Are you ignoring the obvious?

Do you have a viable (and probably highly profitable) marketing opportunity right in front of your nose – but you just can’t see it?

This exact scenario cropped up just the other week. I was chatting with a prospect who was in an enviable position – his site rankings were strong for a highly competitive vertical and his conversion rates were good. His concern was how to make everything better - better rankings, better sales, better conversions.

Seeing the newsletter sign-up form on his site, I figured his newsletter would be another success story that he’d want to make “better.” “We have about 13,000 subscribers who have opted-in,” he said.  “Plus, we have about 7,500 customers who have agreed for us to send them email offers.”

Wow, you can drive a lot of highly targeted Web traffic with a 20,000 + subscriber list. Then, I asked him about his email marketing campaign.

“Well, we don’t do any email marketing. We haven’t for a long time. We did it for awhile…and just stopped.”

I was amazed. Here’s a guy with an incredible mailing list – and he’s not doing a thing with it. I thought of the thousands of dollars he was throwing out the window each and every month. And I told him so, too, in almost those exact words (those who know me know that I can be a tad…blunt.)

I could only imagine his “deer in the headlights” moment as what I was saying slowly sunk in. The prospect was so concerned with chasing a slightly higher search engine position that he completely overlooked the obvious: His mailing list. Here he had an almost guaranteed way to sell more product to people who voluntarily subscribed to his newsletter - and he didn’t even see it.

The thing is, this scenario is incredibly common. I’ve gone through it. I bet you have too. It’s like you suffer from marketing tunnel vision and you see only one path to your main goal. Instead of taking a step back and reevaluating your entire situation, you focus on what you already know (PPC? SEO?) and forget about your other options (Article marketing? Email lists?).

If you feel like things are stagnant, I highly recommend getting a breath of fresh marketing air. Sometimes, the best thing to do is get on a plane and fly to the nearest marketing conference. The break in routine, new locale and networking opportunities can spark some great ideas. I actually build a day into my business travel schedule for “return brainstorming time.” My best creative ideas always spark the first day I’m back – and I want to capture every one.

If you can’t afford a conference, then hiring a consultant is your best “breathe of fresh air” bet. A consultant can help you “see” opportunities you can’t see yourself.  You may stress that you “don’t have the money for a consultant” and it’s not a high priority expense. But think about this: Would you spent $500 for a brainstorming session to drive $5,000 more income? Of course you would. The long-term gain outweighs the short-term money hit.

No matter what scenario you choose, the important thing is to plan something. Consider upcoming search marketing conferences like PubCon. Contact a consultant and see if he’ll work with you for just an hour.

The faster you get moving, the faster you’ll find those “hidden” profit centers that you didn’t know existed.