My Thoughts On The Current State of Online Marketing and What I Believe The Solution Is To The Current Epidemic

By Oli Luke

As you know, I spend a lot of my time and focus on online marketing.

For the past three years, it’s taken 90% of my focus as I’ve worked to be one of the leading strategists on advanced marketing strategies.

Being in the trenches, I’ve worked hands-on with seven “Marketing Manager” clients, running their marketing on their behalf.

These businesses vary, with the smallest being at £300k/year, up to £2.5m/year.

It’s fair to say, I get to see what works and what doesn’t.

But here’s my concern …

Over the past 18 months, there has been a steep decline in many of the stats that we run our marketing based on.

It’s more expensive to get a lead, the engagement with new leads is lower and communication is becoming difficult.

It almost feels like online marketing (especially in the ‘expert’ space across the board) is taking a real hit …

… and it makes total sense, when you think about it.

I’ve said it for a while, but this whole ‘Expert’ industry is a bubble that is going to pop.

It became an almost sexy business that has lured many in (including myself ) … but it’s resulted in a market full of clowns that under deliver, oversell and don’t have two brain cells to rub together.

It seems that every time I scroll down my Facebook newsfeed, I find myself cringing at adverts, claims and desperation for attention.

These adverts then drive people to the same predictable page, it’s usually a terribly-thrown together lead-magnet … once opt-ing in for this, you’re then hit over the head with a brick via email until you give them £7.00 for another terrible resource.

It’s painful.

The end-user has just grown tired and disillusioned by it.

This means that when you put your advert up (although it’s much better, much more helpful and you’ve got the best intentions) – you get labelled as part of the idiot brigade.

Your CPC on Facebook is through the roof, it’s costing much more to get somebody to opt-in … and then when you do get them on your email list, the open-rates on their emails are lower than I’ve ever seen before.

Apple have just canned remarketing across Safari browsers (giving the stats a huge hit) and reaching your prospects is becoming difficult.

Overall, it’s becoming a bit of a blood-bath.

Now, the reason that you’ve followed me and subscribed to ‘Expert Club Monthly’ is because you want to know the advanced stuff to avoid being caught in this trap …

… and I’ve tried my best to help you be in the top 5% of the market. But I’m truly concerned about the current state of online marketing. Allow me to back up my rant with some stats.

Email Marketing

Client One

One of my longest standing clients sells information to the property industry, he’s been very successful doing it and we’ve created some massively successful funnels.

In March – April 2016, we ran an advert to his free eBook that generated these results:

We got over 2,000 leads at £1.27 each, with just 290,537 impressions (number of times the advert was shown).


This was when Facebook was a great place to buy traffic and wasn’t saturated by idiots.

We recently ran the same advert – with some updates – and here’s the results it has generated since August up to today.

We’ve generated 3,449 leads at a mighty £7.71 per lead.

That’s 507% more to generate a conversion.

But look at the impressions!

The ad was served 2.7m times in order to get the 3,449 leads (0.012% converted).

Compare that to last year’s 290k impressions for 2,192 leads (0.75% converted).


I can give you a host of other examples, but this is pretty average.

At the very least, the cost to acquire a lead has doubled (and that’s with all the fancy ninja tricks).

Email Marketing

The next problem is the decline in deliverability and open-rates of email marketing.

If you’re not familiar, deliverability is the % of the emails that you send that actually get delivered.

Believe it or not, but if you’re sending through popular CRM systems, then 10-20% of your emails won’t land in the inbox.

This number is increasing.

Gmail introduced their “Promotions” tab a few years ago, and many leading email providers have followed.

I only expect this to get tighter and more difficult to land in the inbox as email becomes over-populated and they try to make it a more personal experience, once again.

But email-rates are easily measureable (and a concern).

They’re down across all seven of my clients’ businesses based on the past few years.

But to give you a clear understanding, let me show you the stats from my own business.

You know that I send good consistent emails, so you wouldn’t think that my open-rate would suffer, right?

Wrong …

Here’s a screenshot of some broadcast emails I sent in May 2016.

Average open-rate for these is 24%.

Want to see the average results of the last ten emails I’ve sent (at my date of writing this)?

Ignore the 66% because that was only sent to a small group of buyers …

Can you see the difference?

An average open-rate of 16.5%.

From 24% to 16.5% in just shy of 18 months.

I wish, for my clients’ sake, that I could say this is only happening in my business …

But sadly, this is a relatively low decline compared to others.

I’ve had clients drop from 26% to 7% (based on an industry that boomed/ crashed) … with the average dropping by 5-10%.

Just The Tip of the Iceberg

This is just taking into consideration Facebook ads and email marketing … but the rest isn’t looking too pretty.

Facebook is banning advertising accounts left, right and centre.

Judge, jury and executor … you can do nothing wrong, but end up with your main traffic source killed overnight.

That’s what happened to me earlier this year.

I had a funnel that was working nicely, it was when ECM was just launched and I was optimistic.

Facebook slapped my account … and my only traffic source fell to its knees.

It really hurt and massively damaged my business (all because I had pinned all of my traffic on their one platform).

Then think about GDPR which is coming into action in May.
Is that going to have a negative or positive impact on email marketing?

Pfft … it’s looking more negative than positive (unless it purges and scares the large majority of people using email marketing, which is unlikely).

To add to that …

Organic reach on social media is diminishing and you’re being forced to pay for exposure (which is fine if you have a functioning advertising account).


I know that you probably read this to feel good and get ideas – and I’ve probably scared the pants off you.

But I need you to come to terms with what’s happening before it happens. So, a bit of TOUGH LOVE is needed.
Do not worry … as I’m not just going to leave you in limbo.
I’ve devised a solution.

You see, there are SIX things that we need to do as online businesses in order to overcome this online epidemic and soar as everybody else struggles with the decline.

These six things are:

1. Diversify your communication

If you currently rely on one or two platforms, then you’re in deep shit.

For example …

If your only way to communicate with your prospects/customers/ audience is through email marketing … then you’re putting the mercy of your business in the hands of a corporation.

All it takes is for Google to make their SPAM laws stricter or for GDPR to be enforced against small businesses, and you’ll lose your communication channel.

The same with Facebook, if Facebook is your only source of traffic, then all it takes is for your ad account to get slapped (rightly or wrongly) and you won’t have a way of getting new customers.

You need to diversify the way that you reach/communicate with your audience.

2. Ensure you’re not reliant on one platform

As I’ve said, the risks of being reliant on something that you do control in order to get customers/communicate with your audience is incredibly high risk.
You need to make sure you have multiple ways to communicate with them.

Most businesses (especially online businesses) do not have this in place– they rely on either Facebook or email – with nothing else in between.

3. You need to be able to control your media

How can you communicate with your audience in a way that isn’t based on a platform or other company?

That’s the question.

If you can control the communication channel, then you’ll always be in a safe place (I’ll cover the solution to this, in a minute).

4. Find a way to communicate with your audience in a non- competitive space 

What’s damaged Facebook and email marketing? The complete saturation.There is so much competing for the users’ attention that the majority gets ignored/deleted. If you can find a way to communicate in a place that has little competition, then you’ll always be sure to get read and be seen as relevant/important.

5. Need to set yourself apart and cut through the noisy marketplace

This is a big one.

What makes your industry difficult is that regardless of how good you are or what your experience is, you have to compete with the thousands of idiots that are making a lot of noise.

You need to find a way to be seen as different to these people and cut through the noise to reach your audience.

6. Be perceived as the number one expert/authority in your marketplace

Who’s going to win this expert battle when the bubble bursts?

It’s going to be the ‘experts’ that are number one in their field (the genuine fucking experts).

You need to do what you can to be perceived as the leader now – to reduce your risk of being dragged down with the noise-makers/idiots.

Are we all in agreement that the above six points are correct?

Then, let me give you what I believe the solution to be.

I’ve called it:

“Relationship Augmenting Direct Mail”

I believe that the solution to the online marketing epidemic that is happening is to attach an offline element to the relationship part of your selling process.

Let me explain …
What if, as well as doing everything that you’re doing online, you cover your arse by also communicating with your audience via direct mail.

What impact would that have to your business?

Let’s just go through the above six points again …

1. Diversify your communication – adding direct mail would allow you to gather postal information so that you can communicate offline as well as online. TICK

2. Ensure you’re not reliant on one platform – by adding direct mail, you’ll be able to communicate across multiple platforms with your message and have more of an impact. TICK

3. You need to be able to control your media – the Royal Mail or UPS will be around for life. Until the robots take over. You can control this media. TICK

4. Find a way to communicate with your audience in a non-competitive space – how often do you receive good quality, content-based direct mail? It’s as rare as rocking horse shit, there’s hardly any competition and it is read away from the distraction-filled screen. TICK

5. Need to stand out and cut through the noisy marketplace – nobody does this, it’s filled with reciprocity and you’ll instantly be different to every other noise-maker in your marketplace. TICK

6. Be perceived as the leading expert/authority in your industry – who sends publications? Experts, right? By sending offline direct mail, you’re instantly more trustworthy and you evidently care. TICK

“Relationship Augmenting Direct Mail” is the answer, in my eyes.

I’ve started putting it into place for my clients and by the time that you’ve read this, I will have launched my ‘Direct Mail Titans’ private coaching group where I’ll be helping new clients put this into place in their business.

How Do You Implement “RADM?”

There are four steps to implementing this system in your business, I want go through all four with you …

Step #1 – The Expert Positioning Publication

You need to send a free monthly print newsletter (but with a twist).

This monthly publication is aimed at building your credibility and indirectly persuading your audience that they must become your client.

The beauty of a monthly publication that is sent through the post is that it is never seen as advertising and always seen as value, resulting in it being read, it being looked forward to and it being a sneaky form of marketing/winning attention.

It doesn’t need be a masterpiece, just 4-8 pages of great value, great insights and case studies of amazing that you have done.

It will build your value, it will help the reader and you’ll be seen as the industry expert in no time.

Best of all, it doesn’t cost much to send …

… you could get a nice print newsletter in the hands of your audience for no more than £1.50 per prospect/customer.

Would you invest £18/year into somebody that has showed interest in what you do … of course you would, it would be one of the most ROI-rich activities you could ever carry out.

Step #2 – The Offline Bribe

Once your first Expert Positioning Publication is nearly ready, you then need to gain your email subscribers’/social media followers’ postal details.

This allows you to diversify the way you communicate with them gaining priceless data … and it allows you to find your “hot list” of people that are highly interested in you/your services.

You can implement the “Offline Bribe” by sending a short series of emails to your list that tell them about your new newsletter, tease at what’s inside and ask them if they’d like to receive a free monthly copy.
You then drive them to a page that asks for their postal details, and you’ll be able to comfortably convert 5-10% of your list into addresses.

Step #3 – The Sandwich Page

The third step is to start acquiring the postal addresses of all the new leads/ subscribers that enter your funnel/lead-generation.

We do this by implementing something we call “The Sandwich Page” – this is a web page that sits between your opt-in and your sales page/tripwire page/ thank you page …

… that offers the prospect a physical copy of the PDF lead magnet that they’ve just opted-in for.

This alone always gets a 20-40% conversion rate …

… but if you’re being smart, you also throw a bonus in at this stage. For example …

They could get the free lead magnet, plus a copy of your recent newsletter or an audio CD that talks people through your system, etc.

When you get the bonus right, this page typically converts at between 40-60%.

This means that you’re able to effortlessly gain new leads’ postal addresses with ease, it means that you massively stand out in your marketplace (as you’re putting your hand in your pocket to help these people out) and because of this, they become raving fans that have your lead magnet/newsletter on their desk/ shelves for months!

Step #4 – The Client Conversion Kit

The final step of taking advantage of offline is to build your own ‘Client Conversion Kit’.

This is a box that you send to your perspective clients before a sales call or appointment.

Inside the box is a range of very deliberate and tactical materials and documents that flip the sales process and pre-sells the prospect on working with you prior to speaking to them.a

This box will prevent you from ever having to sell again, and will maximise your positioning so that you can demand higher fees and win more clients without any resistance.

This is such a huge asset when you have it in place and makes your life so much easier.

There you have it.

This system of taking your leads offline and sending them consistent monthly helpful/content-rich newsletters is what I believe the solution is to the crashing online marketing results.

By offering so much value offline, it will naturally increase your email- marketing results, it will build you huge authority and it will make your sales process so much easier.

Best of all, nobody is doing this – which is a massive opportunity if you act now.

It doesn’t cost a lot to send … but will pay for itself many times over.

Hope that’s helpful.

Any questions – reach out and ask!

P.S – If you want my help to implement this system in your business, then there are two ways to do that.

You can join my ‘Direct Mail Titans’ coaching group.
We’ll help you implement the system by giving you all the templates/training and

you’ll be part of my ‘Mastermind’ group and receive fortnightly coaching calls.

OR …

You can apply to become a client of my ‘Direct Mail DFY”.

This is where we’ll design, write and fulfil your monthly newsletter as well as building your Offline Bribe, Sandwich Page and ‘Client Conversion Kit’ (we do all the work).

It’s £3,000 per month.

Drop me an email if you want more info – [email protected]

700k campaign


The “Take-Away” Direct Mail Campaign That Generated $700,000 of Sales from a Small Burnt-Out Email List (Without Having Any of the Subscribers Postal Details).

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700k campaign

Swipe Files & Campaign Walkthrough

The “Take-Away” Direct Mail Campaign That Generated $700,000 of Sales from a Small Burnt-Out Email List (Without Having Any of the Subscribers Postal Details).

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