Where were you in 1989 and what were you doing? 

Maybe you weren’t even alive. I was rocking stonewashed jeans, playing “Armageddon It” by Def Leppard on my Sony Walkman as I walked from class to class at the University of Kansas, and cruising around town in a 1977 Grand Prix.

I was also pondering important lessons from a new favorite movie that had come out earlier that year, Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. 

Let’s walk back in time to that film. There are three important, golden nuggets of wisdom that can make all the difference with how you approach your digital marketing plans as you look towards 2016. 

Those nuggets of wisdom come from the voice that Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, distinctly hears on three occasions. Do you remember those messages?

  1. If you build it, he will come.
  2. Ease his pain.
  3. Go the distance. 

Now, let’s uncover the nuggets of wisdom from these messages. 

Lesson #1: If You Build It, He Will Come

The Web is a busy and crowded place. Unlike Ray Kinsella’s corn-farm baseball field, while your target clients and customers won’t come just because you’ve built a website, they will begin to come once you’ve architected and nurtured it the right way, along with the right lineup of relevant, optimized outposts

Is your website built properly, from a technical SEO standpoint? Do you publish fresh, useful or entertaining content to it weekly? Do you have outposts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other relevant social sites, through which you distribute your content, while also engaging your world? Are you and your leadership team getting published on relevant, authoritative, third-party sites that your target customers visit for their industry news? 

This is how you build it so they will come. Multi-channel. Fresh and frequent content. Engaging. 

Lesson #2: Ease His Pain

Okay, you’ve optimized your site and are fully engaged across the Web the way we introduced in lesson #1. Your target customers are encountering your company more regularly online and visiting your site. But are they converting into leads and customers, or are they bouncing away after visiting the first page they land on? 

What do visitors to your site see when they first arrive? Is your messaging crystal clear – meaning, what you offer and more importantly, how you’ll help them. Are you speaking their language, are you solving their problems, easing their pain?

Your home page should reflect that you understand them – maybe even that you can empathize with them, and give people an immediate step to get started in easing their pain. That immediate step is a call to action, and placing one big and bold on the first screen people see on your home page is crucial. 

But don’t stop there. Internal pages on your site should clearly reflect what you want people to do next, after arriving on those pages. Don’t make people think. 

Ease their pain, and you’ve turned a site visitor into a lead or customer. 

Lesson #3: Go the Distance

Many small businesses give up too soon. Wait, let me rephrase that: Many people give up too soon. They give up on life. They give up in their careers. And yes, they give up in their marketing.

Most overnight successes, meanwhile, aren’t overnight at all. 

Content marketing takes time. I recommend to small businesses that they layer a paid advertising campaign on top of their digital marketing efforts, in order to seed some short-term wins while their content success begins to take form. But even then, if you want sustained success, you have to put a foundation in place first, and for that you need a sustained effort. 

In Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella held onto his farm in the face of uncertainty, and the threats of a relentless brother-in-law who was stuck in short-term thinking. 

Stick to your marketing. Technical SEO is necessary. Content works. Social media works. Distributing your content works and is powerful. Let them do their thing. 

Channel your inner Ray Kinsella with your approach to digital marketing. 

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Author Bio: Brandon Hull is the Vice President of Sales at Main Path Marketing. For over 15 years he has helped small and medium businesses in a variety of industries build and implement comprehensive digital marketing and online lead generation strategies. When he’s not talking marketing, Brandon loves spending time with his wife and five children.

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