A Recipe for Failure: 6 Mistakes Marketers Make When They Copy Tactics


You spend a lot of time reading blog posts and e-books to learn how to market your business more effectively.

So, why isn’t it working?

Sure, you might be getting some traffic, maybe even a few sales, but are you getting a stream of both that’s growing steadily?

If you’re like 95% of business owners or marketers, you’re not.

Although you’re using all the same tactics the pros are using and succeeding with, they just don’t seem to work for you.

Some business owners spend years repeating this fruitless cycle until they deem online marketing a failure.

And it’s a shame because it could help them a great deal.

You and I both know it.

Do you want to know the cause for these struggles?

I can sum it up in one sentence:

It’s not enough to know how to use a tactic. You need to know why it works.

Let that sink in for a second.

Anyone can read an article on a popular blog like Quick Sprout or Backlinko and learn about marketing tactics that work.

They are usually broken down step-by-step so that just about anybody could figure out the technical details.

But what most marketers don’t realize is that certain tactics only work in certain situations.

You can adapt many of them to your specific business, but in order to do that, you first have to understand why they work.

The best way for me to show you the mistakes you might be making with tactics is to show you the most common ones.

And that’s what I’m going to do for the rest of this post.

1. The most common content marketing blunder: A product-audience mismatch

It absolutely kills me to see this mistake.

It’s one that beginner marketers make, but it’s not until they become more experienced that they see the results of the mistake.

You see, many marketers learn to use the tactics they read about really well.

They are persistent and work hard to apply those tactics, which helps them drive traffic and convert that traffic to subscribers.

Sometimes, they do this for years.

And that’s why it’s heartbreaking…

…because despite all that work, they’be been building the wrong audience.

When they finally decide to sell a product to that audience, they fail. There are two main scenarios where this failure occurs:

  • Scenario #1 – Trying to sell an existing product to the audience
  • Scenario #2 – Trying to replicate a successful product and then trying to sell it to the audience

These scenarios happen because of one mistake: not understanding the product-audience fit.

Why not understanding product-audience fit leads to failure: First, you need to understand that every type of content attracts its own type of audience.

For example, if you create incredibly in-depth content like I do, it attracts those readers in your niche who are extremely passionate about your niche and will devote a lot of time and effort to it.

But if you create content like “10 quick tips to do X,” you’ll attract people who just want a simple solution. They don’t actually care about “X.” They just want the result.

And those are just two examples.

The point is that each tactic you follow will produce a different type of audience.

What happens as a result is that you end up with an audience of many different types of people.

When you’re selling a product, your goal is to make that product as appealing as possible to your audience.

If a large part of your audience is interested in it, that means you have a good product-audience fit. This is similar to the product-market fit concept.


Can you see the fatal flaw in copying tactics yet?

Since your audience is composed of many different types of people, it’s going to be almost impossible to find a product that appeals to a large portion of them. That’s basically what happens in scenario #1.

Sometimes, you’ll get lucky by copying those tactics and create an audience that is fairly cohesive.

That’s a great thing and gives you a chance to succeed.

But most marketers then enter scenario #2.

Since they’re used to copying tactics to generate traffic and subscribers, why wouldn’t they copy product tactics as well?

They’ll come across posts like this one by Derek Halpern in which he talks about how selling courses has helped him generate well over 6 figures.


Then, our marketer will think something like, “That’s a great idea. I should make an online course to sell to my audience!”

Maybe that sounds familiar. If not, be wary of falling into that trap.

That’s because once you decide to create a product, you need to be ready to invest months of hard work creating it and possibly a lot of money as well.

What often ends up happening, as you might have guessed by now, is that the product flops if it doesn’t fit the audience.

And in many cases, it won’t.

If your audience isn’t interested in learning how to do everything themselves, they won’t be interested in buying a detailed course.

Instead, you’d be much better off selling tools that automate things or services that get them the results they want.

If you only take away one thing from this post, let it be this:

Always consider the audience you’re building with different tactics. Then, sell products that match their desires and needs instead of just creating the latest, trendy type of product.

2. You can’t only give value

What’s the first lesson of content marketing?

Give value.

The basic idea is a sound one because it’s based on the rule of reciprocity.

When you give people something, they feel obligated to give you something in return.

In the context of content marketing, you give them valuable content, and in turn, they give you their attention and even email addresses.

The more value you give, the more traffic and subscribers you typically get (as a general rule).


If you understand that, fantastic.

But here’s where most marketers go wrong.

They give, and give, and give some more until they can’t give anymore.

They don’t understand that you need to give your readers an opportunity to give back to you in the form of financial support.

In other words, you need to sell products.

If you don’t, you don’t have a business—you have a hobby.

Eventually, you won’t be able to afford to keep creating great content for your audience, which limits how much you can help them.

But if you have a business that generates revenue, you can afford to invest in even better content.

Selling products isn’t an evil thing: The reason why so many beginner, and even intermediate, marketers are so hesitant to sell something is because of how they perceive it.

They believe that by selling a product they are “taking” something from their audience.

And while I understand where this feeling comes from, it’s also completely ridiculous when you start to examine it closer.

First, and most important of all, products can be good.

I am more than happy to pay a lot of money for my favorite products. They add a lot of value to my life.

I’m sure you have products like that too. In fact, everyone does.

So, why can’t you create a product like that for your audience?

You already understand them well enough to produce valuable content, right? So, the next step is to create something larger that can have an even bigger impact on their lives.

The second thing you need to realize is that your audience has been paying for your content the whole time.

Not with money, but with their attention and time.

Both of those things are very limited and worth a lot. Your audience is still giving you something in return for the value you give them.

The takeaway: Marketing isn’t just about giving away content. It’s about finding multiple ways to make a difference in your audience’s lives and getting compensated for that work.

You don’t have to resort to tricking or scamming to build a successful business. Just focus on creating as much value as possible, but give your audience a chance to buy products from you.

3. What opt-in conversion rates are really determined by

Most content marketers have the same basic goals.

Create content.

Get traffic.

Turn that traffic into email subscribers.

Marketers have finally learned the value of email subscribers, and the conversion rate from traffic to subscribing has become a huge focus.

This has led to endless posts about tactics you can use to increase your conversion rate.

Since everyone is using the same tactics, they should get about the same results, right?

But that’s not what’s happening.

Even with the same tactic, one person will get conversion rates below 1% while another will get conversion rates over 20%.

The truth is most marketers don’t understand what factors determine conversion rates. They blame the tactic and keep searching for more tactics to try.

If this sounds familiar, stop it.

Instead, take a minute now to learn why you’re not having the success you should.

There are two factors that determine opt-in rates.

Factor #1 – Exposure: On a basic level, no one can sign up for your email list unless they get the opportunity to.

Therefore, if you have zero opt-in forms on your site, you can’t get any new subscribers.

Exposure is the “easy” factor, and it’s what most conversion rate blog posts focus on.

They convince you that pop-ups, content upgrades, sidebar forms, or any number of different tactics will produce the best conversion rate.


And to be fair, some of those are better than others.

From an exposure point of view, pop-ups are fantastic. If you set a pop-up to show up after a page loads, almost everyone will see it, which means they have an opportunity to opt in.

This is where most marketers start and stop.

They go from exposure tactic to exposure tactic, trying to find one with a better conversion rate.

Most of these marketers never get more than a low conversion rate because this is all they’re focused on.

But smart marketers know there’s one more piece to the puzzle.

Factor #2 – Value: For some reason, value is often ignored when it comes to opt-ins.

Most sites offer a weak incentive to sign up for an email list. For example:

  • Sign up to get more posts like this
  • Sign up to get a free checklist
  • Sign up to get some exclusive content

Seriously, do you think your content is so damn good that everyone will opt in just so that they might not miss a post?

Even I don’t think that.

Those examples I’ve given you are not valuable.

Sure, they have some value, but nothing that’s going to make a real difference in your readers’ lives.

But what if you offered someone $100 to sign up for your email list?

I bet just about everyone would sign up because that’s an insane amount of value.

Now, obviously most people can’t do that, but do you see how the value of the offer affects your conversion rate?

The real formula is something like this:

Opt-in rate = Exposure * Value of Offer

A valuable offer alone isn’t enough, however; you also need to get it in front of your audience.

But when you have a tactic that gives you exposure along with an offer that is actually valuable, that’s when you get incredibly high conversion rates (e.g., Bryan Harris often gets over 20% conversion rates).

Most marketers spend very little time on creating a valuable offer, and then they wonder why their conversion rates suck despite trying all the different exposure tactics.

It should be clear to you now why this doesn’t work.

So, how valuable should your offer be?

There’s no specific amount. Just make it as valuable as you can.

As an example, look at the sidebar on Quick Sprout, which contains an offer for a free course:


As you can see, I value it at $300.

If you’ve taken the course, you’d probably agree that it’s not far-fetched.

While it wouldn’t make sense to give away $300 in cash, I am able to give away this course because it costs me virtually nothing after the initial creation costs.

So, ask yourself how much your current offer is truly worth.

In the case of low conversion rates, it’s usually not much.

Find an effective exposure tactic or two, and then spend your time and effort testing the value of your offer. You’ll have far more success.

4. Being first counts for a lot

If you rely on bloggers to show you new tactics, I have some bad news.

While you can find effective tactics in blog posts, most of them have been discussed and tested behind closed doors in mastermind groups and private chat groups.

This means that by the time you finally see a tactic, many marketers have been already using it.

Why is this a big deal?

It’s a big deal because you miss out on first-mover advantage.

While this term typically applies to technology, I think it also applies to marketing tactics.

Basically, it states that the first company to offer something new will have a great advantage over those who come after.

That’s not to say that copycats can’t be successful, but it’s much harder for them to succeed than for those who are first.

When it comes to marketing tactics, first-mover advantage would simply mean being one of the first to use a particular tactic, before hordes of marketers jump on the trend and saturate it.

A great example of this is using infographics to build links.

As you might know, I used infographics extensively in the past. I still occasionally publish them but much less often because they’re not as effective anymore.

From 2010 to 2012, I published 47 infographics, which generated 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks from 3,741 unique domains. That comes out to an average of 53,459 visitors and 875 backlinks from 79 unique domains per infographic.


In the following 2 years, my results declined dramatically even though the infographics were just as good (probably even a bit better).

The infographics I produced during that time period produced an average of 21,582 visitors and 371 backlinks from 34 unique domains.

Overall, the results declined by over 50%!

And since then, the results have diminished even further.

No doubt you could still create infographics that go viral, but it’s much more difficult now.

Instead of struggling to compete with thousands of other marketers doing the same thing, wouldn’t it be better to find a new tactic to be among the “first” to implement?

How to get a first-mover advantage of your own: The fundamental reason why most marketers are behind the curve is not even because they rely on blogs for tactics (although it doesn’t help).

Some blogs do mention tactics early enough that you can still be part of that first group (there were certainly blogs mentioning infographics during 2010-2012).

But there’s one thing about infographics back then that you can’t appreciate now:

It was much more difficult to make a great infographic back then.

There were fewer designers who were experienced with them; they charged more; and there were no tools like Canva to help you produce them by yourself.

So, if I ask you now why you didn’t create more infographics during that time period (assuming you were in marketing then), the answer probably isn’t because you didn’t know about them.

Instead, you found out about them, but they seemed difficult.

And that’s the key marker you should be looking for.

Tactics get easier over time as more case studies are published and as tools are created to make it easier to implement them.

Not coincidently, as tactics get easier, more and more marketers start using them, lowering the results they produce.

Ideally, you want to get on the ground floor of a tactic.

To do that, look for unsaturated tactics that seem difficult to use.

This means that you will have to figure out how to execute them. It’s going to take you some extra time and resources upfront, but that will allow you to get better results before others catch on.

I can give you a few tactics right now that are still pretty difficult but getting easier and more popular every day.

First is webinars. While they’re not exactly “new,” they haven’t been adopted nearly as fast as infographics.

This tactic is currently producing fantastic results, and I’m holding webinars regularly on NeilPatel.com.


Webinars take a lot of work, and there are still some difficult parts, but if you’re willing to put in some work, you too could get the same results. If you’re interested, here’s my guide to getting started with webinars.

Second, what about using tools as a link-building and traffic-generation tactic? The Quick Sprout analyzer tool is responsible for hundreds of thousands of visits, a ton of links, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.


Tools are difficult to make because you need to know how to develop or hire a developer. That’s what gives you an opportunity to massively benefit from making one.

But have no doubt, there are already tools being developed so that non-technical marketers can make their own simple tools.

These will become more and more advanced in the coming years, and creating tools as part of content marketing campaigns will become more common and less effective.

5. There is no single perfect email outreach template

Outreach has been a huge part of marketing tactics for the last couple of years as more and more businesses have realized that they should be using white hat techniques.

Of course, many articles have been written about writing emails to help you drive links, mentions, shares, and all sorts of useful things. On top of that, many tactics include email outreach as a main component.

And in those articles (the best ones at least), the author typically includes a template of what they might send in an email. For example, here’s a screenshot of a template I provided in a past post:


It’s a good email.

Sorry, I should really say it was a good email.

Since I published that, that exact template has been sent thousands of times (even to me a few times!).

Obviously, when someone receives an email (or more) that is exactly the same as the one they got in the past, they’re going to realize something’s going on. The email obviously isn’t personal, and the recipient is going to feel used.

The emails you see in templates are often very effective at first. However, following the first-mover advantage concept, they will become less effective over time because other marketers will start copying them.

If I publish a template email, I will never personally send that one again because I know that it will produce diminished results.

If I say an email is converting at 10% and then give you a template, don’t expect to get the same results if you just copy that email. Other people will as well, which will impact the email’s effectiveness.

Using email templates the right way: Does all this mean that you should ignore templates when you see them in posts about tactics?

Not at all. What it means is that you shouldn’t just straight copy them.

Instead, break them down section by section, and determine the purpose of each sentence. Then, rewrite them so that you have an entirely unique template that accomplishes the same purpose.

For example, the first sentence of the email above is:

I love the work you do on (site name). In particular, I was blown away by (title of content you linked to) when I was researching my latest post.

The purpose of that line was to show how you came across your target’s site.

You could rewrite it in many ways to be completely unique but still mention the post on their site that you were interested in. For example:

I’m a blogger myself, and I was seriously impressed when I came across (title of content you linked to) when I was doing some background research for my next post.

This opening is very similar in meaning and effect to the original, but it doesn’t look like a duplicate.

Do this for each line in the template, and you can create your own template that will get similar results to those of the original.

In most cases, you can improve upon templates: When it comes to email outreach, templates are used to save time (instead of writing emails from scratch).

However, that limits their effectiveness because they aren’t usually personalized.

In general, the more personalized an email is, the more likely it will be opened and acted upon.

You can also improve the effectiveness of templates if you understand their limitations.

If you’re willing to add some sort of offer or gesture of value to the person you’re emailing, it will take more time per email, but you will get better results.

For example, in the above email, you could say that you’ve shared the post on social media or signed up for their email list. Just make sure you actually do it.

6. Some tactics depend on having an existing audience

The final mistake I often see marketers make is trying to copy tactics that require an audience when they haven’t built a sizable one yet.

Some tactics are best used when you’re starting out, and some are best left for when you have an audience.

Let me give you a few examples.

Writing about controversial topics has long been a great way to generate comments and links because people love to talk about controversial topics.

The only problem is that they require a great deal of authority.

For example, I wrote a post about why link building is not the future of SEO:


It got hundreds of comments and tons of shares on social media.

But the only reason I was successful with this post was because I already had a large audience to show it to, and I have a pretty recognizable name in the SEO world.

Once a discussion is started on a controversial topic, most people want to weigh in and share it with their friends.

But you can’t easily get that initial discussion without an audience.

If someone with 50 subscribers published the same post, it wouldn’t have gone anywhere.

You can use the same tactics, but don’t expect the same results: When I publish a new post, I rank for all sorts of long tail phrases in Google after the first week.

Targeting long tail keyword phrases is an example of a tactic that works best on established sites.

Quick Sprout has tons of domain authority and hundreds of high quality articles. That’s why I rank so fast and easily.

But if you are on a brand new domain, it will take months of link building and content publishing to rank for long tail phrases.

This is an example of a tactic that can work even if you don’t have an audience, but it will work slower and take more effort.

What you need to take away from this is that when you read about a tactic, first consider whether it will work with your audience and website.

If you think it will, consider if you should expect to get the same results as the author. If not, lower your expectations, and prepare to put in more work.

If you don’t think a tactic will work for your audience, save it for later, and find a more suitable one.


Marketing tactics are the most popular topics in the marketing world.

It’s great to learn about new ones and add effective ones to your arsenal on an ongoing basis.

However, if you blindly copy them, it’s unlikely that you will find much success for the 6 reasons that I’ve outlined in this post.

I urge you to determine whether you’ve made any of these mistakes in the past and to understand them so you don’t repeat them in the future.

If you avoid making these mistakes, you will find that the tactics you apply will work much better than they have in the past.

If you’ve made any of these mistakes, please share the details in a comment below. I think it’d be great for others to hear so that they can learn from them too.


  1. I certainly don’t make enough $$ from selling product on my website to quit and go to Costa Rica, but it’s a nice side product. And I really like how you pointed out that there’s nothing wrong with selling product, especially the one I focus on on my site. I use the product personally, have for years, really believe in it and know it can help others. So why should I be ashamed to sell it? It’s something I value and used way way before I even became a blogger. And I really believe that it can help people. Because after all, it helps me. And you nailed it, I’m than happy to buy products that work and pay for them. Even if it costs me. This is why I have 2 pairs of Ugg Boots, I live in a frigid environment and they work! (and look nice).

    • Even if you’re not making costa rica money yet, its great side income 🙂 Our world is full of noise and junk so your doing your audience a favor or service by curating and sharing something you genuinely like and use. No shame in that.

  2. Great article, as usual!

    A quick question: is the “one sentence = one paragraph” thing part of a new test on readability?

  3. Yes! I would add that things like opt-in rate numbers do not tell us as much as “they” think. It depends. Just because you remove the “name” field from an opt-in form and got more emails doesn’t mean you have increased the value of your company. Maybe people who don’t want to put their name in are not the right ones for your coaching, for instance. Meanwhile some people want to be known, and seen. And those people want coaching. If your business has anything to do with connecting with others, naked facts like email registration rate can lie to you! That’s just one example of why there is an art to this

    • Exactly Alan, otherwise it becomes robotic and not “human friendly”. People like to do business with people, not machines, so it’s up to you to create that experience

  4. Thiam Hock Ng :

    Hi Neil, you have written an article that I can totally resonate with.

    When I first started in digital marketing, I focused a lot on tactics. Referrals, giveaways, exit-intent popups, etc. I read lots of case studies, and form my own hypothesis on why certain tactics work without really understanding it.

    Eventually, I was overconfident with my ability. When I see that these tactics are not generating the results I want in terms of revenue, I have a wake-up call.

    The fundamentals of marketing hasn’t change over the past decades. It is always about the exchange of value to the right audience. To do that, we have to determine who are the right audience, what do they want, and how to reach out to them.

    The internet has made it way easier for us to do it today. There are new ways to find out who are the right audiences. We can test whether our methods of reaching is working.

    But the fundamentals just does not change.

    This article has cover some mistakes I am still making without noticing. So really thank you so much for the great article!

    • I think many core fundamentals like quality and consistency stay the same, but everything is changing in every moment. Learning is something we do daily, and for life, which most people tend to resist.

  5. Wow. I think you just summed up all the reasons why I’ve failed every online business venture I attempted over the past several years. You’re the first person I’ve read to point all of this out. You’ve just won a new loyal fan 🙂

    • Levi, I’m glad to have you on board. It sounds like you learned a lot of lessons 🙂 Good luck and keep hustling!

  6. Hey Neil,

    Another great post! Creativity is the key Here.

  7. It´s funny, i realized that i started smiling when i read through the article. i think i made nearly all the mistakes you mentioned 😉 and it took me nearly a year to find a way to get better. from the very beginning i choose the try and error way. i read every book that i could find and started seting up small experiments where i could proof my assumptions. even though i was a bloody rooky i could see what works and what not with small changes and then i got the lucky punsh where one of my content pages started getting traction. now i can live from my business with pure online marketing (core business is of course not online marketing but hardware maintenance) i need no sales team, just marketing 🙂 anyway i think that everyone has to go through these mistakes and stand up again and try something new. if you have the persistence and a playful mind to test things you can make it. thanks for your great article

    • Good for you Yusuf, I love to hear stories like that. Mistakes are inevitable, but as long as you keep moving forward, you are on your way to success.

  8. This is one of great article for internet marketers who follow others tactics blindly. I personally focus various marketers’ tactics before, but now I try to discover and apply my own tactics to keep my online marketing more fruitful for me. Thanks again for this valuable article

    • That’s the journey of life Al, you’l learn a bunch of things from a bunch of people and then make it your own

  9. Sounds like a great recipe! Can’t wait to try it on my kids tonight.

    Oh wait …

    No, really though. Great tips Mr. Patel. I especially liked #5

    It’s all about being REAL. I’ve made many successful contacts with silly email subject lines like “You need a new contributor and I’m him!” or “Sell me your website – Now!”.

    Don’t be white noise people.

  10. Hello Neil,
    Thanks for the great post as always.
    I think most of us needed that kick in the rear.
    Personally it has served me right to understand why a tactic works rather than the tactic itself.
    I’ve been reading several blogs to equip myself with new tricks with no traction at all.
    Thanks to you things are gonna be different.

    I’m fired up.

    • I’m happy to hear it Chris! Everyone needs accountability, even me. I get mine from the consistency I commit to with my readers.

  11. Louis Kennedy :

    Hey Neil,

    I actually love selling, but selling life changing products and services. Anyone who feels guilty about selling should stop using their iPhones or android and stop buy stuff from grocery stores, etc

    • I’m right there with you Louis. Selling is fun when the right intentions are there and something your enthusiastic about.

  12. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for sharing good post man.
    I have a question for you that it seems it’s a good idea for a handy post.
    How can you manage content marketing for several companies in the same industry with same objectives? and the following question is that, what are the strategies to not to run out of high quality content?

    Be awesome as always

    • 1. Use a project management software like basecamp. I think you will need a few writers to manage that.
      2. This IS the challenging part and the name of the game. In reality the strategy is for you to always hustle to find the best most relevant topics on a week by week basis.

  13. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around some of your concepts, Neil. My company does not sell PRODUCTS, only SERVICES. And those services are being offered to each and every person who has a home and furniture, not any particular audience type.

    That said, I’ve made some of those 6 mistakes and had tepid results. So, with you advice in mind, I’m going to rethink how to apply those principles to my marketing campaign. Thanks for the timely and informative post.

  14. I think that there are no shortcuts in life. You just have to do things in order to reap the rewards. And copying tactics will simply not work. You should just focus on your business and grow it.

    • Exactly Ivan, you need to do things that take you out of your comfort zone. Spend time working in your business and on your business.

  15. Hi Neil,

    As always, great content. But the thing that really caught my eye in this post was the fact that you have “Yes, let’s start the Free Course” twice on your sidebar (once as a button and once as a link). I assume that you A/B tested this and it boosted conversion rates? That’s awesome.

    How did you even think to test that?

    • I’ve done thousands of tests with businesses and with clients, so I implement the things that have worked for other people and see if it works for me.

  16. Eduardo Cornejo :

    Hey Neil,

    As always, amazing post. Sorry I have not being commenting much lately, but I am getting used to the whole clients thing, which means a lot more emails. I DO NOT know how you do it.

    That said, I love your mention of the importance of being first. As a certified personal trainer on calisthenics here in NY, but having a calisthenics blog in Spanish, I have realized that there is NO calisthenics certification in Spanish, which already has me writing a study guide type eBook, which will be sold along with exam questions for there to be one…the first one.

    I realized that I could have done many more things on the pre-launching of my online coaching plans, and I think my pre-launch for this will be a lot better. Hopefully out by summertime.

    Keep being awesome,


    • It’s all part of the hustle Eduardo, but it will become easier, especially as you become better. Good luck on your next launch!

  17. Vaibhav Pandey :

    I am impressed with the lines “It’s not enough to know how to use a tactic. You need to know why it works.” Really Neil, you are showing correct learning to all of marketers present here. I love to know more about first-mover advantage to become ahead in this competitive marketing to give the right choice to my customers.

    • Look for opportunities to combine the principles and properties of 2 or more industries together and you’ll have a brand new market you go after.

  18. Thanks!! Neil, for sharing such a detailed post really helpful for a new marketers like me

  19. Gayatri Mantra :

    Very interesting and extremely helpful. Applies to social media too. Thank you.

  20. Thanks Neil,for sharing such a great article.

  21. Hi Neil,

    In my experience there was a point when I felt that I should stop reading markeing blogs.

    This bogged me! First reason was because I did not get the results which made me feel that I don’t have enough knowledge (or don’t know enough tactics), and the other side I realised that reading blogs steals my precious time which I could use to test, analyze and come out with my own marketing tactics.

    I felt numerous times into this gap. It’s hard to realize somewhere deep inside that the type of change you need to go through. To succeed you need to shift your mindset from a copycat to becoming a master of your own craft.

    Successful marketers are masters of their own craft! They built tactics, products and consult beginners how to do the same.

    • It’s best to set aside some time each day to learn new things and sharpen your skills, that way it becomes a habit. Most people model or “copycat” their way up and then begin to learn how to put it all together to create something new

  22. Hello Neil

    How are you?

    Right you are, we started our site in the first week of January and we wrote our first post of 8507 words – after reading your post on how long a post should be. Sadly, we did not get any hits from the post – must be we must have written it the wrong way – no idea what is the right way – ‘coz we used the right keywords – and we did not keyword spam.

    So, you are right in saying that we are like 95% of business owners or marketers – we are not getting any business or any hits.

    As we told you last time Neil, we are a husband and wife couple from Mumbai, India and we just started our blog and hope to make it grow – to keep the fires at home burning – by blogging.

    Hopefully this post of yours will give us more meaningful insights.

    Thanks for sharing.


    • It’s not just about writing a post for the lenght, but created content that is intended to do something for the reader. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal reader and think about what you can do that would bring them joy or satisfaction in some way.

  23. Neil,

    Great article. I have few more questions
    1: You have mentioned only webinar and tools, Do you see any other trend which is not saturated like using Gif’s or any other?

    2: Don’t you think blogging itself has become saturated? People who start blogging today might not get the same advantage what people got in the last decade


    • 1. There are many others out there, like memes or instructographics
      2. I think some industries are saturated, but see opportunity in many different industries.

      The best time to start a blog is 10 years ago, the second best time is now 😉

  24. Non Profit Website Development :

    That was really a nice information ! Clearly explained..Thanks neil..

  25. Beanstalkwebsolutions :

    Hi Vee N Ric ,

    I just read your last comment, can you share how far your content has been reached? which country are you targeted?

    • Quicksprout is read in many countries around the world, but I primarily target the US. With my other site neilpatel.com, I have started to target countries like Brazil too.

  26. Neil,

    Thank you for this post, I have just started blogging and working towards creating a sustainable business doing so. These points that you make here are so very important for some one like me. I Thank you sincerely for sharing such amazing content always!


    • Good for you on building a sustainable business. Remember to stay consistent with your blog, that’ll be one of the keys you’ll need to achieve success.

  27. Patric Thomas :

    Tactics, a very interesting topic Neil, in a world of no end of Tactics, it’s really the Marketing elephant in the Room when it comes to business simply not understanding Marketing and I include myself, I am three years doing it full time and still don’t understand Marketing and the process apart from 1000 tactics that I have come across that invariably dont work simply because the reader doesn’t know that difference between “how” and “Why”? which brings me to my next question, is there anyone that can put marketing into a step by step process and put this mystery to bed?


  28. Hey Neil,
    very informative post. I am new to blogging, your tips are always helpful. I will make sure to avoid the mistakes you’ve summed up. Thank you for sharing.

    • It’s great to see you’re new and already learning how to guide yourself through the world of blogging. Good luck with your blog!

  29. Epic post! It’s like getting a Christmas treat every time I get an email arrive in my inbox about your next post. I’ll definitely bear this in mind as I start to build my audience more. I think influencer outreach is where I am at, but it’s helpful to know how to rephrase and refresh reach out emails to get a better response. Thanks so much!

    Jen x

    • All these are simply (and sometimes painfully), learning lessons that taking you 1 step closer to success. As you try things and get feedback, make adjustments and play around with it to see what you can make happen.

  30. You always have to tailor make everything

  31. Steve @ PTA Guide :


    As usual, fantastic post. Well written and extremely valuable. In my years of content marketing and affiliate marketing I have struggled balancing how much value I give and how much I ask for in return from my users/readers. In the past 2 years I have really made strides finding the right balance where I can grow my audience and my earnings, ultimately creating the most valuable website platforms that I have every built.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    • It’s an art Steve. It’s something you’ll be able to feel and notice as you do it. Obviously you don’t want to push every product to your list to buy, but you want to become clear with your intention. I’m glad this was valuable 🙂

  32. An enlightening read.

  33. Awesome post Neil!
    Wondering if there’s anyone to verify or tell if a niche is one where I will be competing with marketers?

    • Will, that’s something you will discover as you do your research and due diligence. See where they rank on google, notice how many shares people are getting, or how big their facebook followings are. As you begin to look for these things, you’ll begin to recognize the number of marketers and their level of sophistication

  34. Hello Neil,
    I enjoyed your 6 Mistakes Marketers Make When They Copy Tactics. Yes I have learned something valuable from the post.
    Thanks 🙂

    • That’s great to hear Sumon! As you begin to write copy, you’ll notice yourself needing to make decisions and choices of what to do. I hope learning tactics will guide you in the right direction.

  35. I appreciate this very much. Very detailed, clear and contains information I would need to implement. Thank you.

    • Implementation is usually the most challenging part at first Nik, but as you set aside some time to practice and work on your skills, you begin to see rapid improvement.

  36. Great wonderful post. In I will implement above things. Thanks Neil

  37. Thanks Neil, this is really useful. I am just starting out so I have definitely come across this article at the right time! I will be launching my first product relativity soon so I will make sure I do not get tripped up by any of these issues you mention. I decided to get myself a mentor to help guide me through the process, so I have that in my favor, but it is always great to hear other peoples experience and views – Thank You! 🙂

    • All of it just helps build your model of the world Vic, and a better understand of that will help you down the right direction

  38. Neil,

    At first, I though you were result oriented and doesn’t care about your audiences so I didn’t follow QuickSprout. But when I did, I realize what a great person you are. Your insights in each posts shine through and you just seem better and better.

    You even told us the main tactics you use and give a VERY realistic look at online marketing. Most of the time, you read so many posts that promises you too much. I just want to say how grateful I am that you wrote these posts. Thanks!

    • Anh, I think to be successful, you need a healthy balance and understanding of both sites. You want your business to be successful as a result of customers being happy with your work. I’m grateful to have you on board too.

  39. Jose Barreiro :

    Hi Neil,

    I really liked your article and really happy to see that I am going good at my work as per your article.

    Especially, the email template which you have mentioned is really a good one. I too also got the repeated email templates which totally seems like no one even has took a pain to change pattern.

    Thanks your article are really helpful and I am happy to being a regular reader of your blog.

    • Having a template helps save a lot of time, but it’s important to make sure it’s conversionatal.

      Jose, thank you for being a regular reader 🙂

  40. Putting a value on a free opt-in offer makes a lot of sense. Free always seems more attractive if the offer is valuable. Thanks!

    • It’ll make a huge difference with your conversion rate Cath. Since they are giving you their email and permission to contact them, they need to feel like they are getting something that’s worth their effort

  41. somnath banerjee :

    Thanks for the point 3 (opt-in conversion rates) what clears the bitter truth that only free does not attract traffic.

  42. Taranpreet Singh :

    Hello Neil Sir,
    This post clearly points out the general tactics & the associated flaws for developing a business online. What I liked the most is that your ‘first-mover’ advantage concept which I interpret differently to offer ‘Unique Offer’ to First Movers, my initial subscribers. Then there’s a simple tool to attract visitor’s attention.

    Everything from your end justifies the fact I’d once heard that ‘You’re an institute in yourself’.

    Thanks Sir!

    • I agree, it’s important even as a first move to give you audience something that’s unique as well as valuable.

  43. Abdulhaq Shah :

    As im looking for to adopt Social Media Marketing as my profession, this article really bring some new things to me. That how should i apply SMM for companies with whom i’m working. Which will definitely help the business to grow and my salary too.

    I’m following your content and learning something great.

    • I think you’ll really enjoy it Abdulha, it’s quite a rewarding experience, not mention flexible. Let me know if there’s anything specific I can help you with.

  44. @Neil Patel

    Putting a worth on a free pick in offer bodes well. Free dependably appears to be more alluring if the offer is profitable.


  45. Reading other blogs and ‘copying’ strategies is okay but you need to make sure it is relevant to your product. Use your own personal knowledge of your product to see if that strategy is going to make sense to generate traffic that leads to conversions.

    • Research your topic and collect all the data points. Then combine that research with your personal stories and experiences and turn that into a blog post.

  46. your blogs are always use full to me. it gives me great idea thanks for sharing your ideas.
    I love reading your blogs.

    • Thanks Sonali, I enjoy putting them together and I’m happy to hear you say that. Keep me posted on how things work out for you and if there’s anything specific I can help you with.

  47. Clancey McCray :

    I am incredibly impressed with the way every person who commented received a response. That deserves applause. This is the first of your posts I’ve read (a few months behind, granted) and now I am reconsidering all the reading I have been doing. I just started in digital marketing – traditional product marketing for 15 years did not QUITE prepare me for the giant leaps and bounds social/digital marketing makes daily. I am looking for ideas and how to speak to my audience – the old, very established industry of material handling – in a language they are just learning (this Internet thing). I think I have a great deal of “First mover” opportunity but need to do more research on my audience and what my competitors do first. Thank you very much for an amazing article.

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