“If you build it, they will come.”

It is a misleading business solution in today’s digital marketing world. Often, businesses believe that by simply setting up “shop” in the digital space, visitors and revenue will come automatically. That merely having a digital presence is all that’s required for success. Unfortunately, this notion is not completely true.

In the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, Ray, an Iowa farmer, is called upon to build a baseball diamond in place of his cornfields. An unknown voice tells the farmer, “If you build it, he will come.” Despite naysayers, doubt and financial obstacles, Ray builds the field and the ghosts of baseball past, including the elusive “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, show up to play. Through the magic of the baseball field, he is reconciled with his deceased father, and is able to play catch with a younger version of his dad and even introduce him to the granddaughter he has never met. Ray enjoys this precious moment with his father as hundreds of cars line up in the distance, signifying customers coming to watch the players in this fantastical field. Credits role, music plays, and viewers wipe their teary eyes as the dream is reached.

This is a beautiful, albeit magical, tale of a man searching for and obtaining answers in his life. In some ways, however, one may feel compelled to apply the “If you build it, he will come,” principle to just about anything. But it’s important to recognize the journey that allowed Ray to get his well-earned resolution — and not merely the resolution itself. Sometimes the foundational aspects of Ray’s journey are forgotten in the drama and idealism of the end result. Below are some practical applications to consider when launching into the endeavors of your own “field of dreams.”

Sometimes the foundational aspects of Ray’s journey are forgotten in the drama and idealism of the end result.

1. Plan accordingly.

We have all heard it said that if you fail to plan, then plan to fail. In Field of Dreams, Ray did his research, listened to wise advice, employed supporters and was a compelling, honest visionary that drew others into his dream. He didn’t wake up one morning and demolish his fields with the expectation that any action was better than no action.

In business it’s no different. Have your vision, devise a plan, and have the steps necessary to achieve your goal fully mapped out. Continue to follow through with that plan until the data reveals a need for adjustment.

2. Things take time.

In the film, Ray waits months and nothing happens at the field. He spends some days just staring at an empty baseball diamond, wondering if his hard work would pay off. When the field was complete, the team didn’t exactly come running with open arms onto the field, waving their hats in exuberance and thanking their lucky stars that they had somewhere to play. They were hesitant, they didn’t give him all the answers he wanted, and were reluctant to let him join in on the fun. The very thing he labored over and loved he wasn’t even initially allowed to use! Oh the travesty of it all…

This principle can easily be seen in the digital marketplace. Sometimes you have to expect to wait months and even years before a site gets the traffic you want. This is the nature of digital marketing; results tend to take time. It can be difficult and honestly disheartening to see your business at a stall. Do consumers not get your idea? Did you choose the wrong color scheme? Is the landing page uninspiring?

Shilpa Pandya, in her article “Why Generating Traffic Takes Time,” relays three basic issues that arise.

  1. High quality inbound links from reputable companies are hard to get. It takes time for a well-established business to recognize your new venture as being reputable and worthy of their trust.
  2. Good reputations take time to flourish. How long does it take you to trust a new neighbor? Trust them enough to house sit? Or how about house sit and watch your dearly loved dog/child? You get the idea.
  3. In a sea of start-ups you have to prove your longevity. Be consistent and follow through — people want clutch players, not one-hit wonders.

So don’t be overwhelmed by the waiting time. Use it to your advantage and look at it as an opportunity to grow. There is much that can be done while waiting “in the bullpen.”

See the following article for content ideas: http://blog.hubspot.com/customers/why-generating-traffic-takes-time

3. Fulfill the demand.

Ray had a cornfield in the middle of Iowa. He transformed the space he had according to the needs of others.  He didn’t build a football field or a golf course, because neither were relevant to the community’s needs or demands. Even if he didn’t quite realize what those needs were initially, he built what the “voice” told him to; he was fulfilling a need that was missing.

Consider what need you are fulfilling. A well thought out idea or genius product can collect dust on a shelf if no one thinks they really need it. The popular television show, “Shark Tank” displays the value in this as they often will bankroll a company that is solving a problem, not just selling a niche. How can you take your product and increase its worth to the consumer? What piece do you have that makes their puzzle complete? And when they do choose you, why do they need to return? When done right, satisfying one demand usually encourages the rise of another.

4. You can’t do it alone.

At first, Ray alone holds the vision. He’s the one who hears the voice, he’s the man that has unresolved father issues, he bears the weight of their family’s financial future. His wife, Annie, is reluctant to release him to his idea, but realizes she doesn’t want to keep him from following his heart. With her blessing he moves forward and has the strength he needs. Ray’s daughter, Karen, even becomes an ally as she is the first person to see the “man out there on your lawn.” Once she spots the infamous “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Ray and Annie can see him too and the dream starts looking like a reality. And even when others cannot, Annie and Karen are able to see what seems invisible to everyone else.

“Seeing what seems invisible to everyone else.” Isn’t that the hope of any entrepreneur? That his (or her) team has the vision to see what is not yet there? It’s incredible what the right support can do for a person, let alone a business. We seem to understand the need and value in relationships, but with our workplace we often forget. Having key people that come alongside you, encourage you, and put your plan into action can be a determining factor in your success.

To Succeed, You Must First Act

EXERTUS is the eye that sees what is invisible to everyone else. We are passionate about what we do and desire to help you attain your goal by acting as a valued teammate. Our experienced employees passionately labor to be with you in your planning, offer guidance in your waiting, focus your product, and see that your vision becomes tangible. Let us build it, and they will come.