Why online marketing strategies aren’t working for your biz… and what you could try instead.

Firstly, let’s put this to bed — you’re not a failure because your online course didn’t sell or your email list hasn’t grown or no one is engaging with your posts or you’re not running a six-figure business. So let’s stop with that narrative now.

The truth: the online landscape has changed dramatically. I’ve been in the online world for almost a decade. And what worked ‘back then’ just doesn’t work now – that’s the nature of the business world… it changes.

However, a lot of online business people are still teaching those conventional marketing strategies, telling us this is what you have to do to be ‘successful’.

While the online business world has changed… we, as online business owners, mostly haven’t – and it’s doing us a very big disservice. 

Can I ask you, do these conventional marketing strategies feel good to you? Do they feel good in your body?

Can I ask you, when you’re online, who are you connecting with and why? What are you looking for?


Here’s what I’ve noticed:

As online business owners, those marketing strategies feel disgusting… and yet, we keep doing them. And then we wonder why they don’t work. Then we turn on ourselves – “we must be failures”.

As consumers of online content, we’ve got smarter. We’re less inclined to give away our email addresses for freebies (because we know we’ll likely get hammered with sales emails – which we do NOT want). We’re also more energetically ‘in tune’. We know when something feels off or sleazy and we just don’t want a bar of it.

As purchasers, we’ve gone from perhaps loving the ease and accessibility of courses and services at our finger tips to craving more community, deeper connection and 1:1 time – we’re less inclined to purchase online programs and more inclined to want to work (or at least connect) 1:1.

Don’t you feel this way? I do. A quick survey of my friends tells me they do too. Conversations with my clients and a few emails to my audience, tells me they do as well.


So now what? 

It’s time to start doing things differently… I believe it’s about creating conscious connection. 

What’s conscious connection?

Conscious connection is a term I made up. Ha!

But this is what I mean when I say this:

Conscious connection is creating heart-felt, intentional, warm and generous connection with the people in your online community. The purpose is to understand who is in your audience and why they are there (what do they want from you?), ultimately to build trust, loyalty and authentic relationships.

I believe, conscious connection is the NEW success measure for online businesses. Without it, people don’t know us or trust us and they certainly don’t want to learn or buy from us.


How do we build conscious connection?

There are many creative ways to do this (why don’t you sit down with your journal and brainstorm out some…).

But to get the creative juices flowing, here are three simple things I have been doing in my business (and teaching my clients to do) – they work:


1. Create regular opportunities to connect intimately with your community, with no other agenda than connection.

People are tired of emails. They want to see your face, hear your voice, ask you questions, connect.

Some suggestions:

  • A regular meetup
  • An online workshop
  • An in-person event
  • A podcast (there is something about hearing your voice that creates intimacy and connection…)
  • A Facebook group
  • 1:1 short calls

My biggest tip here is to pick a connection platform that feels most energizing for you… not draining. If it’s draining or feels like effort, people will pick up on that and it’s not going to work.

For me, podcasting has been this AMAZING platform for building relationships. Most of my clients have found me through my podcast in one way or another…

For one of my most successful clients, she LOVES her free Facebook group which is thriving. Personally, I find free Facebook groups very draining so I know this platform is not for me but for her, it works.

Lately, I’m playing with the idea of running a free monthly business planning workshop via Zoom (I’ll report back on this later).

How can you create opportunities to intimately connect?


2. Pick 10 people from your mailing list and personally email them – do this every three months.

I look for people whose names are familiar or have been on my list for a long while. Send them a private email. Thank them for trusting you and being there. Ask them where they are at and if there’s anything particular they need your help with. Start a conversation. This will:

  1. Help you discover who is in your audience and where they are at in their own journey
  2. Give you ideas for content you can create
  3. Most importantly – when people hear from you personally, they feel cared for and nourished by you (hello conscious connection!).

If you don’t have an email list… look at Instagram or Facebook. Who likes or comments on your content regularly? Send them a private message.

Also, take care to really remember these people and what they are about. Follow them online. Comment on or like their posts. Find out what’s going on in their lives. Did they just quit their job? Do they have children? Did they just get married? Remember this stuff and ask about it. Show that you really care.


3. Stop forcing (tricking?) people to sign up to your email list with a freebie…

Okay, this is something new I’m trying but with AWESOME results.

At the start of this year, I created a special business mailing list. I popped a post up on social media letting my people know this new list existed. I also sent an email out to my other lists with the same invite.

I decided NOT to create a freebie, because I wanted people to join the list only if they really wanted to be there.

A few weeks later, one of my clients directed me to Dani Gardner’s teachings on mailing lists and it confirmed everything I had been thinking!

Let my statistics speak for themselves:


Business list (no freebie, people only join if they WANT to be here)

         Number of subscribers: almost 70

         Average open rate: 60-70%

         Average click through rate: 40-50%


Podcast list (people forced to signup to this list through a freebie and added to a ‘nurture’ email sequence)

         Number of subscribers: close to 1500

         Average open rate: 10-20%

         Average click through rate: 2-5%


Pretty big difference, huh?

Also, you know which list I love interacting with the most? My biz list, of course! Because the people there are engaged! And nothing feels better than sending content to people who actually want my emails.


There you go, why not give one or two of these a try?


The downfall of conscious connection?

Well, it takes time. I can’t promise you a six-figure business in 60 days, or email list growth of 1000 new subscribers or 2000 new Instagram followers. But is that what you really want?

What I can promise you is a loyal group of people in your community who love you, trust you, rave about you to others and, ultimately, really want to be there.

Alana x

  1. Jeff Licence

    Good on you Alana. I’m learning a lot from your approach with these posts (and from the content).
    Also living the van life groundedness interwoven throughout. You go girl!!
    Cheers Jeff

    • Alana Helbig

      Hi Jeff! Oh wonderful! I’m glad you’re finding this useful. 🙂 x


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