The Law of Large Numbers: The Worst Idea in Digital Marketing

We’ve talked a lot here at Smokehouse about really terrible SEO ideas, SEO Scams and how to completely mess up your social media marketing and today will be no different.

This week, I’m going to focus on the one consistently awful idea that keeps coming up again and again with almost everyone I’ve ever spoken to about any type of digital marketing. I’ve heard this horrible view spewed from IT Department heads that don’t really understand how DM works, clients that don’t want to put in the work to make their sites better, executives that only understand rising lines on graphs and so many more.




Personally, I’m getting sick of hearing it and even sicker of having to explain why its an awful idea that doesn’t work.

Honestly, this is getting to be right up there with ‘optimize my keywords!!’ in terms of how annoying this is becoming.

This is the ‘Law of Large Numbers Digital Marketing’ technique.


What is Law of Large Numbers Digital Marketing?


Well, as my usual readers know, I’m not the most creative of guys so it’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s driving literally everyone and their mother to your site by any means necessary in hopes that maybe, possibly, somehow like one of them might buy something – maybe.

It’s basically throwing spaghetti against the wall (traffic) and hoping something sticks (conversions).

Most people in the digital marketing industry probably already knew what I was talking about as soon as I said ‘large numbers’ it because everyone has or at some point had those clients. These are the same people who’ll call you six times a day wondering how come their tiny, broken down, barely functional website isn’t outranking Amazon for T-shirts or people who want to rank for things that have nothing to do with their business or, even worse, don’t care about anything except ‘optimizing their keywords’….usually by insisting on using some kind of ‘meta data’ trick because that’s what it ‘has to be!’ and they will literally sit there and argue with you about why it can’t possibly be the fact that they have completely useless, paper thin, junk manufacturer’s content for all of their product descriptions and their site takes like eight seconds to load. Couldn’t be!

Anyway, if you can’t already see why the Law of Large Numbers theory of digital marketing is a horrible, horrible mistake, I’ll explain.

There is a ton wrong with this line of thinking but to keep it simple, I’m going to outline the three main problems with it and then sum it all up in hopes of putting this nonsense to bed once and for all.


Problem #1: Even Drowning People Love Water Commercials, Amirite?


The most obvious problem here is that if you’re relying on just every eyeball on the planet coming to your site, unless you’re selling air and they somehow found a way to cut off the free supply, not everyone needs or wants what you have.

Everyone wants clothes, you say? Ok, Let’s ask Lord Wentworth Uppington the Third if he wants to buy one of your novelty St. Patrick’s Day ‘Do Not Arrest This Guy’ T-Shirts.




Everyone needs food? While this is true, your ‘Pork N’ Meatz’ joint in Topeka probably won’t be a hit with vegans in Miami.

If you’re looking for a gift for grandma, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to click on the ad for ‘Hot N’ Sexy Lingerie’ just because it’s ranking first for the keyword phrase ‘clothing for women’ because you ‘optimized your keywords’ – or maybe you would, I don’t know your grandma, I’m just guessing here.

Anyway, you see my point. If you target everyone in the world everywhere you’re wasting your time on unqualified traffic. You’re wasting your time, your digital marketing team’s time and, more importantly, the searcher’s time.

You know what happens when you waste searchers’ time? You guessed it, high bounce rates. You know what happens when you have high bounce rates? Right again! Rankbrain knows and says, ‘You know, this site…people just keep taking off and going somewhere else. Nobody likes it and it’s not relevant to anything. Maybe we shouldn’t show this page in results anymore.’

And then you just shot yourself in the foot. Fun, no?

Just target your audiences. Know who your target audience is and make sure you’re marketing to them. Not to people who really don’t care about anything your business does.


Problem #2: Don’t Care About Your ROI, Moneybags?

Here’s a digital marketing tip that ‘they don’t want you to know!’:

Anyone can get all the traffic they’re willing to pay for to their site.

That’s a fact. You don’t need an SEO, a PPC guy, a Social Media Marketer or whatever the bloody blue hell a ‘Marketing Jedi’ is. All you need is an unlimited spend and Google Adwords, a Twitter Ads account, a Facebook ads account and a LinkedIn paid ads account.




Side note: Hoo boy, will you ever need an unlimited budget for ads on LinkedIn! That’s an article all by itself! I’ve never, ever in my life seen or even heard of anyone running a paid LinkedIn Campaign where the spend didn’t go completely berserk within the first two days.

Anyway, yeah, you just want eyes on page? You don’t need anything but a loose wallet for that.

Making the people you drive there actually buy something so you don’t completely tank your company on marketing spend and having an ROI that doesn’t get your entire staff fired is a whole other story.

So with your ‘Law of Large Numbers’ digital marketing plan, you get to be the guy to go back to your director and finance guy and say, ‘Well, yeah our sales are the same as last month, even after I spent that ten thousand dollar advertising budget you gave me but look, I increased site visits by 3000%!’

Again, any idiot can increase traffic to a site given an unlimited budget but if you’re literally running your company out of business, what did you just do?

As a SEO at heart, it bothers me to really say this but if Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) isn’t part of your overall plan, you’re setting yourself up for failure.


Problem #3: Instead of Three People that Don’t Buy, You want Six?


This part is super self-explanatory and I really don’t see why everyone doesn’t realize this.

If your site is so awful that out of every ten people who visit, you only convert two then please, please, PLEASE stop thinking ‘well, then if I get twenty, then we’ll convert four! That’s an improvement, amirite?’

Yeah, you laugh but I literally heard an IT guy say those exact words once.

Anyway, no. That’s not how things work in the real world. If your site is awful or if you’re currently driving horrible, irrelevant and unqualified traffic to your site and you start driving even more of the same to your page, you’re just going to end up exactly where you are now: in a world of sad.

Just fix your site.

Stop making excuses. Stop looking for ‘workarounds’. Stop looking for the easy way out.




The Bottom Line


Do you remember that episode of the Simpsons when Homer was calling himself ‘Max Power’? He said there are three ways to do things, ‘The right way’, ‘the wrong way’ and the ‘Max Power way’, which is the wrong way but faster. That’s exactly what playing the Law of Large Numbers Digital Marketing is, the wrong way but faster.

This nonsense doesn’t work. It never has and it never will.

Start fixing your site’s issues and focus on what really matters: driving relevant traffic to your site and start making money and keeping your customers happy.

If you don’t, please record yourself explaining to your boss how you spent fifteen grand on DM, increased site visits by over five thousand percent and yet your bounce rates quadrupled, your organic impressions tanked and sales literally stayed exactly the same as last year.




Oh, wait, I can already hear you:

“Maybe we should optimize more keywords to rank first for more words or somethin’, I dunno…”

No. Stop it.

There is far more to making a sale than just getting people to show up. You need to test your user experience, your copy, your page speed, check and verify exactly who is coming to your site and what they do once they arrive (I just started using the ABSOLUTE WIZARDRY that is HotJar and I’m utterly obsessed with it and no, they’re not paying me to say that) and test, test, TEST!

Basically, stop being lazy and DO. WORK.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s