I recently presented at a vibey Working Women’s Network workshop, run by the charismatic Angela Raspass. It was a one-day online marketing event, and I spoke on how to attract customers to your business.
It was a fantastic day with some great speakers covering topics like planning website development, email marketing, blogging and social media.
One of the questions I asked was: “What is the one thing that is holding you back from CRUSHING it online?”
There were a few different answers from the business owners:
• “I’m scared of doing the wrong thing, or making a mistake”
• “I’m paralysed by all the different options available to me”
• “I don’t know how to find an online marketing expert I can trust”
• “I don’t know where to spend my time”
There is only one answer to these questions, and it boils down to knowledge.
I’m not talking about expert knowledge. You need at least a high-level understanding of the basics of all the different components of online marketing as well as understanding where your business currently stands.
Even if you’re going to outsource a lot of the specialist work, you still need this basic knowledge. Remember, you can’t outsource something you don’t understand and expect to get a good outcome!
I see too many businesses hire an expert to do one aspect of their online marketing, but it ends up not being the component they should be focussing on.
For example, a potential customer called last week asking if we could “get AdWords up for them as soon as possible”. However, their website was, how shall we say, “not optimal”. No amount of money on AdWords would help. We declined the business. They needed to work on creating engaging content. It didn’t help either that they had no idea what made them unique. (How would the ads stand out? How compelling would the landing pages be?)
Once you have a basic understanding of online marketing, I’d recommend that you plan to continually build web analytics expertise inside the company.
Analytics is your dashboard to monitor your success. So even if you outsource your SEO, PPC, content creation, social media and your grocery shopping, YOU still need to know if these providers are performing, or goofing off. Analytics will tell you that.
So where do you start? Well, there’s no magic pill, but if there was, it would have some of the following:
Step 1: Overview of Online Marketing
Spend $40 and buy a basic book like Web Marketing All-In-One For Dummies. A very easy read and you’re guaranteed to learn things in areas where you were weak. It is, in effect, a series of mini books. Read the ones most relevant to you. It is sensible unbiased advice. And cheap.
If that’s too basic or if you’re ready for a very good second book, read David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR, which will really drive the point home of how quality content should be your number-one priority. Not only does this help your search engine optimisation, but more importantly, it creates massive credibility with your audience, which leads to sales enquiries. Without quality content, traffic numbers are meaningless.
Step 2: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is your friend. You can’t fly a plane without an instrument plane and a dashboard (well, ok you can, but not for long) and you can’t be serious about your online marketing with some analytics service. It’s a phenomenally powerful service from Google. Did I mention it’s free?
These 2 minute videos are also very worthwhile if you have specific issues requiring resolution.
Step 3: Search Engine Optimisation
The basics of SEO are not difficult to understand. The SEO guide from Google (you’d think that they’d know a thing or two) is very worthwhile.
We’ve also written a free, easy-to-read DIY guide to SEO. Email us at Enquiry [AT] cleverclicks.com.au and we’ll send it to you.
Google provide another free service called Google Webmaster Tools, which enables you to see what Google’s crawler/robot thinks of your website. Setting up Webmaster Tools is free, easy, and should be compulsory.
Right, that’s as close as you get to a magic pill.
Attending workshop like the one at Working Women’s Network is also a great option (and phenomenal value at only $100 for members, and the feedback from attendees on the day has been excellent).
Remember, while you may consider education to be expensive (although the options above represent great value), it’s not nearly as much as the price of ignorance.
Now that you understand the basics of each of the components of online marketing, you will now be in a much better position to work out your next steps, which is to create a plan.
How much time and money you have available will be the biggest determinant of how you will develop this plan. You have 3 choices:
1. Do it yourself if you’re confident enough in your knowledge;
2. Educate yourself further then do it yourself;
3. Hire an expert (er…we know someone who loves this stuff more than life itself…)
There are many strategies to address in an online marketing plan (and the subject of another blog post). But having brushed up on your general knowledge, you’ve just increased your chances of success tenfold.
We’d love to hear what’s holding you back, or what the biggest issue is that’s preventing you from crushing it online?
By Philip Shaw