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The Average Path To Excellent Marketing in 2020

February 09, 2020

Ten years ago, the path to starting a successful business online was clear. Books, sales gurus, and expensive marketing courses all said the same thing:

  • Define your ideal customer avatar
  • Start a blog
  • Build an email list
  • Write compelling sales letter copy
  • Launch products to your list
  • Promote yourself on social media
  • Advertise on pay-per-click platforms like Google and Facebook
  • Recruit affiliates

At the time, these ideas were groundbreaking. They were novel—a clear path to success online.

Ten years later, this approach is so common that 12-year-olds have built lists and launched products. The average online business owner is already doing, or has done, most of those things.

Today, marketing advice hasn’t really changed. The above is still considered to be a solid foundation for online success. But now the same advice comes with a twist: do all those things but domore.

  • Get more views on your YouTube channel.
  • Post more often on Facebook for maximum algorithmic exposure.
  • Receive more likes on your Instagram posts for better monetization.

The competition is fierce. Everyone is following and copycatting the same advice. Everyone is using the same techniques to get more exposure, more followers, more clicks, more, more, more.

Consider the join-our-newsletter pop-up list builder that interrupts you while reading an article. You’ve seen it before haven’t you? Just when you’ve settled in to read something…BAM, JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER!

It was once a marketer’s moral quandary as to whether to include one on a site. On one hand, it helps build the site’s email list. On the other, it is rude to aggressively grab someone’s attention when they are concentrated on reading an article.

What was once a tool of a less refined marketer is now a necessity in the church ofmore. That type of pop-up is now commonplace on most sites even including major news outlets.

It’s not to say that any of this is wrong. It’s just average.

Where is the creativity? The imagination? The originality? The vision?

Today online competition is not about your direct competitors (the companies that sell a similar product). No. Today’s online competition is anyone that can get your audience’s attention.

Think Netflix, YouTube and the dopamine drip of Facebook, etc. When someone is on your website, reading your email, or perusing your social media, they are a few neurologically grooved and often unconscious taps or clicks away from moving their attention elsewhere.

How do you stand out in this increasingly attention-optimized world?

Ten years ago I knew. Today, I don’t know anymore.

Attention is scarce these days. It’s hard to chart a clear path to higher revenue. There is no one guaranteed path that works for all businesses.

Just launching to a list while everyone else is doing the same may not offer the growth potential it once did.

Trying to find the “perfect” marketing method, strategy, or technique before you get started is not an option anymore.

So forget the business plan. Strategy is largely irrelevant at first. Just start somewhere. Choose any way to start marketing or grow your business that makes sense to you.

Look at any marketing article, book, or video to shop for a strategy to start with. Or choose one that’s already familiar:

  • get more followers on your list
  • chase more views on your videos
  • look for joint venture opportunities
  • pay for Facebook ads
  • etc.

…But don’t expect the strategy to build the business. Instead, expect it to give you experience, data, and insight to progressively find your business’s unique path to success. If the strategy works to make money, consider it a happy accident.

Let your experience with one of these average marketing methods guide you to do more of what's working and less of what's not.

Despite all the people promising it, don’t try to find the perfect path up the online mountain of success.

Instead, take a path.

Any path that leads to a higher vantage point will give you the opportunity to unleash your own creative ideas.

With enough experience and business pattern recognition, you’ll see ways to be different. You’ll see your unique way to contribute something that is valuable, attention getting, and rare in the marketplace.

It probably won’t happen at first. And that’s why a lot of people quit and the success rate is so low. But if you just keep going, your business AND your story will begin to emerge.

If you are running an online business, dream of the 4-hour workweek, or just want to get traction in your startup, this is the worst and best time to do it.

Attention is harder to come by. But, if you can find the patience to be different, weird, or creative, your opportunity to stand out from the crowd has never been better.

Start anywhere, learn, grow, and the path will in time reveal itself. This is the easy, safe way. This is the shortcut. This is the guaranteed path to online success.

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