Every new field of knowledge has a big gold prospecting aspect to it. I mean, whenever there’s a new trend emerging (in marketing, or in business), you’ll always have a number of people testing new things left and right and then bragging about every mild success along their way. Just think for a minute if this rings a bell: “Hey look at this case study and the success I’ve had with the new method X.” “Hey look at how I attracted 2,000 visitors to my site by sharing my infographic on platform Y.” “Hey look at this new breakout method that’s bringing me 1,000 new visitors a week.” So naturally, you’re reading case study after case study, trying to figure those things out for yourself and maybe identify the next big hit in marketing – the magic bullet solution of your own. Well, there’s nothing tragically bad about this, but it does sound a lot like gold prospecting if you ask me. Only this time, you’re not using a pan to search for gold nuggets in the river. You’re using your time and resources to search for gold nuggets on blogs and forums. Now, please don’t get me wrong. Learning new skills is a good thing. It’s a great thing, in fact, and it’s the only way to get your business anywhere. But the mandatory element in this equation is putting what you’ve learnt in practice as soon as possible. The problems start if you go from technique to technique without taking any action (or very small action). Besides, if you were to check and test everything that people put out there, you would: (1) go crazy, and (2) go bankrupt. Just like a gold prospector searching for the nugget of his life. So how to get around this and how to fight the gold prospector that’s in you, just sitting quietly, just waiting to jump ship and test yet another “better river?” #1. Be suspicious Be suspicious and never believe 100 percent that a new method someone is presenting to you will certainly be more effective than what you’re already doing for your business. A good way to find the right balance is perhaps what Google’s been doing for years – allowing their employees to spend 80 percent of their time doing their main job, and then 20 percent of their time working on whatever they wish (read: looking for the next magic bullet solution). #2. Be persistent Executing your business plan and taking action on your main marketing methods is what will bring you to your goals in the long run. That is especially true if you’re a solo-preneur, a freelancer or an agency dealing with clients one-on-one. In an environment where so much is dependent on pleasing a small number of people, you don’t have much room for error. Remember the 80 percent rule I mentioned in the previous point? Use those 80 percent of your work time staying persistent and executing your main plan. #3. Use simple solutions that are already out there Now let’s switch to those 20 percent of your work time when you’re experimenting with new things. Since the number of hours you have to spare here isn’t that impressive, you have to aim at maximum efficiency and getting things done as quickly as possible. There are two ways to do this: by hiring help, and by using the right solutions. Hiring someone is a pretty straightforward concept so it probably doesn’t need explaining. Let’s focus on the other thing then. There’s a load of tools and resources online that you can use to make your experimentation easier and faster. The main mindset I want you to adopt is this: “There’s surely a tool for that” Whatever you want to test out, start by searching for a solution that automates at least part of that process. For example, if you’ve heard that blogger outreach is the thing to do these days, don’t go head first into this looking for bloggers manually. Use Inkybee or something similar instead. The tool takes care of searching for other websites automatically (based on the keywords you provide), so you don’t have to do it by hand. Another thing, once you have some contact information, you don’t need to spend hours of your time figuring out the best way to propose a deal to someone. Check out the proposal resources by the guys at Bidsketch. Using their templates, samples, and their main tool, you can get done with your quotes in just a fraction of the time it would take to do it manually. Want to test outreach on Twitter? Again, don’t search for news manually, do it through twazzup. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are literally dozens of ready-made solutions for any other online-marketing task imaginable. #4. Get feedback Whatever you do, and no matter what new and trendy marketing method you’re trying out, always try to get feedback from the people impacted, so to speak. For instance, if you’ve followed my advice and used an outreach template message, ask your contacts afterwards what they thought of your approach. Did it resonate with them right away? Then modify your methods based on what real people – your clients or audience – think about your marketing, instead of following some case study you’ve found on the web without questioning it. And I’m not saying that those case studies are not true, far from it, I’m sure they are. It’s just that every case is different, and just because something has worked for one person doesn’t mean that it will work equally well for you too. That’s why feedback is essential. #5. Test different angles before moving on Quitting too soon is probably the main cause of long-term failure. And that goes for everything, not just business (even your Sunday hobbies). The lesson is that you need to test at least a handful of different angles with your new marketing method before moving on to something else. People who don’t test angles are the ones who later on say things like “Facebook ads don’t work,” or “SEO doesn’t work,” “social media doesn’t work,” and so on, even though we all know it’s not true. The thing is that you’ll very rarely stumble upon just the right angle at your first try. Sometimes, you just need to go through a lot of trial and error before you finally get it. Keep in mind though, this is about the 20 percent. Your 80 percent should still be spent following your existing plan and marketing methods. What do you think, does gold prospecting sound like something you might be guilty of? What are you going to do about it now? _________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. 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