Well, That Didn't Work.

I want to share with you an experience I had in trying to market one of my blog articles - an experience that failed miserably.

For the past year, I have heard several people in the internet marketing space comment about how important it is to market your existing articles.  For example, Derek Halpern from www.socialtriggers.com states that you should spend up to 80% of your time marketing your content.

As a content creator, this strategy initially seems backward.  I often get trapped thinking that the most important thing is to create content and then I want to believe in “hope marketing” - just sitting back and hoping that people will find me.

But from a business perspective, it makes perfect sense.  I know that “if I build it,” they won’t come unless I tell them why they need to come, show them where to come, and give them incentive to come.  Thus, marketing.

So, I decided that I would experiment with marketing one of my recent blog articles and give this strategy a try.

My Article

A while back I wrote an article on martial arts marketing where I discuss how to build a sales funnel.  

The article was specifically designed around my son’s taekwondo studio as they do a fantastic job of getting new students in and converting them to paying clients.  In this article, I broke down their process of identifying prospects and converting them into ideal customers.

Now, I have never planned (and still don’t intend) to build a business around consulting to taekwondo studios.  

I wrote this article because I feel it is a sales system that any business could benefit from.  In fact, this post is currently ranking 1st on Google when you search “taekwondo sales funnel” and I get a small amount of regular traffic from it.  

I was even approached by an online taekwondo magazine to rewrite my article for them - which I did.

My Marketing Plan

My plan was to promote this article to other taekwondo studios who may benefit from a formalized sales funnel.

To accomplish this, I wanted to find a list of taekwondo studios and reach out to them with a small “hook," offering to send them more information (a link to my article) if they were interested.  This is an approach that I have other say they had success with, so I thought I would give it a try.

I did a few internet searches and found a couple of associations that had public lists of martial arts studios in the United Kingdom and Europe.  I spent several hours one Saturday evening sending over a hundred e-mails trying to promote this article.

I was certain that I had found a goldmine with this list and was anxious to see what type of response I would get.

The Surprising Result

The result?  

I didn’t get a single reply.

Not one.  

I even checked my spam box to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Why I Failed

In thinking about my marketing attempt, I believe there are a few reasons why this experiment failed.  

Here are few:

Lack of Relationship

First, I believe I failed because I didn’t have a relationship with anyone I was sending my e-mails to.  Business, even online business, is all about relationships. I didn’t have a relationship and thus, no traction in sending my e-mail.

Failure to Validate

Another reason I believe this experiment failed was that I failed to validate the list I was using to contact martial arts studios.  I thought that I had found a gold mine in this list, but I never checked to ensure that the list was a valid, current list.  I spent all of my efforts focusing on one list which I didn’t even know was a good list. 

Failure to Adjust

The third reason I believe this experiment failed was because I failed to adjust.  Instead of sending several different e-mails with different approaches to try to pull the receiver in, I used a single template for all of the e-mails I sent.  Several different templates would have allowed me to test different versions to determine which one (if any) was more effective.

Apparently, the template I used was a bust.

Timing of Solicitation

Finally, I believe this experiment failed in part because of when I send the e-mail.  I sent my e-mail during Saturday evening - a time when everyone in Europe was sleeping.  In addition, most martial arts studios seem to be closed on Sundays.  Therefore, my e-mail would have been buried under a number of e-mails by the time it was opened sometime Monday.

What I Will Do Differently

I was discouraged that my efforts didn’t produce any results.  Of course.  But, I am not ruling out this approach as ineffective.  What is ineffective, however, was the execution of my attempt.

Therefore, I will be doing a number of things differently on my next attempt to promote a blog post.

Target Audience

One of the things I believe I did well in this experiment was that I focused on a very niche audience.  However, I am not sure how great of a need martial arts studios have in the arena of developing a sales funnel.  I am guessing (speculation here) that many of the associations these studios are members of provide some form of support when it comes to the sales process.

Therefore, when I conduct my next round of promotion, I will conduct some initial due diligence to make sure that there is actually a need for the content I am trying to promote.  

List Validation & Relationship

Next time, I plan to validate any list I spend time using.  Whether this is done by obtaining the list from a trusted source, or sending a few test e-mails (even just e-mailing a few people to see if the address is still current), I will make sure I validate the list. 

In addition, I will also try to find a relationship I can leverage in order to promote my article.  Having my article come directly from the association would have most likely proven more effective than me just randomly e-mailing addresses on the list.

Adjust

Finally, I plan to systematically adjust my efforts.  I will produce multiple templates and approaches in contacting my target audience.  I will then test these various methods and adjust according to the most effective applications.

Conclusion

Sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time trying different experiments.  But I also understand that this is how I learn and grow because, next time, I will not be making the same mistakes I made during this failed experiment.

Isn't this entrepreneurship?  

Trial and error.  

And we all can learn from each other's mistakes.