Digital marketing…double ugh.
The dreaded words that small business owners hate to hear.
“I started my company. I have a product. It’s great. I opened the doors. What else do you want from me? I didn’t sign for all this other stuff.”
It doesn’t work.”
After we take that plunge to become an entrepreneur and avoid the 40 hour work-week by working 80, it quickly becomes obvious that we just can’t only focus on our core competencies. We either have to hire someone to fix the toilet, do our payroll and taxes, build our website, or we have to learn to do it ourselves. Lots of business owners try to wear all the hats and save money. It’s not their fault. It makes sense in the short term. And us marketers have kind of forced them to. We’re expensive and we aren’t very clear on ROI. We talk in terms like impressions and clicks and nonsense really. And buzzwords…it seems like every week there is something new and shiny I am supposed to pay attention to…responsive web design, minimalist, Snapchat, social, Google changed algorithms, some new course that promises to teach me everything! No wonder business owners are tired, confused, skeptical, and probably just about fed up. We know that keeping the “funnel” full is how we keep cash flow healthy. About 60% of small business will fail because of cash flow. What do the other 40% do? They keep a funnel full of potential clients. They run through the numbers and always look for ways to increase conversion. Sometimes it’s just a timing thing. Sometimes it’s the product or service itself. But run through enough numbers and cash flow inevitably becomes healthy.
So that brings me to marketing, specifically digital marketing… your online presence. We all know that there are things that we should be doing. You have to have a website. You need to make sure that the search engines can find that website. Social media is all the rage now. Best thing since sliced bread. “But they tell me I will get sales from it but I am not supposed to sell on it… How does that make any sense? And now they say I am supposed to become a writer and have a blog. Give me a break. Not going to happen.”
But yet you wonder which of those things really work and are you missing out by not doing them. So you figure you will give someone a shot.
Websites are expensive!! Holy mackerel. Before the thing is even finished you hate it. Spending a few grand on what amounts to a digital business card doesn’t seem fair. Now you have spent that money and have a preconceived resentment. Unless it’s eCommerce it needs to make you that money back like yesterday. Totally unrealistic but you can’t help it. That’s money that in your mind is thrown away. The real tragedy is because it cost half of your entire marketing budget for the whole year, you don’t pay anyone for upkeep, updates, security, etc. So it’s already outdated before it’s even a year old. The home page has last Christmas’s specials on it. And we wonder why it isn’t very effective. We wonder why no one is pounding the doors down from online traffic.
Back to that digital business card statement. Consider something. Why do you use the internet? Why do you use search and social media? Isn’t it to find information? Isn’t it to find the answers to questions? It probably isn’t to go look at digital business cards and self-promotion. So that’s the first and second mistake — Outdated and websites that have no actual information. Not to mention you likely spent more than you should have or could really afford to spend.
Next issue that you should be paying attention to. Maybe you have… for like a minute. So, not really. You treated it more like a tactic than a strategy. Very few go all in and do it consistently. You’ll find that’s a theme here. Search Engine Optimization, or (SEO) for short. Remember that expensive digital business card you call a website that you hate and no one is going to? Ever think there might be a reason for that? Ever think there could be a few reasons for that? Most importantly would you like to address them?
Two things need to happen when potential clients type certain words that are related to your business into a search bar. You need to exist, be relevant, PROVIDE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS (talk more about that in a second) they are asking, and do so very quickly.
You also need to be programmed and positioned in such a way that the search engine knows all those items to be true and feels comfortable returning your site as a result to a search. See… people aren’t really searching for you. They might be searching for your services or answers to questions that your services or products provide. But does the search engine know that?
Nearly all of consumers research their purchases online before making a purchase. Think it might be important to show up in that research?
This has to be taken seriously, done consistently and persistently.
And then there’s social media. Many years ago a former boss of mine used to go crazy if she walked into one of her establishments and a light bulb was out. She said that people would automatically have a different, negative opinion of the place if there was a light bulb out.
Social media has become the “light bulbs” of the 21st century.
So many of the generations we are trying to reach with our business are going to look for you, and at you, on social media. You need to be there. You need to be there not just selling but being you…being authentic. Show them who you and your company are. Show them the culture of your business. They have trust issues. EARN their trust. Social media is where you do it. You can do much of it for free.
That being said, ads on social media are HUGE. Massive bang for your buck with great analytics. The information that is collected online that we are able to in turn target the right people, folks that want us, that need our services, is unbelievable. You really have to leverage that information when growing your business. We can drive people to action from social media. Drive them back to our website. This can definitely be done.
But what will they see when they get there? A digital business card. Yay. We can do some SEO and make sure we are listed in the local listings and we have our schema right, and alt text on pictures but will anyone really care? If the website doesn’t have good info and you have no social media presence it doesn’t really do you much good to rank on the first page for an obscure keyword, does it?
None of these things work at a high level without the fuel (original content) and without doing them all together. That’s why you have never seen the ROI. That’s why you think marketing is all a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Have you ever done ALL of these things simultaneously. How about simultaneously AND strategically?
The answer is probably no. You have either looked into it and the price was WAY too high or you just assumed that you could pick one. Maybe you figured you HAD to just pick one. That you had to choose because there is no way a company like yours could possibly afford it all. There is no way that you could actually have an all-inclusive strategy. But it’s really what you need.
There is a reason when you build a house you hire a general contractor. You need one point of contact coordinating all the projects for you. That’s pretty obvious. But it doesn’t seem to be when implementing a marketing strategy. I think that is because price (or perceived price) is a barrier as well as confusion about what all actually needs done. You NEED ALL THE TOOLS.
When we started this office of The Marketing Department, we did it with the intent of being a resource to other small businesses.
What a goal, right?
We actually felt that we could make a difference and help other companies, other families, other entrepreneurs build their dream while we were building ours. It became really apparent, really quickly that there was something lacking in the conventional way that business was conducted in this space. It’s not that marketing is too expensive. It really isn’t.
It’s more the way those costs are structured. Some things are project based and big ticket like a website. Other projects make sense to do a retainer or monthly subscription like email blasts, SEO, and social media. It occurred to us that we all use monthly services like Netflix, and Office 365, and even Photoshop has gone to a cloud-based, monthly service. Why?
Because it’s easier to budget, doesn’t seem so daunting, and it forces that company to continue to earn your business every day of every month.
So that’s what we came up with. An all-inclusive marketing solution with ALL the tools. All of those items you know that you need but working in conjunction with each other. All working in harmony. Your website will never be obsolete or outdated.
Your SEO will be continuously addressed.
Social media? Yes, you will be there including an ad budget so you don’t have to think about that either.
And the fuel. We will provide that content that drives everything.
It makes your website interesting and gives folks a reason to stop by…and stay.
It gives the search engines key words to find so they can deliver your website as a trusted authority and provider of relevant information.
It gives us interesting (non-salesy) stuff to promote on your social media channels, further driving fans, friends of fans, and brand new prospects to your site and to action.
Introducing VELOCITY. We are committed to bringing Madison Avenue quality to local small businesses, with Main St. pricing and simplicity. VELOCITY makes this possible in a way never, ever seen before.
By combining our Spark Social service with a new approach to web design, we are able to create your website and provide you with ongoing SEO, maintenance, updates, changes, development and support. VELOCITY is truly your marketing department in a box.
If VELOCITY sounds like something that warrants further explanation, then let’s talk. Head over here so we know how to get in touch.