5 Marketing Ideas That Once Worked But Won’t Work in 2014

marketing-ideaThings have changed a whole lot in the past few years.

With the barriers to entry almost non-existent, building an online business is not only possible, but easier than ever.

…and it’ll only get easier with all the new technology and services that are being made available.

However, this isn’t all sunshine and roses. The easier it gets to build an audience and grow a digital empire, the more competition there will be.

Make sense, right?and then there’s the maturity of the market. People are way more internet savvy now-a-days, which means we have to get smarter about how we market.

Some ideas that worked back then, will not work today. In this post I’ll be sharing 5 of those marketing ideas with you, so you won’t have to work harder to get great results.

Here we go:

“Build a huge list” Won’t Work

There was a time where the numbers mattered. Those days are long gone. If you focus on getting anyone and everyone on your email list, you won’t be able to market to them effectively.

Effective marketing is honing in on the problem your audience wants to solve. You can’t do this if your list has 10 different types of people with 10 totally different problems.

What works today? “Build a targeted list” 

This works and will always work. Targeting a group of people will allow you to market to them directly, without having to think about what their frustrations are, or how you can help them.

“Get lots of page views” Won’t Work

Lots of page views is not our goal. We’re not building an advertising business, so lots of page views do us no good. When you focus on page views alone, you forget what you’re really here to do, which is helping people solve their problems.

Remember what the late Zig Ziglar said, “You can get everything you want if you help enough people get what they want”

What works today? “Focus on conversions

Converting your visitors into subscribers (leads) is where your focus should be – not page views. This is how you create an avenue where you can continuously market to your audience over and over.

“Get a ton of links” Won’t Work

Remember the days before Panda and Penguin? Google did a good thing with those updates because now you actually have to write awesome content in order to rank well in the search results.

Getting lots of back links really fast will raise a red flag in Google’s eyes and you might get penalized. It’s tempting to go buy a cheap service that offers 5,000 back links to your blog with promises of more search engine traffic, but don’t do it.

What works today? “Let links grow naturally”

If your content is worthy, people will see it, share it, and link back to it naturally. This is why Google sends me close to 10,000 visitors a month. Do your keyword research, optimize your articles and share it with the world.

Let the rest happen..

“Sell, Sell, Sell” Won’t Work

Some people are still getting away with this awful idea. Here’s the process:

Promise something awesome > get people on an email list > leads to a sales page > sell, sell, sell > until the person buys or unsubscribes from the list.

This is not a good way to do business. This process leads to customers feeling a sense of “buyer’s remorse” and very few will end up buying again …which means you’ll always be looking for the next customer.

What works today? Build relationships. They’ll buy when they’re ready

Not everyone will buy right away and that’s totally fine. You just have to be there when they’re ready to take the next step. How? Simple. Make yourself accessible. Get them on an email list and keep communicating with them over time.

“Going at it Alone” Can Work

If you’ve gone through my Inbound Marketing course you know that the best way to get traffic to your website (or blog) is to leverage OPA (other people’s audiences). Going at it alone will wear you out.

There are bloggers with hundreds and thousands of followers that would be willing to collaborate on a project with you. All you have to do is ask and take action.

What works today? Collaborations are awesome

Check out my IM course for 3 ways you can collaborate with other bloggers. These have worked for me and I’m sure you’ll find them useful. (the course is free by the way)

What other marketing ideas don’t work anymore?

See you in the comments..

build your audience guide


  1. says

    Thanks a lot for sharing this. Old marketing techniques are definitely blowing away with the wind. But some of your marketing ideas aren’t necessarily things that won’t work. They just won’t work as effectively if the advice you share isn’t incorporated into it. All in all, I know that new online marketers or small business owners can get off to a much better start if they stick to the tips you’ve shared. Good writing :)

  2. says


    I think the old way of SEO is dead… now consistent social media contribution + premium blog commenting + guest posting on relevant sites is KEY… that’s what will work in 2013 and beyond

    What do you guys think?

  3. says

    Hey Hector, you made some really valid points here. I can’t just point out one, because they all make sense for marketing in 2013. Either way it goings, your blog has to be genuine and it doesn’t hurt to leverage other’s who are getting a lot of traffic. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Rozelia says

    Awesome stuff! You are so wise for your age. Thanks for keep you picture at the top! I appreciate it. Keep doing what you are doing. It is working. Have a GREAT day. Rozelia

  5. says

    You’re right on the money Hector. I love the article and will share it I’m learning myself that I need to speak in my own voice and be authentic to create engagement.

  6. says

    I enjoyed your post and am still amazed at the number of people who don’t realize that everyone is not your customer. Most of us have a niche to fill that is limited to a certain number of people. Within that number of people are again, a limited number of people that are an ideal customer for our product or service. We must strive to know who those people are and how to connect to them. We don’t window shoppers but buyers.

  7. says

    Amen to these Hector, amen to these.

    I sound like a broken record a good bit of the time but I’m all about building those relationships. People keep telling me that you have to concentrate on other things more but I disagree. All I know is that I’ve built up a great following from this alone and these people trust me. I don’t sell sell sell to them which is why they hang around.

    I totally agree with everything you mentioned here so thanks for pointing this out.


  8. says

    Thanks Rebecca.. authenticity and engagement are super important. It’s always smart to ask yourself if you’re following the fundamentals because it’s so easy to get caught up in the tips and tricks of this online business thing.

  9. says

    I have to agree. “Social + High Quality Links from other blogs + Interaction in your space” sounds like a good formula to follow. Not only will that bring you immediate traffic, but it will help you establish a relationship with other bloggers (on top of getting on Google’s good side)

    Great point Codrut

  10. says

    Hi Hector,

    My friend Carol Lynn featured your post on her Saturday blog sharing and I had to click on your headline.

    I have to agree with you all the way, my only question is about the last option, how do you collaborate with people that might not care about you at all? I’m sure you can elaborate on this :) I would love to know more.

    Thanks for this great share, and nice meeting you :)

  11. says

    Hector, you are right. Things are changing fast and the old ways no longer work in 2013. Great points. Relationships are key and are mostly the fun part of the business, right?

  12. says

    Hi Hector, I came over from Adrienne’s place and really have to agree with you here. I’m not sure why people try to grab the universe as an audience when basic business sense has always said it’s better to have 10 people and sell to 3 than have 10,000 people and sell to 1. Maybe it’s ego that gets in the way?

    I’ve often found that the best part of being online is engagement. I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me, especially this year, for collaboration or to be a contributor to their project. A lot of the time it’s a paid gig for them but not for the contributors, and I find it funny that some people won’t contribute in that case. I think if we help people grow then we get helped too – not necessarily by them, but by someone at some stage when we find we need it. It’s the goodwill gestures and actions, our willingness to help and participate, the interaction, that pays off in the end and makes everyone successful.

    Great article

  13. says

    Hi Hector

    I came from Adrienne’s site. The reality sets in shortly after one constructs a site, that they just don’t come after you have built it. Buy enough bells and whistles and it still doesn’t work. Then taken outback by Google’s black and white guys, makes one realize all the old stuff that you were promised really doesn’t work at all.

    I am just not going to worry about all the promises and just keep building content and relationships. If nothing else, I have met some really great people on this journey. Some really great information here.


  14. says

    Hi Hector,

    Adrienne listed you on her post today and thought I’d drop by.

    I’ve met so many great folks and that has been the best part of this journey of mine. When I started my main focus was helping other people and not building a site just to throw ads and products to sell them and this has worked for me.

    Sure the income part would be nice and that is slowly but surely coming along but I feel as long as I put the needs of my customers first and build relationships with great bloggers who can teach me to how to reach my audience then I”m on the right track.

    Nice to meet you and I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  15. says

    Good job Hector,
    I saw your at Adrienne’s post and decided to visit. You have a very awesome blog here though.

    I agree with all you said here too, there are so many things that worked years back which are now outdated, and this post of yours have really made them public.

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. says

    Julie I agree with you 100$. I’ve participated in putting together a paid product as a non-paid contributor. Why? because of that very reason. I believe in putting out as much goodwill as possible into the world. It comes back to you ten fold. Whether directly or indirectly. The exposure I received from helping with that product is a good example.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a well thought out response. Hope to see you around. :)

  17. says

    Thanks Mary and I you’re so right. the Build It and They Will Come mantra is the reason most people struggle with building blogs and audiences online. Creating content and relationships is definitely part of the foundation – then promoting that content to the right people is the next step.

    Glad you decided to stop by Mary. Hope you stick around :)

  18. says

    Hey Corina.. yes it takes time to get the ball rolling, but you’re definitely on the right track if you’re putting your readers/customers first. It took me a while to make my first sale, but once you’ve done it and you know the process, the hard part is actually getting to work and avoiding distractions.

    I’m my own worst enemy.. :/

    Anyhoo.. thanks so much for stopping by. I’m glad you did. (i’ll try to make my next post a really good one)

  19. says

    Yes.. relationships are super important. I’m glad you agree. I can see that your readers really like you and take your recommendations seriously.

    The selling comes easy if those relationships have been built the right way. There’s no need for sleazy sales tactics or being pushy. They’ll buy because they like you and trust what you have to say.

    Thanks for including this post in your round up.. appreciate it :)

  20. says

    Another informative article Hector.
    I’m also wondering about the effectiveness of article marketing now.
    I think Google slapped some of these article directories and they have tightened up their acceptance rules. I believe this is actually a good thing though.

  21. says

    Hector! You rock. I am reading this at a time when I needed to hear it, because I just KNEW those ideas were old and outdated, but when so many “experts” keep touting their advice, it can get confusing for a semi-newbie! So thank you.
    Wishing you a beautiful day,

  22. says

    Hi Hector,

    Great site you have here. I stopped by from Adrienne’s and wanted to take the time to leave a comment. I’ve actually seen your name before while doing some research on a topic. You actually popped up in the top 3 in Google twice on me. I haven’t stopped by before simply because I just wanted to see the search results for my topic.

    Anyways, this is a great post! The online world is constantly evolving and at an ever-increasing rate. If you try to use techniques that worked in 2006, you’re going to struggle. The problem is, there are a bunch of people promoting these old techniques like they’re the newest, neatest, guaranteed to work steps to take. Newbies out there don’t know enough to discern that they’re being sold a bill of goods, so people still make money with outdated content. It just makes it harder for those of us who are trying to do it right.

    On a totally different note, how do you like the ElevenForty theme? When I bought my current theme a month or so ago, I was on the fence between it and ElevenForty. I’m still not sure if I made the right decision as ElevenForty is a killer, clear theme. I like the way your site looks! You’ve done an excellent job on the design work.

    I hope you have an outstanding weekend!


  23. says

    Hi Hector,

    I am in total agreement with what doesn’t work these days. I always strive to develop organic traffic and I’m grateful for the recent Panda and Penguin changes. Those of us who have created quality content all along are being rewarded instead of competing with those who can “buy their way in.”

    I was having a conversation with a few of my peeps about spinning articles. I admit I’ve tried it in the past, but I couldn’t stand seeing my work “spun” into several “out of context” and “fake” articles. The idea is to spin and submit to thousands of article directories. I found it to be a waste of time and as one of my friends mentioned, it takes so much time to decipher the articles and attempt to make them reader friendly.

    Replacing synonyms is not my idea of a good time and it destroys the quality of an article. Unfortunately beginners may be fooled into thinking that collecting backlinks is a viable way of marketing. Your savvy audience knows, acquiring thousands of backlinks will cause penalties. It isn’t worth it.

    Thanks for sharing solid, practical guidelines of what works and what doesn’t work. Hopefully, bloggers and marketers who visit your blog will get the message and hault any of the nonsense techniques that will only get them into trouble and prevent them from developing good relationships with a targeted audience that will lead to success.

    Raena Lynn

  24. says

    I’m a big fan of disruptive marketing, finding the blue ocean in the middle of the chaos and competitive excess of others. The web can create a US vs. THEM mentality that matters little to customers. Customers have needs and pain points. Solve those and you get to listen to how to solve some more.

    The problem is so much content is coming as the unbelievers of old sign on to inbound marketing. This is why some disruption, some cross current idea, meme, creation or curation is needed to win. I also LOVE it when contests and games can help disruption come from User Generated Content UGC has so many benefits, but it is also becoming harder to get as it is more in demand.

    That is why I like to include a layer of gamification in my inbound marketing specifically designed to identify and reward the 1% willing to contribute and become brand advocates.

  25. says

    I definitely agree with you Hector. These tips are worth a try. Building relationship with the customers is better because being too pushy makes you look desperate of having them. They’ll think that all you care about is having tons of cash. When waiting for them won’t work, I guess it’s about time to change the pace of your strategies. I’m glad I had read your post today. :)

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