While a headline like “Online Marketing is NOT a do-it-yourself thing, it’s not automatic and it’s not free” seems to be carrying a little frustation on my part, I actually want the content of this post to be a service to companies starting to take their business online.
Despite the economy, I think launching a business idea is easier than ever. We have the opportunity to test them at a low cost, we can measure results faster than ever and we can fail and move on to the next idea easier than ever. At the same time, this does NOT mean we can just throw anything out there with the hopes it sticks. Competition is brutal and the consumer is more educated and more demanding than ever.
Another aspect I love to point out to my clients is the fact that today, thanks to the internet, we have awesome technology opportunities that are no longer reserved for big companies. Small business also have access to them. On the flip side, there is a “Free” culture out there that is very easily confused by these small companies, as guerilla-style entrepreneurs with very limited budgets sometimes we tend to take on this kind of tools or services that are not necessarily the best option if we intend to… gee, I don’t know, HAVE A RETURN ON INVESTMENT!
Let me illustrate, a couple of months ago while talking to a client on the phone, she mentioned that she was going crazy looking for a good image for a post. I said “why don’t you just buy one on iStock?”, she immediately responded “oh no… they charge you, right?”, she didn’t even considered the possibility. They’re like one dollar and you have been looking for an hour!
OK, it’s a little extreme but you get the point.
Online Marketing includes too many things for an entrepreneur to become an expert on it or to try to get away with “free”, we’re talking blogging, content and email marketing, social media, sales and so on. These things require of copywriting, design, development, technology, usability, lots of time. Don’t be confused, the WordPress software is free, so is MailChimp, Twitter, Facebook, even CRM’s and Customer Service platforms offer free accounts. That doesn’t mean it’s free or you can do it all on your own.
I’ve had conversations with people that say things like “I don’t wanna mess with Twitter so, can we just have the blog automatically post to it?”. In fact, you can do more, you can automatically post from your blog to Hootsuite, that will post to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin AND… to Ping.fm, which will do the rest of the “dirty” work for you and take the message to the rest of the networks. It’s effortless!
Let me ask you this: do you know why I have never met any of my clients on Linkedin? because I never go there!
The problem is that businesses, specially small ones, spend time establishing an online presence that doesn’t return anything but frustration. We see these individuals that have built amazing personal brands online, making a killing and spreading their influence like there’s no tomorrow, becoming leaders in their industries, turning themselves into internet celebrities. They all have 3 things in common, they have a business mind, they work hard and they have invested money to achieve those goals. This is when the old saying “no man is an island” fits like a glove, these people have surrounded themselves with good designers, programmers, maybe even copywriters and coaches.
This of course doesn’t mean that every single aspect is outsourced, online marketing and more specifically social media also requires a commitment on your side. There are things that I always advice people not to outsource like content creation or front-end interaction. Not only you know your business better than anybody else but you also need to be able to interact with the consumer directly.
In the social media world everybody says “have a strategy”. When you are writing that strategy, focus on the business objectives and ask yourself what needs to be done in order to achieve them. If that strategy includes having landing pages for different products for example, list everything you need for that, it can be copy, design, programming or some PR. Calculate the cost of launching each product, the same way you would consider how much it will cost you to run an ad on a magazine.
I’ll leave you with this question: If you are conducting some kind of online marketing right now, are you getting the ROI you expected? Are you able to measure that ROI? (OK, that’s two questions…).
Why Am I Saying All This?
Glad you ask, the reason is that I see how easy it is to go online and consume all this FREE and Do-It-Yourself Hype about the internet and get confused. I want you to be conscious about what it takes and don’t buy into the “If I was able to do it, you can too!” bullshit we see everyday.
Share Your Thoughts…
Are you planning your online marketing strategy? Are you currently doing business online? or why not, are you killing it online? What are you doing? Share your thoughts in the comments section…
Photo Credit: tonx