Why “Building a Better Mousetrap” Isn’t Enough Anymore

Have you heard this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”

It sounds great, right?

And in a just world, it WOULD be. Entrepreneurs could put everything they had into dreaming up the coolest products, never shaving any corners, demanding the absolute highest quality.

Except things just don’t work that way.

Nikola Tesla was one of the most brilliant scientists and thinkers to ever live. But it’s Thomas Edison we read about more often in textbooks. He knew how to hire the right people and pull the right strings. He knew about marketing.

I tried the build a better mousetrap strategy my first six months in business. Read (and re-read) copywriting books from Ogilvy, Halbert, and Collier. I even set aside time every day to copy out some of the most successful sales letters by hand — just like Gary Halbert recommended.

What happened?

Not a whole lot.

I was learning a ton about copywriting and blogging, sure. But I wasn’t doing enough to let people know about it. I trusted that, if I just kept focusing on building skills, quality would shine through eventually.

(Things changed when I started hustling on writing boards and pitching editors for guest posts on some of the top marketing blogs.)

My conclusion:

A kickass mousetrap is NECESSARY, but not SUFFICIENT for success.

Spending every waking moment on your products might have worked better when you lived in a small village five hundred years back. It didn’t take much for word to spread quickly.

But now? Your audience is living in a world of limitless options. Your competitors can keep making more content and websites. Yet your audience can’t make more time. It takes top-notch products *and* savvy marketing to connect with them and drive business.

So, by all means, build a better mousetrap!

But don’t stop there. Don’t wait for the world to beat a path to your door. Set aside time every day to get the word out there, try new things, look at the data, and tweak your strategies accordingly.

Get started here.