressed with my Internet knowledge.
Then he showed me his current website. Unimpressive. It was one of those static brochure-type sites created many moons ago and uncared for since. Overly busy. No compelling offers. All the things that make a website ineffective. If the website were to be his main marketing weapon, he'd be dead. Fast. But that wasn't the plan.
The plan was explained to me.
Per Drew, he really only needed a new website. No problem. Trust me, part with a few dollars to engage my team and it shall be new-and improved.
But then I asked what would happen after his new site was launched. He showed me a plan, of sorts. It had a heavy emphasis on direct mail and email. I was told his budget wouldn't allow for advertising. I told him though it might allow for direct mail and email, it shouldn't.
The marketing plan came from an agency that, dare I say, sold cookie cutter plans to Drew and his contemporaries in the same field. In my opinion, it came with some mighty high fees and would deliver some mighty low ROI. He wanted to know why. I told him because his response rate would suck.
Suddenly, I had the perfect client.
I thought so, anyway. We talked about keyword planning and long tail SEO strategies that have proven effective. We talked about basic social media marketing tactics and how vital they've become. We talked about why and how a business establishes and applies metrics to enable perpetual improvement of the marketing plan. And most importantly, we talked about the content marketing that should, would, and must be the foundation for the plan to pay.
Drew said he was "all in." Perfect.
Then we made some sunshine.
It's more accurate to say we made his website shine. Really. We created a thing of beauty. I'll be glad to show it to you.
I'm not saying it was easy. It seldom is. Getting Drew's WordPress site together and online took a lot of effort, but it was worth it. If (very big if) you were to find your way to the site, we had clearly created a destination you'd feel good about visiting, briefly.
Our content marketing plan was solid too.
Drew had a definitive niche. Most companies do. Don't interpret this to mean it'd be easy to stand out, but we did indeed have a plan in place to make it possible.
As it turns out, there exists an assortment of business models in Drew's world and would-be clients seldom understand the subtle differences between them, their risks, and especially, their costs. Once again, perfect.
"Do you mean to tell me if we published an eBook that explained the differences in clear terms we'd likely qualify the prospects you're after, usher them into our pipeline, capture their contact information, and convert them to customers in their time of need?"
He said yes to my question and yes to my proposition that such a piece would become our first offer.
We made the eBook. It's good. Happy to show you it, too.
How's our plan working?
I wish I could tell you. Drew doesn't know. I'll tell you what I do know:
We don't know anything.
We had a great PPC plan in place to snag clicks at about $1 per. Drew hasn't pulled the trigger. No pays, no pers, no clicks.
We did a smidge of onsite SEO, but never created anything or hired anyone to support it.
I delivered a blogging plan along with an affordable approach to have articles written regularly. No go.
I can ask all the questions I want, but will get no answers. We put the usual freebie Google analytics code in place, but no one's measuring or analyzing anything. No one knows how. Or no one has time. Or there's been no commitment to find someone who has the time and know-how.
We've created an unfunny version of Gilligan's Island.
At the risk of floating my own boat, I want to reiterate my partner and I created a very nice website. But it's like we created a beautiful desert island.
So our story ends tragically.
My client is shipwrecked. No matter how nice his little home is, it's very unlikely anyone will be joining him there.
He might try putting a message in a bottle. For now, if he's going to survive, he better learn how to fish.
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