I’d like to have the philosophy with social networks the best thing that you could do was build your following.
Here we go…
All of them have a pattern or restricting your own reach. And by doing that, it leaves you no option but to spend money on advertisements.
Boy was I ridiculous.
If you’ve got more followers, then if you’ve got a message you wish to place out there then, ideally, thousands of people will see it.
If you look at me, what can you see?
However, you know what is common with all social networks… not just the ones Facebook owns?
Quite simply, most people see me as successful.
But like everybody else, I’ve failed many times.
Somebody who is a marketer… maybe even an entrepreneur.
But what if I told you that behind this success is a lot of failures?
And many of the failures were so big They cost me a Great Deal of cash
Today, I thought I would do something somewhat different. I want to share with one of the biggest marketing mistakes I’ve made. Hopefully, you are going to learn from them and avoid making the same mistakes as me.
To put it differently, I’ve screwed up a great deal. But what helped me so well was I was able to learn from my mistakes and avoided making the very same ones over and over again.
In advertising, everyone talks about the way you have to pick a niche. But here is what people don’t tell you… it takes the same amount of effort to advertise a business in a little niche as it does to market a company in a much bigger market.
But mepersonally, being a smart aleck, I thought I’d outsmart Facebook by continually growing my lover page. This way after I built up a fantastic user base, I wouldn’t need to spend money on advertisements.
Why do you invest money to build up a community when you can’t control if they will see your message?
Both big lessons I want you to take away from this first error are:
It is really tough to have 100% of a market no matter how small or big it is. It’s significantly easier to have 1% of a market. So you ought to go after a huge market so your 1 percent is worth something purposeful.
Therefore, why not go after a big market as it can allow you to earn more money?
Mistake #1: Spending $400,000 on Facebook fan page likes
I am not saying you shouldn’t invest money on advertisements, but with any social network, you should avoid spending money to build up a community. Only think of it this way…
- Have a direct ROI – If you’re likely to spend any money on ads, make certain that it is cash flow positive. Attempting to acquire an indirect ROI in your advertising dollars is absurd unless you’re ready to experiment and possibly lose a lot of cash.
- Be cautious, not dumb – Each significant advertising channel has calculations. Start off small and as long as the numbers work out, scale up as quickly as possible.
This is one of the biggest and silliest marketing mistakes I’ve ever made. History has proven that social networks continually change their algorithms and restrict your reach, yet I blew money trying to develop a community.
As you might already know, I’ve co-founded a small number of organizations. I have received a handful of awards out of individuals such as President Obama and the United Nations. And I’m a New York Times bestselling writer. And
NeilPatel.com is not my first site. Technically it is my third.
That strategy has enabled me to get over 3 million monthly visitors of which 1.8 million of them are unique.
Well, to start with, not all traffic is equal. But that wasn’t my error because I had been smart enough to look for keywords that had a higher cost per click, because this is a leading indicator that the key word is more valuable.
Sadly, this mistake is one I’ve made one too many times. I kid you not, my net worth would have an extra 0 in the end if I just chose large enough economies from day 1.
When we started, our visitors was up and into the right.
The big mistake I made was not focusing on areas. When doing keyword research and competitive analysis using tools such as SEMrush I concentrated on creating content that would create traffic in the ideal key words… but I never looked at areas.
After I did that, I’d then go to tools like Ubersuggest, find popular keywords I was not going after, and then produce content focusing on all those terms.
- Google Trends – kind in the space you want to go after. Start looking for verticals which are larger than digital marketing” as a rule of thumb. If a person has increased over 10 million bucks, the odds are it’s a large enough market.
- Publicly traded firms – if you have any competitors which are people, examine their market cap. The larger the number, the better. Keep in mind that most publicly traded companies provide a number of services and products, so this amount is usually inflated.
Mistake #3: Not all search traffic is the same
Finally we added mouse monitoring, A/B testing, and a handful of other features.
The previous startup that I created was known as KISSmetrics. It didn’t work out as well as I needed, and I finally bought a few of their assets.
What’s crazy is that there is not much more effort to expand our marketing to include key words like A/B analyzing from an organic or even paid standpoint. It also isn’t difficult for all of us to write blog articles on these new places.
The way I climbed NeilPatel.com was simple… type at a competitor URL to SEMrush, see what their top pages where, then write far better versions of it.
Even when I find popular articles written by my opponents, I plug them into Ahrefs, and I look at the traffic stats per area before deciding on if I wish to make something similar.
Mistake #4: Traffic doesn’t mean anything if it does not convert
But what’s wrong with that strategy?
Now here are my traffic stats each area:
Now there are a Couple of ways to figure out if the market you are going after is large enough:
But we should have done that years earlier. If we had done it sooner, the company could have easily been twice the size, just like the way Optimizely generates over 100 million annually in earnings.
A heatmap solution that helps show you in which people clicked on your site.
And because it was the last advertising blog I created I was able to do things somewhat differently since I was able to learn from my previous blogging experiences (I had more money).
I’m Indian, and that I love India. But traffic from India doesn’t create me anywhere near the quantity of revenue as traffic in the USA.
I increased over 17 million dollars and we were away to a fast start.
As you can see, that the usa is my most popular region, but it is not the majority. Over time it’s gotten better as today when I do keyword research, I focus all my attempt on the United States. Without individuals, you won’t develop that quickly regardless of how much of a scalable business you’ve got.
For example, my business partner, Mike Kamo, does not know marketing as well as me. I’ve got more experience as an entrepreneur and I am more book smart.
Do you see what is wrong?
Yet every time he chooses my traffic and monetizes it, he also creates more
SEO generates a greater ROI than paid advertisements for most businesses, yet very little budget gets allocated to it.
And to give you an idea of the number of companies are making this error… I interviewed 208 businesses that produce over a thousand dollars in earnings. This is where they’re spending their advertising dollars.
Just because I understand how to create a website popular (and that I can even convert those visitors into clients ) does not mean that I am likely to be successful.
That is when I understood that the actual formula to marketing is not only who is getting the most eyeballs, it’s all about focusing on monetization.
I learned this lesson from Ramit Sethi. When I launched my first ebook on Quick Sprout, I couldn’t generate over $30,000 per month. Do not get me wrong, that’s great money, but not when you’re generating over 200,000 unique visitors a month.
And here are the stations producing the biggest ROI.
Considering that we had nearly 3 times more visitors than them, how much can you think KISSmetrics was worth during our peak?
I enjoy giving everything away for free and then when it is time to market, my numbers do not look as good as they need to.
Then came a rival, Mixpanel, who copied a lot of our attributes and did not know marketing and me. Only look at their visitors stats:
It’s not that I do not know how to monetize. It’s more so that I have trained my users to expect everything at no cost.
You require great operators and managers if you would like to see rapid growth.
Don’t only focus your efforts to traffic acquisition, concentrate on conversion optimisation. It’s the place that I didn’t spend sufficient time early on.
Nevertheless, as soon as I released an ebook/training course (I sell it), I managed to generate $650,000 per month from just 450,000 visitors during my peak.
And what you don’t see in the chart, since it’s classified in additional,” is conversion optimization produced the largest return, yet very few companies spend money on it.
Speaking of monetization, I make this error too often.
Nope. Guess again.
The minute you change things up, the numbers never seem as great.
I’ve always tried to conduct my own businesses lean in which I never wanted to have more than 50 employees.
On the reverse side, I monetized NeilPatel.com much earlier than Quick Sprout and, of course, I have better at advertising and entrepreneurship in the same time.
Since the course got old, my monthly earnings dropped but it stayed around $381,722.
But if you wait too long before you start charging, folks will have this notion it will be free forever and they will not be as likely to convert into the future no matter how good you’re at marketing.
Let me give you a clue… Mixpanel’s last valuation they announced was 865 million!
Perhaps we had been worth double those… or at least the exact same valuation.
The point I am trying to make is don’t wait too long before you monetize.
We were not even worth 10 percent of their value.
Through time, I’ve over surpassed that number and that I have hundreds of people working for me. But I should have done that much earlier.
I’ve got a skill set I have always been good at. Can you guess what it is?
It’s making websites popular. Revenue from the exact same visitors than I really do. And again, I know more about marketing and company than him.
However, because he’s great at hiring and building up people, he is able to generate more revenue from precisely the same amount of traffic.
Only look at NeilPatel.com, I have text-based articles, video content, a podcast, and free tools.
Those are super competitive conditions!
If you would like to grow fast you want to employ people. Hire those that are process oriented and know operations well. Do not be fearful of headcount… remember teams build great companies, not individuals.
I don’t rely on 1 traffic station anymore.
And now my free tool generates 213,967 unique visitors a month.
Just look at Elon Musk, he’s one of the most brilliant people of our days, but without his group, Tesla and SpaceX would not be as large as they are now.
By way of example, he hired Nick Roshon as our VP Revenue, who is wonderful. Back in December, which is one of the worst months for us due to holidays, Nick’s staff closed $1,585,093 million in revenue.
Much like I did, you are going to make errors.
It has taught me to really have an omnichannel approach to marketing. Sure, you know me as an SEO, but I do far more compared to SEO.
And Nick knows, without his team, he would not have had a great December. It is about the people and you should not forget that.