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In episode #517, Eric and Neil explain why you should be patient and play the long game. Tune in to hear what’s changed in content marketing over the years, how long you can expect to wait to see results, and how many followers you need before things start really snowballing.
Time-Stamped Show Notes:
- [00:27] Today’s Topic: Why You Should Play the Long Game
- [00:35] When Eric and Neil first started, you could get results within six months.
- [00:52] Now there are many potential marketing channels, so it takes different techniques and more time.
- [01:15] Now, it takes a year to a year and a half.
- [01:20] In the US, during 2017, Facebook had more advertisers than inventory.
- [01:37] The question is: when is it going to be too expensive to do paid advertising?
- [01:48] Go for the organic route, do it for two or three years: you will succeed.
- [02:13] The Panchenko marketing agency started small, but now is publicly traded and does $200,000,000 in business,
- [02:54] Americans tend to move onto the next thing over and over, while business people in Japan stick with on business for years.
- [03:15] Neil has been doing content marketing for sixteen years.
- [03:45] Neil started with blogging, but it has become so much more. Always play the long game.
- [04:04] Now, Eric and Neil get to call the shots about what they choose to invest.
- [04:30] Eric’s cousin works at a B2B marketing agency and gets most of his customers from old content he created.
- [05:00] This doesn’t mean new stuff isn’t working, it just means it will work in the future.
- [06:23] Eric has a great metric for content marketing. The URR (Unsolicited Response Rate) is important to gauge how well your content is working.
- [07:16] Once you get to 10,000 or so followers, it will continue to snowball from there.
- [07:31] That’s it for today!
- [07:32] Go to singlegrain.com/giveaway for a special giveaway.
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Full Transcript of The Episode
Eric Sui: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Sui.
Neil Patel: And I'm Neil Patel.
Eric Sui: And today we are going to talk about why you should play the long game. So, Neil, I'll let you kick this thing off.
Neil Patel: When Eric and I first started, you could get results within six months. You want to do SEO. You want to do content marketing. You can rank. It didn't take long. You would know within a few months if you were climbing up in the Google ranks, and you were going to do well. As time's gone on, now there's other channels, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter. The possibilities just keep coming on and on and on. They're never-ending. You wait another four or five years, and I bet you there's going to be a new handful of channels.
In addition to that, the landscape's become really competitive. When before we would see results within three to six months, we were like, "All right. It's working," now it's taking us a year to a year and a half, sometimes two years to see results, unless we just turn on paid ads, but paid ads are becoming more and more expensive. In the United States, in mid-2017, Facebook had more advertisers than they did inventory. That's when ad costs started drastically going up. You continually see them going up and up year after year. So, if you want to do well these days, you already know paid ads is going to keep costing more. The question is, when is it going to become too expensive, or are you going to have to switch business models or sell more products or services?
Go for the organic route. Yes, it's not as easy as it used to be, but if you do it for two or three years, it's extremely effective. Just look at Eric and I. We're here today because we played the long game.
Eric Sui: Yeah. I think this is ultimately an overarching business lesson, just being patient. In the last episode, and I'll share this again, just in case, those of you that didn't listen to the episode. When I was in Japan, I met up with one guy from EO that runs a Pachinko marketing agency. It's a marketing agency that literally just focuses on gambling. It's a long slough, man. Sure, the business does 200 million US dollars a year right now. It's publicly traded in Japan. The first year or two, it was just him, and then first five years into it, there was only a couple of employees. He's been doing his business for 24 years plus. Then, he introduced me to another guy afterwards. We went to get sushi. This other guy, he is in his mid-40s or so. He's been doing his business for 24 plus years or so, too.
This is really different from Americans, where Americans, they'll move on to the next thing, over and over. The Japanese, from what I've seen, are very focused and they can't easily decide to exit their business or sell their business quickly. That's why they stick with it for so long. That's why you see the wins, the gains, compound from a business perspective.
From a content perspective, or even from a marketing perspective, Neil's been doing marketing, for how long?
Neil Patel: 16 years.
Eric Sui: 16 years. So, it adds up. You just think about, Warren Buffett talks about compound interest all the time. It's the same thing with everything else. You stick with it longer, you know you're doing something right, and then it leads to other things.
Neil, right now, you see him doing videos, he's doing podcast, he's got his Facebook page, he's speaking, he's everywhere. It all started with one seed first, blogging, and then it gradually started to snowball into all these other things. That's why you need to play the long game. You need to think about the long term.
I talked about how short-sighted it is for people that want to see an ROI immediately, the next month, or every single quarter. It's good for both Neil and myself that we're running our own companies right now, where we get to call the shots on what we invest in. The good thing about Neil and I, it's very similar for us, where we're both very willing to test something and write it off very quickly, but when we see something working, we'll be very patient and play the long game, because we know it's going to pay off.
Neil Patel: Yeah. If you do things, and you think about it in the long haul, you can do extremely well when it comes to marketing. If you think you can go on the short run and just make a killing, you're not going to do well.
I was talking to my cousin, [Sujin 00:04:29], a few months ago, and he was talking about his B-to-B marketing agency, where he helps people get more traffic. He was discussing, he's like, "Yeah. I'm trying to invest more money. I'm trying to figure out how to grow," and I was like, "Well, where do you get most of your customers from?" He's like, "Funny enough, I just surveyed them." I'm like, "All right. Where'd they come from?" He was like, "It was all from stuff that I did a year or two ago." I'm like, "Really?" He's like, "Yeah." He's like, "All my old stuff is what generates the customers."
That doesn't mean his new stuff isn't effective. It just moreso means that his new stuff will take a while before it gets a ton of views and people see it. What people forget about marketing is the Rule of Seven. If someone sees you seven times, they're much more likely to convert. You build brand trust, loyalty, familiarity. So, when you keep doing things over the long haul, and you keep pushing it out there over all channels and people keep continually seeing you, and your business and company logo, and your brand, they're much more likely to convert into a customer, but it takes time. You can't get in someone's face seven times over a period of a day or a week or a month, unless you want to spend a lot of money on paid ads. So, the long play's effective, but you have to be patient.
Eric Sui: Yeah. A couple episodes ago, we did a talk on being omnipresent. That's the episode on The Biggest Thing that Will Change in Marketing in 2018 and Beyond. That was done on Christmas 2017. Go check that one out, but it's the same thing. Neil just talked about, you have to appear seven times or so. When you're omnipresent, you get to that seven number a lot quicker.
The other thing I'll saying the longer game is, think about ... I lost my train of thought, but I had a really good book recommendation. The book recommendation is gone from my head right now, but Neil, do you have anything to add? Maybe it will come back to me.
Neil Patel: No, that was pretty much it from my end.
Eric Sui: The book recommendation is gone, but here's the main point. Just think about ... It's back ... It's not a book recommendation. It's a metric that you want to look for. When you're starting out, when I think about Growth Everywhere, when I first started out, again, the story is, I went for one year. I was spending six hours a week on it. I was only getting nine downloads a day, but the thing that kept me going was the unsolicited response rate. I got this number from somebody else. This is the metric that you want to look at. The URR.
People would send me emails saying how good it was, and they didn't know how I wasn't getting more listens. That's motivating to me. That kept me going, even when the numbers weren't good, and I should just stop, when most people would throw in the towel. Look for that unsolicited response rate when you're first starting out. This is the same thing that's happening to my YouTube channel right now. I only have about 5100 subscribers or so. Neil, how many do you have?
Neil Patel: 40 plus thousand.
Eric Sui: 40,000 or so. What I've heard from other YouTubers is that once you get to about 10,000 or so, it really starts to take off. The same thing that's happening right now. I'm getting the unsolicited response rate, and that's what's keeping me going. I'm going to keep doing it until I hit the 10,000, until I hit 100,000. I'm just going to keep going. That's what you need to do, to succeed.
That's it for today. Before we go, go to singlegrain.com/giveaway, and we'll see you tomorrow.
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