Last Friday for the first time ever, Pope Francis visited my neighborhood in the upper west side of New York City.  It was an historic event that I’m sure you saw and read about in every major media outlet.  For many New Yorkers, this was their first time to see the Pope in person so of course this event drew a very large crowd.

If we strip away the religion, the politics, and all the hoopla, there is an important lesson from the Pope’s visit that every business can use to improve their marketing.  I’ll give you a hint.  The Pope didn’t sit back and expect people to come to the Vatican; he went out to the people.

In other words, he met his fans where they were, rather than relying on everyone to come to him.  That’s marketing 101.  As business owners and marketers, we also need to go out of our way and meet our prospective customers where they are already hanging out online.  Don’t expect your prospects to go out of their way to find you; go out of your way to get in front them!

That leads us to an important question you need to answer.



Where Are Your Prospects Hanging Out Online?

For most businesses, there are multiple answers to this question.  Your prospects are likely:

  1. Searching in Google for information to answer to their questions
  2. Searching in Google to find the best product or service
  3. Surfing online for news, entertainment and information
  4. Surfing social media sites like Facebook and Twitter for news, entertainment and information
  5. Reading emails


If that’s where your prospects are online, then what does that mean for your marketing?  Does that mean you simply need to create a website and wait for everyone to visit?  Of course not!  Just like the Pope doesn’t sit in the Vatican and expect everyone to come to him.


How Do You Get Your Business In Front Of Your Prospects?

Once you have identified exactly where your prospects are hanging out online, then the answer to this second question becomes much easier.  If you know your prospects are searching in Google to answer their questions, then what could you do to get in front of them?  One idea is to create articles that answer frequently-asked questions and optimize each article for an individual question your prospects are searching for.

How about when your prospects are searching for your product or service?  Again, you can optimize your product or service pages to try to rank on the first page of Google.  Plus, you can advertise in the Google AdWords search network with a compelling offer.

If your prospects are reading articles on other websites, then you have even more options.  You could advertise in the Google AdWords display network with a compelling offer related to the article topics your prospects read.  Plus, many websites accept guest articles that you could publish for free.

To meet your prospects on social media you’ll need more than a profile; you’ll need engaging content that your prospects would want to read and share with their friends.

And finally, I mentioned that your prospects are reading emails, most likely on a daily basis.  This is one the best places to get in front of your prospects because it’s like a 1-on-1 meeting.  Think of it like having lunch with the Pope during his visit and it’s just the two of you so you have his undivided attention.  That’s why email is such a great marketing tactic.


Where Should You Start?

One of the reasons businesses struggle with digital marketing is because there are so many options.  It’s overwhelming when you list all the different tactics a business could implement, and that overwhelm often leads to inaction.

Again, we can take a page from the Pope’s playbook.  Think about how many different countries the Pope could visit.  Now that’s what I call overwhelming!  But that doesn’t stop the Pope from scheduling trips.  He adds a trip to his schedule and systematically visits the cities and countries on his long list of places he’d like to go.

That is the same approach we need to use in our marketing.  Don’t try to do everything at once.  Instead, pick one tactic to focus on and get set up before moving on to the next one.  It might take a while to get everyone set up, but hey, it also took a while before the Pope scheduled his visit to New York! :)