As of just last week, Google has officially started removing Google Plus pages from the internet. At first I found this a little surprising…
I mean, it’s GOOGLE, after all.
Why couldn’t Google — a $100 billion tech company — revive their attempt at a social media network?
And it got me thinking:
If you’ve ever spent time or money on a marketing trend that seemed amazing at first (and who hasn’t), here’s what I want to say…
First, simply put:
Google Plus didn’t have enough usage to justify it sticking around. It’s SO bad that Google is stripping it off the internet.
Google Plus will be gone by April 2nd.
Remember when Google Plus first came out?
There was so much buzz! You needed an invite, and everyone wanted one. It was supposed to be the next big thing — to rival Facebook, in fact!
And now it’s dead.
Google Plus turned out to be another flash-in-the-pan marketing trend.
Just add it to the pile with:
- QR codes
- organic social media posts
- and Snapchat for business
In the end, Google Plus was unable to generate leads — I mean, it barely generated awareness, interest or impressions — despite its stamp of authority from the almighty Google.
Obviously, marketing is a fast-pace industry. And as small business owners, we want to grow our business. And that means generating new leads.
So it can be VERY easy to take the bait whenever a shiny new marketing tactic comes our way, promising new access to a tired market.
This can be a dangerous game.
I remember when PostcardMania first started out, we survived on that week’s sales — every week — for WAY too long.
If I had re-allocated my marketing budget away from postcards (2,500 a week at first and then 5,000 a week — and yes, it was literally my only means of marketing) and into the next new trend — YIKES!
PostcardMania probably wouldn’t even be here today.
And I don’t want that to happen to you.
So, with 2019 still feeling fresh and new, I want to give you my take on a few other marketing trends that are likely to go the way of Google Plus.
Do yourself a favor and save your money and time on these dying trends…
1. Trying to use organic social media posts alone to grow your brick-and-mortar business
If you’re spending precious time crafting the perfect Facebook update to post right at 2pm every day, and it’s WORKING (as in those daily posts are creating leads that turn into a survivable amount of income) —
Then stop what you’re doing right now, email me and tell me your secret. (Email addy below.)
But I feel pretty confident that I’m not going to get any emails expressing this sentiment.
Let’s take Facebook, for example:
Organic reach is down. Waaaay down.
Here’s what that means in plain English:
When you post anything for free on your Facebook business page, VERY few people see that content.
In fact, only about 2% of your page’s subscribers probably see your posts now.
(Subscribers are people that have liked your page.)
And that is going to sink even further.
About a year ago, in an effort to combat misinformation from fake news media sources, Facebook announced massive changes to their newsfeed.
These changes are designed to put posts from family and friends above content from pages even more.
I say even more because Facebook has already massively cut business page reach before (back in June 2016) — and that cut left us at the current 2% exposure rate.
So in other words:
If you really want to promote your business on Facebook (especially to generate new leads), you need to pay for it.
That means Facebook ads.
Like this one:
That Facebook ad is from my client Dr. Kevin Tanty’s Everywhere Small Business campaign.
Using Facebook ads to generate leads unfortunately isn’t as simple as designing an ad and waiting for the phone to ring.
It requires you to rigorously test the following elements so you’re only paying for traffic that’s likely to turn into prospect calls:
- Ad design and copy
- Special offers
- Audiences (who sees your ads)
- And other different “objectives” in Facebook
So that’s the general state of Facebook for small business marketing…
But what about the other social media giants? Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.
Can you grow your business on one or all of these without paying for ads?
I’m sure it’s possible…
IF you’re willing to become a diehard social media expert who literally spends all of their time creating content on social media and engaging with commenters — which I’m guessing you aren’t.
The truth is:
Social media CAN work in growing your business, but it requires a dedicated team of people to:
- Constantly create interesting content
- Engage with users
- And keep up to date with trends and constant algorithm changes
That’s why I recommend running paid ads on social media (primarily on Facebook — which also means Instagram as of 2012) while also marketing your business everywhere possible.
I know it sounds overwhelming.
That’s why I had my team create Everywhere Small Business (which Dr. Tanty, the example above, uses).
It’s an all-in-one bundle solution that puts your coordinated marketing message on:
- And in the mailbox.
Really, if you’re a busy business owner, it can be a life saver.
Unlike this other unproven marketing trend…
2. Hopping on the influencer marketing bandwagon
Influencer marketing is a bit like celebrity endorsements, but on a small scale. And usually these endorsements are happening online, over social media, to that influencer’s followers, rather than via a nationwide commercial.
These influencers recommend your product or service to their audience, and in return they get something. This is either a cut of the proceeds (like an affiliate) or an outright payment ahead of their endorsement.
Influencer marketing seems to be gaining traction.
But I don’t recommend it as a lead generation tactic for brick-and-mortar small business owners.
If you’re a large, national brand with a distribution channel stretching from coast to coast (like mattress giant Casper or makeup trend setter Glossier) — sure, it makes sense.
But when your service area is geographically limited, an influencer campaign doesn’t make sense.
You’re going to end up paying for leads and impressions that won’t or can’t become customers.
And if you’re hoping they have enough local followers on social media to earn back what you’re paying them… well, that is pretty pie-in-the-sky if you ask me.
So unless you want to pour money into an unproven tactic for your industry, I suggest you steer clear of “influencers” and instead just create a robust referral program and reward everyone equally for any new leads or customers they send your way.
Speaking of steering clear, don’t let me catch you…
3. Gambling with new and largely unproven digital methods
There’s no shortage of marketing trends slated to emerge, but my question is this:
WHY invest in any marketing tactic that isn’t PROVEN (with real results) to grow your business?
Sure, you could argue that nothing is proven until it’s been invested into and tried many, many times…
And I agree!
At PostcardMania, we didn’t add Google ads into our direct mail campaigns for our clients until we saw for sure we could make them work for our own marketing, and that was several years after Google started their ad platform (called AdWords) way back in 2000.
If you haven’t implemented Google ads into your marketing strategy, here’s some help to get you started:
Facebook started offering ads back in 2007, and it wasn’t until 2017 that we integrated them into coordinated, done-for-you campaigns using our Everywhere Small Business product.
My point is this:
New marketing methods take a lot of time (and budget) to test how they can be used to generate leads (and revenue).
And I flat-out refuse to offer my clients a marketing product that we haven’t tried, succeeded at, and hacked in order to pass that success on.
I DO NOT offer marketing products that PostcardMania has not personally succeeded at.
So my recommendation:
Save your money.
I built my business mailing postcards, and, when the internet started booming, I STILL mailed postcards, and PostcardMania STILL continued to grow — despite the internet taking off, not to mention the economic crash of 2008.
I definitely pay attention to new marketing trends that could be useful, but we don’t personally use them for PostcardMania (or recommend them to clients) until we’ve pounded them out on the anvil of testing first.
Again, because it’s worth repeating:
We created Everywhere Small Business to make marketing across multiple channels simultaneously as easy as possible for busy small business owners.
And we did this because we had already spent our own marketing budget testing it and proved that it worked.
Aside from my own success, I’ve seen business owners receive undeniable results from this product, which seamlessly integrates targeted direct mail campaigns with Google, Facebook, and Instagram ads.
- A 350% increase in new patients for my client Dr. Kevin Tanty
- 50 qualified prospect calls and 30 new clients for Mehaffey Financial Services
- And a 14,000% ROI for Nelson Construction & Renovations
And to make tracking your marketing as easy as possible, Everywhere Small Business automatically comes with a tracking dashboard that also shows you the name, address, and phone number of who responded to your campaign. It’s honestly amazing!
If you need any help with your business’s marketing strategy, then do not hesitate to contact one of my marketing experts at 800-628-1804. They’re trained to help you figure out the best way to grow your business, within budget, and their advice is 100% FREE.
Or you can always email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.