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What’s Working Now: Top 10 Must-Know Marketing Insights to Grow Your Business in 2020

Things are falling apart online.

At least it feels that way for a lot of people.

So many marketing techniques we relied on — the stuff that worked like gangbusters — are no longer generating subscribers, sign ups and sales like they used to.

Self-paced courses, email marketing, affiliate marketing and fully automated “set it and forget it” sales funnels are missing the mark — BIG time.

The truth is that things are changing fast and you may be feeling anxious and maybe even a little scared right now.

But here’s what I want you to know…

Change equals opportunity when you work with what’s working now.

And that’s what today’s post is all about 🙂

It’s basically your no B.S. 10-point guide to what’s working online now and what you need to know to grow your business in 2020.

#1 The Death of Reviews

People are paying less and less attention to reviews on Amazon and other platforms.

It’s the same with testimonials on websites or sales pages and here’s why… 

No one believes them.

Trust is down the toilet and audiences have started doing their own research.

They’re asking around about you and they’re talking to people they know about your work and your reputation.

So if reviews and testimonials are out, how can you establish your credibility? How can you let people know you’re the real deal?

Ask for referrals.

Reach out to satisfied clients and customers to ask if they’re willing to refer you to their friends and associates.

Make this one of your top marketing strategies. 

It’s a simple, effective way to spread the word and fuel the “word-of-mouth engine” in a way that will build trust and help you rapidly (and organically) grow your customer base.

#2 Really Short Video

The meteoric rise of TikTok marks the beginning of the era of really short videos.

And just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about…

TikTok is a wildly popular social video app that lets you record yourself doing pretty much anything you want for 15 seconds.

Doesn’t sound like much but TikTok was THE most downloaded App in 2019.

Here’s what that says to me…

Videos that appeal to online audiences, videos that get viewed all the way to the end, videos that get comments and shares are videos that are short. 

Maybe even super short.

So, when it’s your turn to get in front of the camera do the smart thing and keep it short and simple.

Aim for less than 10 minutes. Anything longer and you run the risk of being ignored. 

#3 Mobile First, Desktop Second

Here’s your mission should you choose to accept it:

Go outside, set a timer, then track how long it takes to spot someone checking their phone or some other mobile device. 

I’m willing to bet my future puppy (I’ve been thinking of getting a puppy for years!) you can’t go 5 minutes — maybe even 1 minute — without seeing someone looking at their phone or tablet. 

The truth is people are on their phones almost all the time so here’s a marketing mantra I want you to adopt right here, right now: 

Design for mobile first, desktop second. 

The majority of websites visits, sign ups and sales are now coming directly from mobile devices… 

And the smartest thing to do is to make it as simple and easy as possible for people to access all of your content on their phones or tablets.

Break this rule and you’re looking at missed sales and lost opportunities.

Definitely not what we want!

# 4 Social Media or Die!

People have been talking about the death of email marketing for years so let’s set the record straight…

Email is not dead (at least not yet!) but it’s definitely not the marketing powerhouse it used to be.

The truth is you can no longer depend on email to build a profitable online business in the long-term.

Email deliverability and engagement continues to decline every year and as younger generations start to ignore email altogether, social media has taken its place as the #1 marketing channel.   

And if you happen to hate being on Facebook or Instagram or any of the other platforms, it’s time to bury the hatchet.

Let bygones be bygones and make friends with social media 🙂

If you don’t, you’ll probably see much slower growth and a significant drop in sales (check out this post if you’re looking for a super simple social media strategy that works) 

#5 The Return of Audio 

So a lot of people love videos especially short videos (see #2) but here’s the thing…

Even the shortest video demands your full attention.

Think about it..

You can’t drive your kid to school and watch a training video at the same time.

You can’t do the Downward Dog on your Yoga mat and watch a Livestream on Facebook (well, most people can’t!).

But audio is a whole other story.

People love doing more than one thing at a time and that’s where audio has video beat.

Podcasts, books on audio and audio trainings are on the rise and it’s because people like to listen and drive, listen and run on the treadmill, listen and do the dishes.

Bottom line?

More and more people are shifting to audio as their preferred channel for online education and entertainment and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

So if you’ve been thinking of creating audio trainings, doing a podcast tour or sharing content on audio, now’s a great time to make it happen.

#6 Ditch the Transactional Mindset

Back when I first started my business in 2011, anyone who was anyone in internet marketing was talking about one thing more than anything else…

How to get new customers and clients.

Fast forward to today and getting new customers has taken a back seat.

Right now, you need to be doing something far more important if you plan to be around for more than a year or two…

You need to play the long game.

At Live Your Message, we’re acting as if anyone who buys from us — whether it’s a $17 or $17K product — will be an active customer for at least 3 years.

And so we’re supporting them in a way where we’re less worried about immediate profit and investing in the long-term relationship with the customer.

Playing the long game is about getting out of the one and done transactional mindset.

It’s about taking action in your business based on lifetime customer value where it’s not just about getting paid in the here and now but building real relationships and lasting loyalty with every one of your customers so they come back to you again and again.  

#7 Zero Tolerance for Shi$ty Products

When online businesses started to gain traction in the late 90s and 2000s, a lot of people jumped on board thinking they could get in on some sort of “get rich quick” scheme.

They built businesses on the fly, churned out crappy content and created shit$y products just to make a quick buck and people accepted it.

But that was then.

Today’s audiences are a lot more sophisticated and they’re demanding more for their money than ever before.

More high-touch, more value, better quality, more live support, and (much) better results from the courses and programs they invest in.

So here’s the deal…

People have zero tolerance for shit$y products right now and you need to do what it takes to help your students and customers get the results they’re looking for.

Deliver on your promises or risk ruining your reputation and your business… for good.

#8 The X-Figure Burnout

Most online entrepreneurs can remember when pretty much every marketing message on the internet included the term “6-figures” or “7-figures”  or whatever it happened to be.

This was back when just about everyone who had a business online seemed like they were borderline obsessed with vanity numbers.

But those days are gone.

Now, more and more people are happy to take their time and build a business that’s fully aligned with their values. 

They don’t care as much about hitting “6 or 7 or 8-figures” as they do about building a business that’s designed around their life — not the other way around. 

They want a business that showcases who they truly are and how they want to show up in the world.

And they’re not responding to coaches, businesses owners and service providers who are just about the money.

So if you’re still riding the “X-figure” train in your headlines, email subject lines, and marketing messages I recommend that you hop off…


#9 The Guru is Off the Pedestal

Not too long ago, making it big online was just a numbers game — the bigger the number, the bigger your audience, the stronger your credibility.

But things are changing. 

Audiences are tired of self-proclaimed experts who don’t deliver and they’re ready to take the “guru” with a million followers, off the pedestal. 

Right now, people want authentic connection and conversation.

They want meaningful engagement and results-based expertise from their mentors, coaches, teachers and service providers.

So forget the numbers.

Forget about “collecting” subscribers on email and followers on social media and start investing your energy into building a rock-solid reputation and relationship with the audience you have audience. 

Focus on sharing high-value content and delivering products that create real results…

And the numbers will “magically” take care of themselves 🙂 

 #10 Radical Self-Expression

I can’t say this enough… 

If you try to be anything other than yourself, if you try to fit in, if you’re part of the pack…

It could be the end of your business. 

Here’s the thing…

There are literally billions of websites online. 

There’s more content, more noise, more everything on the internet right now than at any other time in history

And the only way to stand out and be heard, seen and understood is to be YOU.

So practice being honest and authentic in your marketing.

Find your voice, cultivate your style and add your unique energy to every piece of content you share with your audience.

This is what I like to call radical self-expression and it’s the key to building a profitable, thriving business that stands the test of time (I’ll be going deep on radical self-expression in an upcoming blog post series… watch this space!). 

A lot is shifting online and it can be super scary but here’s what I know about navigating change…

Welcome it. Embrace it. Enjoy it.

Change is not a death sentence (staying still or doing the same thing over and over again is)

Change is a chance to expand and explore. 

It’s an invitation to innovate and experiment with new ideas.

It’s an opportunity to build a stronger, more profitable business in 2020, 2021 and beyond.

And if you’d love expert guidance and a strong community that can support you as you navigate the changes and opportunities that are in store for you this year… 

I’d love for you to join us at Message to Money Live where I’ll be sharing more insider secrets and insights on how to rapidly grow your business in 2020 and beyond.

You’ll walk away with a crystal clear 1-page roadmap on how to share your message, magnetize ideal customers and inspire more people to invest more money, more often 🙂

Early Bird tickets are almost gone…  last chance to save $200!

Over to you…

Which of these 10 marketing insights surprised you the most?

Share in the comments below… I’d love to know!

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Ambreen Ihsanullah Avatar
    Ambreen Ihsanullah

    Marisa I wrote in EPM review how much I appreciated your honesty genuineness and strong intention to support and give great value to your clients who are even just on a $2000 package. What you’ve written here just shows me that you are definitely following your own advice in your business. Having spent too much money on coaching that didn’t do much for me and my business I really appreciate the tools that I have received from the E PM class.

    The only suggestion I would have for the coaching is that while the Wednesdays were great for group coaching the individual feedback through Milestones docs was not as effective and supportive and so when you’re paying coaches to do what they do it might be worthwhile to come up with another system that provides more one on one discussion opportunity Like 15 minute laser coaching on the phone or through zoom a few times to establish niche etc. which requires some discussion.
    In a business where there is so much competition you stand out with sincere solid support for your clients. And I so APPRECIATE YOU AND MURRY and what you are putting out there in the world.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Aww thanks so much Ambreen! I hear you, of course 1:1 coaching would be more valuable than written support. However, to provide private coaching calls we would have to increase the price of the program to $2997 (from $1997) for us to still make some profit. It’s a very expensive program to deliver and as is we give way more than what people are paying for. We try to balance affordability and impact. We do offer private coaching like what we’re you’re asking for in our yearlong Mentorship programs. You may want to check those out here: 🙂

  2. Rich Snowdon Avatar
    Rich Snowdon

    This post makes me very happy. I love going deep. When I hear a guru say, “I’ve worked intimately with 10,000 clients around the globe,” all I can think is BS.

    I’ve got a couple clients I’ve worked with for many years because they keep taking on bigger challenges. They keep asking more of themselves, which means I have to keep asking more of myself to keep up. Some days it can be daunting, but most days, what a great ride.

    Also I’m a bit of an odd one, as I would guess many creative people are, so when it comes to radical self-expression, I’m all in.

    I’m so thankful for your guidance. You’re my #1 go-to person for all things marketing. Which seems strange to some people because I coach nonprofit leaders and activists. But the nonprofit mindset can be limiting. I see so many leaders hiding their light under the bushel, when the world needs exactly what they have to give.

    I gave a dear friend, who’s spent her life in nonprofits, $200 toward signing up for EPM as a birthday present. She loved it. I recommended Live Your Message Live to another friend, who’s done amazing, one-of-a-kind work for 30 years, and she went and saw exactly how she could have much bigger influence on the issues she cares so deeply about.

    Best wishes!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Wow thanks so much for sharing my work with your friends Rich!

      I spent almost 4 years in the non-profit world so I get it. What we’re talking about here are universal marketing and positioning strategies that apply as long as you’re seeking more influence and impact.

      Will I be seeing you at Message to Money in March? If you like our work virtually, wait until you see it live! 🙂

  3. Heather Fox Avatar
    Heather Fox

    I like the comment ‘You need to play the long game.’ That is a game changer for me and refreshing to know that the time has come when long term planning may be the key to a strong and profitable business. Looking forward to Message to Money Live!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Totally Heather! Not sure how or why business ever stayed from that approach, but welcome back, right?

  4. Johnnie Urban Avatar
    Johnnie Urban

    I can’t say enough about how spot on this message is.
    I myself have been seeing these trends although I never knew what TikTok was until now. It makes total sense.
    #4 stricks a cord with me as I’ve been seeing that my followers ignore my emails but respond on SM quicker and with better interaction.
    #5 Use of audio. I myself have a hard time with the video for the same reason you posted AND because I am highly visual I have to close my eyes to absorb the info on the video. So it better be a really short and to-the-point video.
    #8 So happy the unrealistic X-figuire- in a year is dead.
    #10 Authenticity. Being You. The main component in my public speaking program. I didn’t know how important it was until I interviewed people asking them what they wanted as a speaker. This one word came from every single person.

    Marisa, you are so spot on!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thanks Johnnie! I love how you have such specific takeaways from this… 🙂 Based on how you showed up in EPM, I have no doubt you’re going to put these to use!

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