In today’s world of the 24/7 Internet, social media, and mobile phones, there are an abundance of places for you to be. And it’s not just you — it’s all of us. We’re constantly trying to reach out through all of these channels and do all of these things for our business and in our personal lives.

You may feel like there are too many choices available to you in terms of what you should be doing to better market your company. It’s too overwhelming when you try to think about what to do next. Perhaps you’ve spoken with too many marketers who have confused you, or said something like, “Well, go try this,” and then when it doesn’t work, they suggest something else.

In Kevin Kelly’s book, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that will Shape Our Future, he notes that the total number of web pages, including those that are dynamically created upon request, exceeds 60 trillion. That’s almost 10,000 pages per person alive. When companies like ABC and then start-up Yahoo! talked about content for web channels in the 1980’s, they predicted there would be 5,000 channels available. That was an incredible number back in 1988. Instead what has happened is that billions of users have created content online. There are 500 million channels out there now –  not a mere 5,000.

Still think you can be everywhere?

As a modern marketer, I have helped people build programs that removes the guesswork. It’s a simple approach based on common sense. In my new book by the same name as this blog post, You Can’t Be Everywhere, I lay out a road map for what you need to do and what needs to change. A modern marketing program is built around the idea that you should spend as much time on the front-end understanding your customer journey as you do on the back-end executing tactics.

The overwhelming urge to do it all and be everywhere

We think that doing it all and large volume gets results. But in fact if you just focus on good content and on making connections with the right people at the right time, you’ll be further ahead. There is a culture of late built around trying to get involved in every channel and one we simply have to pursue.

Maybe this sounds familiar: “If I just spend a lot of money and have tons of pay-per-click support with Google AdWords, I’m going to double the growth of my business.” But many people have come to the realization that this is just not true. Just because you keep sending your ad to the top of page one on Google, doesn’t mean you’re going to get the traction you want. There’s a whole pile of other things that have to happen for you to get any goodness out of that from a sales perspective. But if you’re not doing any of them particularly well, you haven’t really understood what your customer wants and what kinds of content they need from you to make a decision.

A quick story

I want to tell you a story about a business I’ll refer to as The ABC Company. The ABC Company thinks the only thing that matters in email marketing is how big they can make their list. It’s all about the number of people they can get to sign up. There was a time in marketing, when it was a numbers game – number of ad impressions and mass reach. But I have now worked with lots of small businesses who would rather have 1,000 really engaged people who are not unsubscribing, who are opening emails on a regular basis, who are clicking through, who are doing something as a result, than 10,000 names who opt out and bounce.

I’ve worked with clients who have said to me, “I just want more lead volume on my website.” It’s all about volume. But a funny thing happened when we improved their lead volume. You can easily buy your way into that game, but for The ABC Company (and many others who try this method) it was the wrong types of leads.

Until you roll up your sleeves and understand who your best customer is, why they are buying from you, how they express your value proposition, and why they think you’re valuable, you’re just doing a bunch of superfluous things that don’t generate action for you as a business.

Why all this pressure?

This expectation to be everywhere has escalated to an all-time high thanks in large part to social media. It’s this alone that makes us feel like we can be everywhere, that we can connect with everyone, that we can broaden our outreach like never before. But in doing so, we don’t take time to think about whether that’s good or bad — or if what we’re putting out there is helpful. Mobile has tipped the scales on this as well. Your phone is always in your hand, at your desk, beside your bed. You check it 150 times a day, thinking that by checking it, checking in, and keeping in touch, that you can somehow be everywhere at once.

The options for how to connect with an audience of potential customers grow every day — and exponentially more so with every new tool or site released to the market. There’s this overwhelming pressure to feel like we’ve got to be using all these tools.

If you’re one of the people who is guilty of trying to be everywhere and you don’t know where to start — don’t panic. Over the next few months, we are going to share a common sense roadmap to a better digital marketing process for your business.

But of course if you want to get a jump start on things, buy the book that explains why or download the guide that explains how.

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