Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Why digital marketers must be okay with constant rejection and how to deal with it

You might be interested in this article if you are a:

  • Chief marketing officer 
  • Social media marketer 
  • Email marketer
  • Paid campaigns strategist
  • Digital strategist

I would probably be sick to my stomach if I had to publicize every single instance of me being rejected:

  • Happy to speak at the conference! No, thank you. 
  • I can do that job. Hire me. Overqualified. Under qualified. Too expensive. (Nobody has ever said “too cheap.” Ha.)
  • I can consult with you on that. Sorry, we don’t hire vendors. Vendors – ugh. I’m looking to partner actually. 
  • When people unsubscribe from my email list and leave a reason why. 
  • I was up all night with this idea! Ready to hear it? Sorry, no time to listen. 
  • Nobody is clicking my ad!

And the list goes on and on. Digital marketers and their campaigns get ignored all the time. The list of reasons can be long. And often it’s justified. The message might be off or the timing isn’t right. 

Related: How to deal with churn

The stuff some marketers share and how they contact us is just lame. I was speaking at a conference and got all kinds of email inviting me to other sessions. 

The emails weren’t personalized at all other than the “Hi Christoph” and most were highly irrelevant. I wasn’t even staying for the conference and the topics pitched weren’t even of interest to me for the most part. Just an example and many others exist.

And often rejection comes in the form of ignoring our campaign. At least ignoring us stings less than telling us why our campaign stunk.

How many people saw it is indeed a success metric, but then how many had a negative reaction like unsubscribing or hiding a social media post, for example? People seeing our content builds the top of the marketing funnel.

And obviously we want people to take action, but that number is small compared to all readership. And then some of those aren’t even ready to buy that second. 

I once worked on a project where a ton of people were unsubscribing from an email list. Many left comments. That didn’t feel good. At all. Ugh. We have a problem!

But diving deeper, there wasn’t much of a problem at all by the industry standard. It was actually quite low percentage-wise, but given that the list was super huge the unsubscribes hurt. 

Related: Regarding the “industry standard”

I get rejected often and of course many of those rejections sting and are vague. But the way to get more yeses is to also get more nos. Digital marketing is a numbers game!

Kind of like this;

  • 100 targeted emails sent out 
  • 90 nopes of one variety or another 
  • 10 want to hear more right then 
  • 1 is maybe ready to buy something. Maybe. 

And that one person buying something could be my book. So I just made $9.99. Wait $2.97 after Amazon takes its cut. 

But then every once in a while that one person wants to buy a big ticket item. And the bigger the top number the bigger the conversions. 

And sometimes that one person wasn’t on the list at all. They found you by searching for something on Google, which is why the ongoing sharing of unique and relevant stories and expertise is so important. 

In fact most of my own homerun projects come in that way. Some come in the other way, but it’s really just building the base to allow people who are looking for us.

There’s a mix of outbound and inbound to make it work. 

Despite rejections keep on it:

  • Send emails when relevant and when the occasion arises 
  • Invite people to events 
  • Connect with people on social media 
  • Keep posting relevant things on social media. That’s an easy way to stay connected and in front of prospects

Rejection – as much as it hurts – is part of the game of digital marketing. 

  • Be aware of it.
  • Evaluate what – if anything – can be learned from it.
  • Adjust. 
  • Keep going. 

Don’t overreact or underreact. Give it the right amount of attention. But no matter what: Do not stop pushing for relevance, connections and business. I’ve never seen a digital marketing campaign that was stopped and works. 

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Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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