Remember that really old TV show Little House on the Prairie?
There was an episode where a bunch of kids find fool’s gold and think that they’ve made it.
They work hard night and day to dig it up… and of course, they spend their real cash to dress up nice and buy stuff thinking that the money is now in the bank.
Only to have an expert tell them that all that work was for nothing.
The moral of the story?
Sell the fool’s good to someone even more foolish than you. Don’t chase shiny objects.
Guess what. That story STILL applies .. but people never seem to learn.
Sure, people don’t really chase physical gold that much because we live in the age of online information, but guess what, now the gold is in different form.
Here are the 6 forms of “gold chasing” that would pretty much kill any marketing plans:
1) Monkey see, monkey do
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Everybody wants to change the world
But nobody wants to change themselves
Likewise… every marketer I know wants positive ROI, but only a FEW would even dare to try something new.
If an affiliate marketer is killing it with offer X and he happens to tell the world what he’s doing, next day there will be 30 copy cats trying replicate it.
What’s worse? Some shady affiliate networks not only turn a blind eye on this theft, they even encourage it? How, they just send the URL of your successful campaign to every other affiliates running similar traffic / campaigns.
Bunch of asshole affiliates and do every nasty shit possible, the network/merchant gets pissed & pulls the offer, and voila… profits dried up for everyone.
So much for the promised land of milk and honey that only lasted days… if weeks.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with copying other people’s stuff if you’re getting started or just testing some stuff here and there, but you’re not innovating.
You have no idea what that successful marketer’s campaign metric look like: your CPC’s aren’t going to be the same, (if you’re doing PPC) you’re negative keywords probably aren’t exact, your demo targeting is probably not exact, you might be seeing his A/B test (with you seeing the loser version), his payout might be different, etc etc.
But the real problem is that copying other people’s stuff shuts your brain down.
What is your brain? The only real competitive advantage you have.
I’m sure these copycat marketers are far more creative than they realize and can produce far better ROI than what they’re copying, but they will never know because they’re too chicken shit to go out on their own.
There’s only so much keyword spying, banner ad snooping, landing page copying you should be doing…(hell, your CTR might not even be the same)
Instead focus on what the market REALLY needs, make it, then sell it.
And if you make a positive ROI, please do yourself a favor, shut the hell up and don’t tell anyone.
2) Chase the latest trend
Yes, i suffer from this too.
As digital marketers and growth hackers, we have to constantly polish our skills on the latest new trends.. otherwise, our skills become outdated and our businesses die.
OF course, that means we have to read up on the latest stuff that’s happening on the web.
First Google adwords / search CPC… then SEO… then social media marketing… then RTB… then Facebook ads.. then pinterest/twitter ads.. etc etc.
It never ends. Every year, there’s some brand new site that went viral that is opening up its platform, or starts its own advertising system.
Cheap clicks and lots of it. Only catch? You gotta study it and master it before the promise actually comes true.
Unless you have a computer for brain, the odds are that there’s only so much mastering you can do.
Instead, why not do as Shoemoney said… follow your passion because odds are that your passion will remain same even if your SEO cans… or Google slaps your Adwords account.. or Facebook decides to change its ad platform algorithm overnight.
If you keep chasing things, you will never invest the proper time & focus to master that thing you’re doing.
And if you don’t master it you will never be good at it.
It’s like a farmer who plants his seeds and gets impatient about how his corn isn’t growing right now. So gives up on the farm, moves onto a different one, and repeats the process over and over, wondering why he’s never getting any harvest.
As Jim Rohn said, success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
3) Suffering from Guru Syndrome
Ever meet a “social media expert”?
Seriously, do they have schools for these things?
With more and more information going online, there’s more and more “gurus” out there claiming that they have some “killer secrets” to losing weight / making money / finding love.
Yeah, some are great and I personally follow them (like Shoemoney because of his no-BS marketing strategy).
But some are down right false prophets – copycats with repackaged ideas from other gurus, never eat their dog food (i.e. preach but never actually have practiced any of the stuff they say you should do), and some just lie about how much they’ve actually achieved.
What happens? Instead of running our experiments, we just end up buying their endless stream of courses, ebooks, pdfs, videos, tools, etc etc… and of course, their blogs. And of course, we lose the most precious asset of all: our TIME.
Like I said, we marketers need to educate ourselves with information, but with that quest for information, we sometimes get misled.. so it’s up to you to judge quickly whether or not their stuff is actually going to serve you.. or is just plain waste of time.
And the only way to do this?
Run your OWN marketing experiments and find out for yourself.
Like how Shoemoney said, the only sure way to build an audience is to give stuff away.
At first, i thought “baloney”…. and hell, i actually tried it on my blog, and it seems to work. (Hell, you should join my newsletter because I give tips & tools away on growth hacking)
The ONLY way I found out that Shoemoney was right?
I tested it myself.