Most…I said most. For the record: I have met many small business owners that are doing a great job with their online marketing without any help from anyone. It has been my experience though, that the majority of small businesses are wasting huge amounts of time and money in an effort to “get it right”. Today I simply want to point out a few of the main factors that are responsible for this frustrating state of affairs. This is part 1; parts 2 and 3 will be posted next week. Check back in to see where it is that you might fit in to all of this and what you can do to fix it.
Spreading Yourself Too Thin
I’ve consulted with small business owners for many, many years. More than a few of the small business owners that I’ve dealt with have come to the conclusion that everyone out there who offers a product or a service to help them with their Internet marketing are only out to take their money and lock them into a contract. I won’t argue that the marketplace isn’t full of charlatans. I’d say that the majority of you have been robbed and have a bad taste in your mouth. This has left many business owners to feel like he/she must fend for themselves.
The natural instinct is to dive in and learn as much as possible about search engine optimization (SEO), link building, content creation, and social media marketing. All of this learning is of course in an effort to equip yourself to handle it all on your own. So now you’ve added yet another hat to wear and you feel like it’s all on you to carve out Internet marketing success for yourself.
Here’s the rub: You can’t stay plugged in enough to stay current and on top of all the changes taking place on the Internet…these changes take place daily, literally. In order to acquire the proper wisdom and intuition to become proficient, you must dedicate many hours a day towards becoming a professional digital marketing guru.
Quite simply, what happens is that the thing you do for a living, that experience and passion you bring to the table to insure that you are both better and different than all of your competitors…it suffers from lack of attention. Or, you start to become lazy and complacent about your digital marketing efforts and it suffers.
You’ll feel the impact of the first almost immediately. It is likely that you will quickly go back to being that “you” that everyone loves and covets and you’ll let all that digital marketing mumbo-jumbo fall by the wayside.
What you’ll end up with is a web presence that looks and feels neglected or abandoned.
Since your web presence is often the front door to your business for many would-be customer, consider the perception of those that find your web presence in shambles. They simply click “back” in their browser and they move on to investigate your competitors. You lose money, the end.
Keeping Up With the Joneses
Many small businesses feel obligated to look in on what their competitors and neighbors are doing online. This is very normal and I do hope that everyone is keeping an eye on the competition. The problems start when you feel compelled to emulate what someone else is doing in an effort to catch up somehow. This, to me, is a problem with perception.
Are the people that show up ahead of you in a Google search really making more money? Maybe, but in most cases, especially in a hyper-local market between local businesses, probably not. In fact, that guy might be spending a bit more than you on something that’s only effective at getting that higher Google placement. His website still sucks and it probably doesn’t convert searchers into customers. Or it’s old and dated and just looks silly or thrown together. Since that guy is a lot like you and probably as lost as you might be…you certainly don’t want to match his efforts and spending. You see where I’m headed here?
What about all of those services (yes, I mean the big boys like Kudzu, ReachLocal, YP.com, etc., ad infinitum.) that call and email you on a daily basis with their pitches and promises? Being big and well known doesn’t mean they necessarily deliver any value whatsoever. Are your competitors using one or more of these? Do you feel like you should jump onboard with these? Just be sure to ask yourself if their service will actually reach and engage your desired demographic. Ask for local references and check them out thoroughly before signing on. It might be helpful to you to download our free white paper if you’d like to know about several best practices that ARE worth emulating.
Stop back by next week for parts 2 and 3. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to use the comment section below, we’d love to have some dialog on the topic with you!
If you’d like for us to have a look at your current efforts from outside of your forest…we’d be happy to do so at no charge to you. It might help you to have an honest assessment that’s tempered with intuition, experience, and from a different perspective. Sound good? Just fill out this simple form and someone will get in touch with you ASAP!