In the marketing world we all want act as if their is a secret formula that only we know for success. In fact, this is the same false belief that holds back a lot of the business owners I work with when it comes to their marketing efforts. They are usually afraid to do something wrong or that it will be ineffective, so they wait until the “right” method comes along.
The Secret to Marketing Your Business Online
The truth is that even I don’t know the secret to marketing your business (I know it shocks you to hear that I don’t know something….just kidding). As a marketer, I only know what has worked for others and can make an educated guess on what to try first. Marketing techniques and strategies are mere opinions of what might work, not a guarantee of success. It all depends on your customer, market, unique selling proposition, and a host of other variables. The only thing to know for sure is that we are sure of nothing.
Where Should You Start with Marketing Your Business Online
The above information shouldn’t sound discouraging, but rather empowering. Knowing that there is no wrong answer means that we have the freedom to experiment without fear.
How do we get started using this new found power? Use the steps below as a guide (remember you are free to do as you decide.
- Make a list of what you do to market your business now
- Examine Your List Critically
Perhaps you are already blogging, or using Facebook, or even doing print ads in a local newspaper. Whatever the methods you are using to expose your business to customers. I want you to capture what it is, how long it takes, how often you do it, and how you track your results (if at all).
It is important to be aware of current processes whether you are a big firm or a small one man business. The goal of this exercise is to understand where you in your marketing so we can determine what small changes you can make to improve your efforts.
Remember that we want to augment your efforts, not replace them. You are more likely to succeed if your new marketing efforts do not greatly alter your current routine.
Now that you have a list of activities you perform or pay someone to perform to market your business, I want you to get critical. Look at your list and ask yourself the following qustions for each item:
- Am I performing this task the best I know how or am I only half committing
- How many customers is this task driving? Do I really know how many new customers I have received using this method?
- Is this task taking up too much time? Is there any way you could automate or make the process simpler?
- Am I being consistent with this task and Am I doing this task enough during the course of a day, week, month to make it effective?
Small business owners often try one method and then give up before they get it off the ground or they only partially commit. The end result is a poor execution of a good idea.
Here we are trying to determine if the task is worth doing. If you currently don’t know how many new customers you are getting, you will need to determine a way to track it. For example, a coupon code can be used to track the number of people responding to your print ads. or bit.ly, google analytics, or other free software can track visitors to your site.
Many times there are ways you can make a task easier. For example, you could use an automated tool to monitor your Facebook page and only alert you via text when a user comments on a post. Or perhaps could use a smartphone to upload videos to twitter for new products you create.
If not, write down what frequency you think the task would need to be effective. This will allow you to determine whether you can commit.
Take a look at the list you created above to determine your tasks that should be eliminated. The tasks that have poor results or take too much time (and can’t be automated or simplified) are the first ones to go. Second tier tasks are those that you feel would require too much commitment for you to execute properly. Don’t throw out poor performers that you didn’t commit to or execute properly as you may be able to still produce results with a little bit more effort.
The other thing to note is that when you are looking at your list is whether there are just too many tasks. Sometimes we try to do too much as marketers and this can prevent us from going deep with successful efforts. I would rather see excellent execution of one marketing effort than see dozens of poorly executed tasks.
Now that you have freed up some time by eliminating wasteful tasks, you should look into how you can make the top performers better. Can you spend more time on one of your tasks to make the end result better? Can you automate or simplify the process to free up time for other activities?
If you find that you are doing things perfectly, ask yourself if there is a way you can add another small task to augment those efforts. For example, you could record yourself reading your blog posts on your computer And upload them, as a podcast onto podomatic.com (puts them onto iTunes and podomatic site). You could then take the same audio and offer it as a download on your website in exchange for an email address.
Once you have done the above exercise you. A feel free to experiment to your hearts content and don’t be afraid of doing something wrong. It is not about what other people do to be successful, it is about how you can bring in one more customer. Spend your time wisely and it won’t matter what anyone else is doing.