We all make bad choices from time to time and business owners can learn from Internet marketing mistakes made by others. If you are new to any business or form of marketing, this is normal. The key to success is to do the right things at the right time with the right people. I’ve found from experience that you are only as good as your advisers or trusted information. Market research and competitor analysis should become the basis of every strategic plan. The process for doing this research is made easier because of the Internet.
Online Marketing Brick Wall!
In any business, planning is the most critical step in the process. It takes more than having casual lunches with people to create a strategic online marketing plan that can be actionable. The mistake that most people make in business is that they assume because someone else can do something that they can do the same. It is true that you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to, but until you have an inventory of all the facts and moving parts in your business you are shooting in the dark.
The Biggest Liar On The Web!
One of the biggest problems in the online marketing world is that people have this false notion that they can make tons of money from nothing! In the worst economy in 75 years even conservatives have become opportunity seekers at some level. When you become an opportunity seeker verses a strategic business person or marketer then you become the biggest liar on the web. I’m not implying that any of this is intentional but rather that you have become a victim of your own unrealistic thinking.
Red Flags With Boastful Internet Results!
- Lack Of Full Time SEO/SEM/SMM or Firm
- Over Emphasizing Facebook Friends, Likes and Shares
- No Online Paid Advertising
- Lack of Content at Scale
- Believing That Set It and Forget It Websites Work
- No Marketing Budget
- No Tracking or Analytic Data
Imagine a business owner telling you that their friend is a rocket scientist in social media because they have lots of Facebook interactions. Question, where are the profits from this campaign? To think that you could operate a successful campaign without driving paid traffic at it should be an immediate red flag that you are being snowed. If this business owner is single traffic source dependent that should be another concern.
Stay Away From The Hype!
The Internet is one of the greatest opportunities known for both business owners and marketers that are looking for more clients, leads and profits. If anyone is telling you that generating new customers online is fast and easy this should be a red flag. If SEO companies are telling you that they can guarantee you top rankings then this should be of concern. Even worst, if people are saying that they have SEO and Social media mastered as a business owner and they don’t have a team of people working with them then don’t trust what they say.
Trust, Authority, Popularity and Relevance at Scale
There is no secret decoder ring that you are going to find that will give you instant success with your online marketing or Internet marketing business. However, there are known best practices that can give you incremental gains that can generate results. The big players in the online world that can help you to gain ground with your marketing are Google, YouTube and Facebook. Social media is a tool that can be used for the following:
- Reputation Management
- Targeted Paid Campaigns
- Content Syndication
Using Facebook and YouTube in a strategic way can help you to increase your traffic from the most powerful search engine in the world which is Google. In fact, the second largest search engine is YouTube which is now owned by Google. So if you are a business owner and you think that you can rank high and pull lots of new customers by doing aimless FB post and Twitter tweats you are misinformed. Success in inbound marketing is based on the following:
- Paid Advertising (PPC, CPV and CPA)
- Comprehensive Market Ressarch
- Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis
- Authoritative Relevant Content
- Networks of Key Influence (Syndication Network)
- Best Practice in Optimization of Organic, Local, and Conversions
- Targeted Marketing
- Frequency and Scale of Content Syndication
So if you intend to capture market share against a competitor but you don’t have the scale or full time expertise needed to accomplish the mission, then your mission is doomed. Never assume because someone has 15 to 20 comments on a Facebook post that this represents marketing results. Even worst, thinking that you can take action on all of the items listed above by yourself is foolish.
Investing In Your Internet Marketing!
Time is more valuable than money and leverage is critical to online success. Let’s roll the clocks back 15 years an examine what most any business would have had to invest in to market themselves at some credible level.
- Company Brochure and Print Collateral
- Yellow Pages
- Memberships and Associations
- Newspaper Ads and Direct Mail
- Billboards, TV and Radio
- Answering Service
- Sales Force
- Tradeshows and Conferences
- Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Meetings
- Local Community Sponsorship
- PR Firm
- Ad Agency
- Live Events
So imagine all of the capital investment that would go into the list above for any type of business. The information age has allowed us to leverage our marketing through the strategic use of search engines and social media, but that doesn’t mean you put yourself at a zero budget for it! If you are a business owner stay away from people that suggest that the Internet is a free form of marketing. True certain aspects of it our free but leveraging it for profit requires that you invest in your business.
Penny Wise and Pound Foolish!
The fact that the Internet is the most powerful form of marketing in the world doesn’t mean that you should attempt to execute an online marketing strategy by yourself. What if a business owner decided to build their own tradeshow booth or to design their own company brochures? If more business is coming from the Internet and there is less of a requirement to cash flow breakfast or dinner meetings where have you allocated those dollars to? If a business owner cuts down on travel, print, tradeshows, associations, newspaper ads, radio and other items to pursue online marketing, then where did that marketing budget go?
The Secret Web Strategy!
So now you have the secret Internet marketing strategy! What is it and which cave did it come out of? Simple, take your brain back to the list of items that you have always invested in and think about how much you were spending. If you were spending $50k, $100k or $500k a year on all of those items what percentage of that budget has going into your SEO, SEM or Social? So if you want success with your online marketing then take a percentage of that budget, say 50% and then compare the results!
The Economy Is Not An Excuse For Failure!
Why do some business owners go out of business while others expand? The answer is adaptability! It’s true that the economy has been troublesome, but the bigger issue is that the entire marketing paradigm has been shifted upside down. I know what it cost to invest in tradeshows, print advertising and the other methods listed above and as much as those items are still needed in certain situations there is no comparison to the return on investment that comes from the Internet. Don’t allow the bad economy to become an excuse for your lack of adaptability to the new world of marketing.
If you are a business owner and you are trying to get more customers via the Internet then don’t assume that doing a few blog post or Facebook comments is going to compare to spending $100k a year in traditional marketing. This is insane for people to think this way and you should blame the Internet liars for doing this to you. This is the wrong mindset for business as all successful businesses require marketing investment.
My Internet Confession!
Here are the mistakes that I made when I tried to leverage the power of the Internet for my business! This is embarrassing but the following list of admissions is for your benefit as a business owner:
- Wasting Time On Social Media Trying To Tweet My Way to Success
- Listening To Internet Liars and Thinking I Could Grow a Million Dollar Business By Myself
- Attempting To Learn How To Become The Web Designer, Copywriter, SEO, SEM, SMM, Coder, PR Guy and Other 200 Items
- Investing In False Claim Information Courses Instead Of Investing In Expert Consulting
- Actually Believing That Online Results Could Be Had With A One or Two Person Army
- Thinking That Social Media Marketing Like Facebook, YouTube and Other Could Produce 7 Figures
- Rejecting Paid Advertising In Favor Of Insanity
- Zero Competitor Analysis and Keyword Research
Control Freaks And Perfectionist Fail
What’s even more embarrassing than the list of Internet marketing mistakes above is that I attempted to master the web alone! It wasn’t out of the question to spend thousands of dollars a month in training and even worst, hundreds of hours a month in study. I did this based on the lies of certain Internet marketers who promised that doing social media would create a 7 figure income. Moreover, I lost sight of the principles of time and money leverage by failing to realize that I was attempting to be the PR, Yellow Pages, Newspaper, Radio, TV, Exhibit Company, Print Media and Publicist all alone.
The Power Of A Good Consultant or Online Mentor!
My madness didn’t stop until the day that I came to realize that I needed to treat my online marketing or Internet business like a business. I incorrectly thought that the power of the web is that it made traditional marketing virtually obsolete and that the profits would come from the savings. That was stupid and a horrific mistake in judgement. The truth is that had I leveraged the savings into a strategic investment I would have had a massive profit! Here are some important take aways for business owners:
- Invest In A SEO Expert
- Invest In a SEM Expert
- Invest In a SMM Expert
- Hire The Best Content Providers
- Invest In A Team Of People That Can Syndicate Your Content
- Hire An Expert in Market/Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis
- Competitive Markets Require Frequency and Scale
- Cheaper Is Not Better and Most Expensive Doesn’t Always = Quality
- Invest In Your Marketing and Advertising
- Earn Instead of Learn or Earn and Learn!
- Leverage Comes From Strategy and Scale
If you are a business owner and you want to find out more on how to adapt an online strategy to your business then call me at 214-884-5919. We will start with a discussion of your goals and objectives for your business. If you don’t have a budget for your online marketing and you want to discover what not to do to waste time, then contact me as well. I will have a private mastermind coming open for a limited number of serious minded professionals.
Avoiding Internet marketing mistakes is essential to your success and going it alone or based on the advice of untrusted professionals can be costly. This is the greatest time for marketers in the history of marketing but thinking it is cheap or free is foolish!