Leveraging “Dead” Growth Channels

Play episode

Every week, every month, every quarter something else is declared dead according to the gurus of the world.

But is it really?

In this episode, we breakdown the myth that is “dead channels” and how marketers can leverage them to supercharge their marketing results.

In this lightning round we’ll learn:

  • The three categories of dead channels
  • The step-by-step method to discovering dead channels you can leverage
  • And how to use them to drive results

Le’ Episode:

Talia Wolf: Let’s talk about dead channels Ross.

Ross Simmonds: Oh, every week, every month, every quarter something else is dead according to the gurus of the world.

Talia Wolf: Right… Content is dead, SEO is dead. Numerous people have said marketing is dead, right? Like everything. Everything at some point. I guess if you… the only way to be consider as something valuable is when someone says, you’re dead, right? It’s the same to do with like celebrities, I guess.

Ross Simmonds: It’s true. It’s true. It’s the exact same as celebrities. I mean we all see the celebrities when they create a great album, it doesn’t get any love until after they pass away. But I recall recently even coming across something that said podcasts are dead, but here we are and-

Talia Wolf: Oh, no.

Ross Simmonds: … all of our friendly listeners listening to this but it shows you, you can’t really trust what all of the gurus are saying all the time.

Talia Wolf: Right. I mean, at any given chance people are going to say that something’s dead.

Ross Simmonds: Right. I think some of them do it with good intentions. I don’t think everybody’s doing it with the idea of, oh, I think this thing is actually a thriving place but I don’t want anyone to use it. Oftentimes I think folks are just scared to use these channels or they’ve had a bad experience in their world of using this channel and because of that, because they weren’t able to find success, they believe that channel is dead.

A lot of the people who preach that organic is dead, don’t even know what organic traffic means. Right? If they preach that SEO is dead, they might not believe in backlinks. They might not believe in understanding anything about meta descriptions or the factors that go into ranking. The challenge is that oftentimes you have to know what got that person to a position where they said that this channel was dead.

Talia Wolf:I think one of my most high converting subject lines in an email was, Rand Fishkin says SEO is dead.

Ross Simmonds: That it would, right? I bet that’s the type of thing that people would be all over. Anytime you can get someone like Rand to say SEO is dead, bet for sure people are going to listen.

Talia Wolf: Right. So for the folks at home or driving or in the office, tell us what would you consider a dead channel? Let’s give us… let’s give people an example of something that is considered today a dead channel.

Ross Simmonds: So there are so many of them and I think it oftentimes really depends on the specific industry. A lot of industries are going to have channels that are specifically considered dead amongst their audience, but they’re not actually dead. We’ll dive into that a little bit further.

But a great example of this would be like Facebook groups, right? For years people have talked about how Facebook groups aren’t the thing to use for business. Facebook groups are meant for people who are trying to talk about their knitting or talk about a local community event. It is all of those different things, but Facebook groups actually have surprisingly become a great driver of business for lots of organizations.

Ross Simmonds: A lot of brands who would traditionally have been told all you need is a Facebook page, you don’t need a group, you don’t need to have a profile within that group. You just need to embrace having a Facebook page and you’ll be okay. That whole concept has been flipped on its head and people who have embraced Facebook groups have actually been able to see a significant amount of results because they’ve taken that step to go against the norm where everyone said Facebook groups are dead and they’ve actually been able to find some decent success from it.

You’ve been able to be a great example of this, tell everyone a little bit around your own experience with Facebook groups and how while this channel is considered dead for many you’ve been able to use it to grow your business and build a closer connection with some of your customers and clients.

Talia Wolf: Yeah, 100%. When it comes to B2B, most advice out there is don’t use Facebook. But we actually created a Facebook group called, We Optimize and I actually, when I started it, it was a place to allow people to just ask anything, any question that they have about conversion optimization. So anything to do with landing pages, emails, funnels, things that they just want answers to. Maybe they want someone to review, maybe they want feedback, maybe they just have a question and I wanted to create a place for anyone who is doing… putting a landing page to be able to ask these questions.

Talia Wolf: Over the time we’ve created a very interesting community because people are helping each other out, they’re reaching out to each other, they are actually partnering up on on different things and they’re promoting each other. So it’s super cool. Of course, this has also been a major way for us to reach out to our listeners, to our readers and tell them about new initiatives that we’re putting out, new courses, new content that’s coming out. It’s always been a great way for us to drive more business, whether if it’s just growing the relationship with our customers or clients or whether it’s to get people to actually buy into our content and be interested in it.

Ross Simmonds: So for some folks who are listening to this and they’re thinking, why are they talking about dead channels and what in the world are they talking about? Are they talking about UFC? Are they talking about FOX, CNN? What are they talking about when they say dead channels?

Ross Simmonds: let’s break down for folks, what we’re really talking about when it comes to dead channels. So a channel in particular is any way in which you can reach your audience, right? That could be TV. Yes, even traditional channels like TV are what we’re talking about here. It could be podcasting, it could be Facebook, it could be Twitter, it could be LinkedIn, it could be TikTok, it could be Reddit, it could be a forum, it could be GoodHub, it could be Slack, it could be anything. Any way in which you can reach your audience to drive meaningful and measurable results through marketing is considered a channel and when the gurus start saying that it no longer works, that’s when it’s considered a dead channel.

3 types of dead channels

Ross Simmonds:

#1 The channel that your competition ignores.

These are channels where your audience may be spending time, your audience may be engaged on a regular basis, but your competition believes that by just being there it’s not going to scale, it’s not going to work for them. When I think about this, I oftentimes think about things like Quora.

Quora is a great channel where people go to get answers to their questions, but oftentimes organizations avoid it because it is very hard to scale the idea of answering questions on a regular basis to people who are asking things within a certain niche. So that is a channel that is considered dead by many but is actually quite active when you dive into the different niches and the different sub-communities.

#2 Channels that have been around for decades and decades.

Things like Forums. Forums are one of the OGs of the internet. They’ve been around from the time of the beginning of Netscape, et cetera. Forums are for the most part, not really changing in terms of how they operate, you reply to people, you have conversations with people you can stay anonymous, et cetera. Those channels are for the most part, oftentimes considered dead in a lot of different industries.

#3 Channels that are rarely getting press

The ones that people don’t talk about that often. It’s when everybody is talking about TikTok, everybody is talking about Snapchat, yet we’re ignoring the fact that Reddit is one of the most frequently visited websites on the web, right? Those are what are considered dead channels, but mainly just because the press have ignored them.

So those are some of the different categories of dead channels. But you might be wondering, okay, that’s great, now I get a good sense of, okay, these are the things I should be looking for, but how exactly do I go about finding these channels? I think you had some insight Talia around like, okay, how can people find these channels?

How to discover dead channels you can leverage

Talia Wolf: Yeah, definitely. So there is a bunch of ways that you can find dead channels.

  1. Now, one of my favorite ways is of course talking to your customers and your clients and learning about their habits and where they spend their time and just understanding what they’re doing actively on their day to day lives. Sometimes they’re in certain groups as you mentioned, sometimes they’re on different forums. Reddit is a channel that is usually declared as dead because people find it very complex or scary so they don’t use it. But you may find out by talking to your customers, by interviewing them, by surveying them, that that’s where they spend their time. So by actually talking to your customers or interviewing them, you can find out what they’re doing. So listen to what they’re telling you.
  2. But there are other ways you can go about it. So another thing you can do is go into Google Analytics and what you want to do is check out the channels that people are coming from. Now obviously the sources are going to be the ones that you know, so maybe your PPC, maybe it’s paid, maybe it’s organic but there’s also going to be all sorts of referral sites and all sorts of different channels that you may not be aware of and that’s a great place to start looking at.
  3. Another way you can do that is basically browsing the web for the perspective of your own audience. So essentially going down these rabbit holes. So if you find a cool Facebook group where your audience is at, start looking and reading into the frets, the comments that they’re making. Then start just going down that rabbit hole, finding the different links, the forums that they’re mentioning, the different websites they are coming from, the articles that they’re sharing. Just become that person behind the screen and start following their puff.

Talia Wolf: Those are three great ways to get started by finding those dead channels. So say we have figured out what the dead channels are, we’ve looked into all this data, we’ve followed the rabbit hole, we’ve talked to customers, we’ve looked at Google Analytics, we have an idea of what these dead channels are and we figured out that, I don’t know, is our community where we want to be or maybe it’s Quora that we need to… maybe it’s even Pinterest that we need to be on. What do I do next?

So I’ve found a dead channel, Ross. Now what?

Ross Simmonds: Yeah, so what I think is one of the most important things to understand is when you do find that dead channel, it’s all about finding ways to give value to the people who are on those dead channels. So if you’ve identified that yes, your audience are spending time on a specific channel, what I always recommend folks do is to actually reverse engineer the content that worked well on those channels, in those communities and amongst the people who are there.

Once you have an understanding of the type of content that people want on these channels, you have what I call a content user fit. When you have that content user fit where you know the content that the users of this channel want, it’s time to try and deliver that back to them.

Ross Simmonds: So one of my favorite examples, and we talked about this briefly, is forums. I love forums. People think they died in the ’90s but they’re still very much alive. What I love about forums is you get people who are clearly there because they’re passionate and interested in a specific niche or specific industry. If you can create content that connects with these people, that adds value to the lives of these people and they’re your target audience, it can play a massive amount of dividends for your company longterm.

So the same thing that exists in that lens happens in Facebook groups. The same thing that I’m talking about here happens in Slack communities. While all of these are different channels, they all still at it’s core surround around this idea of communities. If you can find these dead communities and you can add value to them, I believe that you will get value back.

Ross Simmonds: One of the things that I’m sure you can attest to is the worst type of person to get into your Facebook group is someone who goes in and they’re always talking about me, me, me, me, me, buy from me, check out my funnel, check out this blog post I wrote, check out this great guide I created. Nobody likes that person, but the person that we do like in a Facebook group is the person who sees other people asking questions, they go in, they answer that question with tons of value. So if somebody is asking the question in a Facebook group, how can I get through a tough time for my business?

We all appreciate that person who responds to that question and they not only provide them with resources from third parties, they’re giving an empathetic view of how they’re applying their knowledge to a certain circumstance or how they’re adapting. They’re providing you with additional value on top of just selling themselves. Those are the people that you want to emulate when you’re going into these communities. You don’t want to be the person going into these communities sell, sell, sell, sell, sell. You want to go into these communities and add value.

Pro tip for leveraging forums:

One quick tip that oftentimes is overlooked is when it comes to forums, I believe there’s probably a forum for every industry, every space that you can consider. If you go to Google and you type in your industry or your niche and the word forum, it is a very high probability that you will uncover a community or a forum that is related to you. If you type in real estate forum, if you type in a marketing forum, if you talk about a growth forum, a conversion optimization forum, whatever it is that your space is, I can promise you that there is some type of community out there that is relevant to you.

Ross Simmonds: Now, make sure that you read the rules, you understand the regulations of any forum or community that you’re jumping into before you start to submit your content and start submitting your links, et cetera. Read the rules, understand the content that has risen to the top and then become a part of the conversation where you add value consistently throughout that community.

Talia Wolf: I love all of this and I definitely want to go back to when you were speaking about the fact of being a contributor first, being there to help other people. I think that the best way to think about this whole thing is that when you go to a conference and you walk up to someone and you shake their hand, you don’t automatically, or maybe you do, but you should stop, you don’t automatically-

Ross Simmonds: It’s true.

Talia Wolf: … start looking into someone’s eye and going like, so my name is Talia Wolf and I do one, two, three and four and I’ve got this for you. I mean, okay, some people may do that and maybe they’ll get a sale here and there, but if you are the person that walks up to someone in a room and locates that person who’s standing there alone who maybe isn’t in a group and you introduce yourself and you ask them a question and you query and show interest to what they’re doing, that is a form of a real relationship and that’s where people would be far more inclined to listen to anything that you have to say when you’re ready to start offering anything to them.

Talia Wolf: As I was saying, Reddit is a very good example of that because many, many people are up to say that Reddit is a dead channel. But I can definitely attest to the fact that we have had so much success with Reddit over the years. I think I’ve been using Reddit for more than seven years now as a channel. The reason it works so well for us is because we dedicate a lot of time to it. We answer people’s questions and we put a lot of effort into it. I read a ton of questions, I answer a lot of questions, I recommend other people and when I go in and I post something that I want people to look at, I don’t just post in a link and say, hey, check this out, I write down an entire intro to it explaining why I put it together for this specific community, how I think they’re going to get value from it and benefit from it.

Talia Wolf: So it’s all about showing the value and really putting people first and not yourself. I think that’s obviously a rule for business anywhere, that when you’re thinking about these channels, you want to think about where you can drive that value wherever it is, whatever channel it is. So definitely as you said Ross, you’ve got to read the rules, you’ve got to study the content that they’re using and always remember to be an active part of that community and care and not just be there to spread the word of your amazing solution as amazing as it may be.

Ross Simmonds: I love that. I think folks are going to get a lot of value out of this episode entirely. 100% folks, if you are listening and you have listened for the whole episode, I need to promise you this, dead channels are not an investment that you should walk away from, they are something that you need to fully embrace and when you do hear a guru, when you do hear someone preaching at the top of their lungs that a channel is dead, do not buy into the hype, run your own experiments, run your own race, and leverage the fact that while many think it’s dead, it may very well be alive.

Talia Wolf: So as usual guys, we would love to get some five star reviews from you and also join us in our Facebook group, Action Driven Podcast so that you can ask us all your questions and let us know if there’s any topics you want us to cover, any tips that we can offer.

Ross Simmonds: See you inside.

Hosted by
Ross & Talia
Join the discussion