5 Course Corrections That Boost Online Marketing Success (And Your Morale)

Did you know that nearly every airplane flight is off course 95% of the time? It’s only a matter of a few degrees, and usually no more than 5%. That’s why pilots and navigation systems are constantly course correcting. And both are critical to transport you safely and efficiently to your intended destination

You can look at your online marketing in a similar way. Just imagine you’re the pilot. And think of your marketing tactics as your trusty navigation system. Your destination? Ultimate marketing success!

Of course, pilots have one thing in their favor. They receive flight training on a specific aircraft. And ONLY that aircraft. So if a pilot flies a Boeing 737 they can’t fly an Airbus 320.

Unfortunately, your online marketing doesn’t work that way. You’re expected to be an expert on everything! You’ve got be active with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, You Tube, Pinterest, Instagram and more. And don’t forget article marketing, blogging, press releases, SEO, advertising, email marketing, and the list goes on and on…

Does your head hurt just thinking about it? Well, good news! An effective prescription awaits…

Would you answer yes to these two questions?

Answer these two questions honestly…

  1. Are you overwhelmed by how many marketing tactics you should focus on?
  2. Have you invested time, energy, money, sweat, tears and even a few gray hairs on your marketing for less than stellar returns?

Here’s the twin takeaway:

First, you’re not alone. And second, without intervention, things will only get worse. Intervention here means course correcting.

Let me address an easy refuge for the overwhelmed—outsourcing! Sure, it can lighten the load. But you still need to provide direction. And review and monitor the outsourcer’s work. And deal with some extra operational tasks that come with it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying, don’t outsource. Just understand you need to be involved, even with outsourcing.

So what’s the answer? Step back and view the landscape with “new eyes.”  Here are the best ways I’ve learned to do just that with my own business, and that of my clients and customers

Course Correction #1:

Focus more on your story and less on marketing distribution channels

How do you decide which movie to watch? Or book to read? Or play to attend? I’ll bet it’s the story got you hooked. So how does this apply to your online marketing?

Here’s what bestselling author, content marketing thought leader Jonathan Fields says,

“One of the most compelling ways to launch and build a business or brand is to create a legend around it. Tell a deeply compelling story that draws in not only clients and prospects, but employees, partners, collaborators, mentors and evangelists.”

How do you develop that compelling story, exactly? Fields article provides many excellent thought starters. For more, story insights, I’m in the lab developing some never before seen resources I’ll share soon.

Course Correction #2:

Invest more time in ONE marketing tactic OVER any other

In my case, I chose PR as that one marketing tactic. And I chose wisely. PR is now more relevant than ever. Especially with video and social media integration. In your case, you may favor Facebook. Or maybe it’s easier for you to talk than type so video marketing makes sense. Any one tactic is fine.

Here’s the key: despite an irresistibly strong temptation you must resist the “bright shiny object” syndrome where you chase every new thing that comes your way. Who wants to be a jack of all marketing trades and a master of none?

Get proficient in one marketing tactic and then move on to the next. Follow that path and positive outcomes like these often surface:

  1. You reap the benefits of momentum and completion rather than squandering your energy across numerous tactics.
  2. You become such an expert on that one tactic people naturally seek you out. For speaking gigs. Coaching and consulting. And much more.
  3. You get to marketing success faster and stay there longer.

Course Correction #3:

tweak and test what matters most—HEADLINES!

Famous adman David Ogilvy was a huge testing advocate. Here’s what his results revealed about headlines,

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.“

Today, with so much noise and clutter, we skim the information we see. And what has the power to stop us in our tracks? The headline! This is true whether it’s a listing in the search engines, a press release, web sales page, Facebook post, tweet, ad, direct mail, email subject line, blog post, and much more.

Let’s face it, if the headline fails, no one’s reading what comes next. End of story.  So how can your headlines perform better?

Headline resources: I figure I’ve written over 12,000 headlines over the years. And here’s the essence distilled from all that: my 10 success traits of winning headlines. Now what about getting an affordable “second opinion” or headline makeover? Those can work wonders. I’ve got a valuable resource there too. You can gain access by reaching me here.

Course Correction #4:

choose one thought leader per marketing tactic

Do multiple Facebook experts exist? What about video marketing gurus? Sure. And the same goes for all the marketing tactics. Reality check: you many have money to invest in lots of training materials from different marketers. But what about your time to review all of them? Lets face it, with training from multiple individuals, programs and systems, you add a ton MORE to your workload. Not to mention the added pressure from the “I paid for this, I MUST use it” inner talk.

Remember when I said pick one tactic and master that first?  Same holds for the thought leader you connect with the most. In PR and publicity, I hope that’s me! In some other areas, I have some specific recommendations…

Marketing expert resources:
Here are just a few individuals that are head and shoulders above the rest in their respective fields

Facebook: Mari Smith

LinkedinLewis Howes

Google+:  Kim Beasley

Do I have other recommendations? Sure. those are reserved for my coaching clients. I will say I’ve invested over $60,000 US in marketing training materials no to mention what colleagues share with me via review copies. So I get to review a LOT of marketing information products.

Course Correction #5:

the BEST way to make your online marketing whole: consistency!

Know what one of the biggest mistakes even big companies make with their online marketing? Their message isn’t consistent. It’s fragmented. They say one thing on Facebook. And another on Twitter. And still another with their actual customers.

Sure, there is something to be said for market segmentation. It’s also true there should be a story-centric thread that carries through ALL marketing. Look at Apple Computer. Their stores look like their web site. Everything is built around simplicity.

This is by no means a complete list of course corrections. They are just my top ones. In fact, implement just one of these course corrections and you’ll notice a change. A BIG one.

Did you find these course corrections helpful? Share your feedback in the comments below.

Marc Harty is an online publicity expert, professional speaker, Internet marketing consultant and CEO of MainTopic Media, Inc. Marc’s Online PR Made Easy can help anyone at any skill level generate targeted web site traffic on autopilot.

  • Which course correction do you agree with the most? And which one do you disagree with strongly, if any?

    ~ Marc

  • Videopete

    This is very straight forward idea and the reason many don’t chose this approach is it’s not very exciting to do let’s face it most people lead a very ordinary life but when the story is told it is so different than the on we are telling our selves 
    Focus more on your story and less on marketing distribution channels

    Seth Godin all marketers are liars

  • Great Course Correction to boost online marketing. I totally agree with Correction #1 i.e Focus more on your story and less on marketing distribution channels, and i am not agree with #2    Invest more time in ONE marketing tactic OVER any other. 

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