What Do Shotguns, Websites and Marketing Have In Common?

Hint: You’ll need a lot more than patience and tweezers to get rid of the pain they’ll cause if you try and combine them.

In this post, I run through the following:

  • What is Shotgun Marketing?
  • The Story of Average Andy
  • The Pitfalls of Shotgun Marketing
  • How to Avoid Shotgun Marketing with Your Business Website

What is Shotgun Marketing?

Shotgun marketing gets its name from the idea of shooting hundreds of tiny pellets, i.e. shots, in a general direction and hoping that some of them hit their target. The analogy is that you take a broad, un-targeted, approach to your business marketing efforts in the hope that as many people see your message and end up becoming customers.

An example includes printing off hundreds of flyers about your business and putting them on walls all over town. Another example is posting random pictures and posts about your product or service to various social media feeds and hoping for new customers to come flooding into your website.

The Story of Average Andy

Before we get into it, let me tell a little story. This story is about your average punter that takes an unstructured approach to their efforts of getting attention for their business on the internet.

Picture someone that has just started establishing their new business. Let’s call this person Average Andy. Average Andy has done the hard work of coming up with a product line or service offering and setting up the necessary framework to start making sales. Andy has also finished setting up the business website. The next step is to start advertising and marketing the business out to the rest of the world on the internet.

Andy begins creating blog posts, videos, ads and all sorts of great material to entice people to come and visit the website. Andy does this in a fairly hap-hazard way, simply grabbing the URL links from the website and arranging them to be posted in as many locations as possible, external to the website.

A few months roll by and Andy sees things growing in the business. Contact via the website is increasing, sales are steadily rising. There was even a massive spike one week, Andy really liked that one but has no idea where it came from. Thinking that all is going well, Andy keeps putting in hours, days and weeks of effort on getting links posted on the internet to point back to the business website.

After a while though, sales plateau and contact drops off. Andy has no insight into why this is happening. Eventually, Andy begins to feel that the marketing and advertising effort is a bit of a waste and isn’t really returning much back to the business. Andy gives up.

The Pitfalls of Shotgun Marketing

In some circumstances, shotgun marketing can actually be effective. For example, Coca-Cola often uses the shotgun approach to marketing quite effectively. It tends to work when the target market of a product or service is huge, and the goal is to get the attention of as many people as possible.

However, for businesses that have more specific target audiences, shotgun marketing is an approach that usually fails to deliver any useful results.

The answer to the question in the title of this post is this: If you try and combine shotguns, websites and marketing together, you’re at risk of wasting a lot of time and effort that could be put to better use on your business.

In the story above, Andy was a victim of shotgun marketing. Andy tried to appeal to as many people as possible using random methods, not really aiming at any group in particular. Initially, Andy did see some results but eventually the new business dried up.

There may have been some form of connection between Andy’s efforts and that initial business growth, perhaps also that spike one week. Andy will never know.

How to Avoid Shotgun Marketing with Your Business Website

To avoid ending up in the same situation as Andy, there are a few things you can do.

Obviously, the first thing you should do is to target your marketing efforts to particular audiences. But that raises the question, what content works, and which audience is best?

In this related post, I take you through a introduction to link tracking, one of the most important first steps you should take when it comes to marketing your business on the internet. It provides you with the data and information you need to start getting better results from your marketing efforts.

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About the Author

Dan Miller

Dan Miller is an award-winning business leader and author from Canberra Australia, who loves getting new ventures off the ground. More importantly, Dan is a proud Dad and husband. With a background in technology project management, Dan's specialty is turning business ideas into real projects that are regularly delivered successfully. Dan’s experience and skills are supported by a foundation of formal education in business and technology including BEc, BIT, MSEng and MBA. Dan also spent several years teaching at the Australian National University as a Tutor and Adjunct Lecturer in both the Department of Computer Science and the College of Business & Economics. There are a few simple philosophies that Dan abides by: have fun in everything you do, continuously improve by challenging yourself to bigger and better things, learn-by-doing, help others to improve themselves, and give back at least as much as the world provides you.

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