Knowing where to go next in internet marketing can be tricky.
It’s like being at a junction on a country road where the destinations are either unmarked or places you’ve never heard of.
The map you thought you were following isn’t much use, so you have to make your best guess.
Or – like a lot of people – you hesitate and procrastinate or go round in what seem to be ever decreasing circles.
And, unfortunately, that’s perfectly normal.
If you’re just starting out, knowing where to start can be difficult.
There’s a multitude of options, often subtly (or not very subtly) promoting the direction that pays the person giving you the information a good commission. Regardless of whether it will help you or not.
If you’ve been in the internet marketing business for a while, you’d think things would get easier.
After all, when you learned things at school there was a natural progression and someone showing you where to go next.
If you moved on to university, chances are things were much the same. Sure, it gave you the impression that you were making your own decisions a bit more often. But in practice you were quickly rounded up and herded back to the “right” place if you strayed too far. After all, one of the unstated goals of universities is to get fees from students and that only works when you pass the exams.
If you’ve been in a job, the same thing happens. Defined paths with reasonably defined outcomes.
But with internet marketing, there’s often no such thing as a road map.
And even if there is, the “roads” are much like dirt track roads after a heavy rainstorm. Anyone’s guess as to where they are.
So where to go next?
Step back and work out where you actually are at the moment.
- That could be starting from scratch – either completely or because you’re venturing into a new niche because you want to or because the grass looks greener.
- It could be growing your current business – maybe because it’s hit a plateau, maybe because you’ve neglected it a bit more than you’d care to admit, maybe because that was the plan all along
- It could be that you want to diversify your traffic sources – if you rely on one or two sources, you’re always at the mercy of something happening to them. Whilst it’s highly unlikely Google will be usurped any time soon there’s an excellent chance that something will change in their algorithm that will affect your traffic.
Wherever you are, take the time to at least get a feel for it.
Otherwise you’re back to being at junction on the country road but with no idea which county or state or even country you’re in.
Then use whatever clues you’ve got to pick a direction.
The clues could be good ones – the kind that even I would recognise in a mystery novel – or they could be subtle.
You need to be in detective mode without spending days and weeks deciding what to do next.
Often, a ready-fire-aim approach is the only one that works.
Sitting at your computer screen playing a mental game of “what if” won’t tell you much.
It might give you some pointers but if you don’t follow them, you’re no further forward.
There’s often the fear of making mistakes…
It’s a very real fear – I’ve lost count of the number of mistakes I’ve made in internet marketing.
But they’re almost never fatal.
Sure, they might have unexpected consequences – a dip in traffic, a lull in sales, a site that melts your server (that’s kind of good so long as people get the chance to spend money with you!) – but at least taking action has consequences.
Probably the worst thing you can do is sit at your computer, dazed and confused, and do nothing.
Because doing nothing has consequences as well.
With the speed the internet is moving, you’ll essentially go backwards. Even if you think you’re in the same space as you currently are.
What should you do next?
Well, you’ve got a few options:
- Think to yourself “that was a good article, I must do something” and then click on to another page (maybe one of the related links below, maybe not) but take no action. Which, in reality, is doing something because you could come back to this page in a year’s time and be no further ahead.
- Decide to do something – no matter how trivial it appears – that moves you further ahead in your internet marketing. It could be adding a few hundred words to an existing post. It could be setting aside half an hour to create a YouTube video and upload it. Or you could send out an informative email to your subscribers or add a decent answer to a question on a site like Quora or a relevant Facebook thread.
- Keep doing something! Monitor what happens when you do that (without spending the whole day pressing refresh in the hope your stats have changed) and do more of the things that were successful, less of the things that weren’t.
- Get help. Sometimes getting a second opinion on where you should go next is a good idea. I’d say it often is – there’s a lot of truth in the cliche that two minds are better than one. And if you’ve been treading water with your internet marketing for longer than you’d care to admit, getting help is almost certainly your best option.