Digital Marketing is not something most small business owners take the time learn about. In fact, I think most business owners either take marketing online for granted or almost completely ignore it altogether. Google actually reports “four out of five people use search engines to find local information, like business hours and addresses… Yet only 37 percent of businesses have claimed a local business listing on a search engine.” On the other hand, if you are giving online marketing a solid go and you’ve come to a stall… here are a few tips to get you online strategy humming again.
1. You won’t get out of your own head
Everyone is different. Not everyone thinks like you, acts like you, or values the same things as you. Remember, your opinion is not the only one and other people may find value where you don’t.
The second I find myself in “total disbelief” while performing research and analysis, I need to step outside or get a cup of coffee. I have a hard time believing people think differently than I do—it’s one of my biggest obstacles during strategy meetings.
2. You forget not everyone works in your industry
Remember the whole world doesn’t work in your industry every day. Not everyone knows the ins and outs of your business like you do.
Take the time to stop, smell the roses, and find little details that potential customers and clients might really enjoy. One great example of this would be how MillerCoors claims that “Coors Light’s unique frost-brewing process locks in a taste as cold as the Rockies.” Now, you might like to know that all lagers are conditioned at near-freezing temperatures, and cold filtering is a popular alternative to pasteurization, because it’s FASTER AND CHEAPER. Not only does MillerCoors recognize that not everyone is a brew boss, but they are leveraging that ignorance in a very creative way.
3. You don’t invest in tools
Working for an internet marketing agency has provided me the opportunity to work with some crazy cool SEO tools. The amount of free software out there is amazing and it is changing the digital marketing landscape for the better. But! Keep in mind the paid version of a certain software is probably WAAAY better than the free version.
Don’t be afraid to invest in software. If you know what you’re doing, these tools can be invaluable.
4. You try to do it all
Yes, you are the greatest most capable person you have ever met… now hire someone and pay them what they are worth.
People go to college to get degrees in creative writing, technical writing, graphic design, and web development. Knowing your own limitations and knowing when to cut your loses and pay a professional can be the best solution sometimes. Taking time and money to go back and fix something that was never right in the beginning is usually a slow, painful, and expensive endeavor.
5. You don’t like talking about yourself
If you and your business are genuinely outstanding and your customers are satisfied, it’s not cheesy to ask for an online review.
There is no shame in promoting the genuinely outstanding qualities of your business. Finding a balance between commercial confidence and humility is key.
6. You don’t measure up
Compare yourself to the competition.
This is very simple, but most people find it difficult to actually do. Every consumer and/or client out there is comparing you to another vendor, manufacturer, or service provider. Don’t be afraid to do some (persuasive) comparison for them – and get creative! A simple graphic of a checklist with tally marks is boring.
7. You don’t ask for advice
Ask your customers and clients how you are doing and how you can improve. After all, no one knows your target market better than YOUR TARGET MARKET!
Simply following up with clients over the phone or via automated email follow ups can yield priceless information.
8. You don’t know where you belong
Take the time to think about where you belong in the digital realm and who you are trying to reach – this is a simple case of demographics.
If you can’t figure out where you belong or you don’t know how to reach your target market – revisit point #7 and #3.
9. You go through the motions
Banging out content for the sake of “fresh content” and posting inspirational quotes to social media for the sake of a daily post is probably hurting you more than it is helping. Users are people, and the people of 2015 have no time for lame content. You need a real content strategy.
10. You don’t leave your desk
Get out there and meet the people working in your industry!
Just because you run an online store or you run a hyper-local service based company does not mean you can’t get active in your niche. I got my start in digital marketing through the use of online niche forums. Join a community, go to webinars, share content, take someone to coffee, or become an active member of a meetup.com group.
11. You look down on social media
Remaining ignorant to the fact that social media is now a part of life will not help you grow a business in 2015.
“Social media” is not just Facebook and Twitter. Wikipedia lists nearly 200 different social media platforms and that doesn’t count the endless niche forums and enthusiast websites. There is nearly a limitless amount of avenues for you to share, debate, educate, and learn from. Take advantage of the beauty that is the internet.
12. You are “all business all the time”
Link equity and traffic signals brought about from lighthearted click bait has it’s place in the world.
A well-balanced content strategy that addresses every stage of the sales funnel needs to contain content more suitable for the general public. Now, I’m not saying put your logo in cat videos, but I am saying people are not all business 24/7, and your content strategy shouldn’t be either.
13. Communication breakdown
Web developers, SEOs, social media strategists, PPC strategists, PR strategists, and everyone else involved in marketing your company needs to be aware of your digital strategy—all the time.
Nothing makes you or your business look less capable than having conflicting marketing messages, outdated marketing materials, or a convoluted brand image. All team members/marketing avenues need to be marching to the same beat to be as effective as possible.
14. You don’t set goals
How do you know if you are making reasonable progress if you don’t set any goals? Set goals! Any goals! Then, once you have reached your initial goal, do better the next time. If you start losing steam and can’t make new progress, reread this list.
If your online marketing strategies have lost their steam, stepping back and reevaluating the situation is almost always the answer. Asking people to give you their honest perspective, getting honest with yourself, or sticking your neck out and taking a risk can give the stir you need.