All marketing is like a trip to Vegas. Everything is a gamble and it’s easy to lose track of time.
As a business owner, you know you need to do it, so it boils down to what you have the time and talent to do yourself versus hiring the experts to do your marketing for you.
Of course, your budget plays a role in either decision.
The sad truth is that most business owners don’t spend nearly enough on their own marketing. Most people trying to sell you marketing services will tell you that you need to spend 10% of your annual revenue on marketing.
Of course, the real number for most of us on planet earth is lower than that, but depending upon your industry, 5%-8% of your annual revenue is probably more realistic.
And, some people think that’s even too high. It might be, but most likely, those are the business owners who are complaining that they don’t get the results they want.
Every marketing company talks to people with champagne taste on a root beer budget.
If there’s a basic rule of marketing and particularly paid search, it’s that you have to spend more to get more. The algorithms are set that way for a reason. Google and Facebook have built their business models around that.
So, if you’ve decided that you’re going to do your own digital marketing for your business, there are some basics that you should keep in mind. Here’s our list.
Top 5 Don’ts
Don’t Build Your Own Website
These days, there are a lot of tools out there to help you develop and launch a good-looking website, but don’t be fooled.
While many of these DIY website builders are fairly simple to use, there is a science to web design that most people don’t know, understand or care to learn about. Building something pretty or that you like, doesn’t mean it resonates with your target audience.
The risk here is that you spend a lot of time and a little money to build something that your potential customers breeze right past and don’t convert. What’s the cost of your customers NOT doing business with you?
It’s easier to hire a web design company where they bring their experience and knowledge of what works to match your vision and dreams for your company.
We have a small retail shop in Buford near the Mall Of Georgia, and roughly 80% of the people that come in and talk with us tell us they’ve gone the DIY website route and they find that these websites just aren’t getting seen.
For more than 16 years, we’ve been building websites for companies just like yours. We love to create an effective digital front door for our clients.
Don’t Build A Website And Think You’re Done
Although we see this a lot less now than we did when we first started, we used to have clients ask us, “Once my site goes live, how will I handle all the business?”
We’d reassure them that they’ll be just fine.
I call it the “Field Of Dreams” approach to digital marketing. “If I build it (a website), they will come!”
As of March 2021, there were nearly 2 BILLION websites online. Some estimate that only about 200 million are active sites. Think about how many different websites you’ve actually been on this week- 5? 10? The point here is that simply building a site doesn’t mean anyone will see it.
Just like getting anyone through the actual front door of your business, you have to do some work to get potential customers through the digital front door of your business.
This means you have to market your business online through vehicles like search engine optimization, Google Ads, Facebook ads, etc.
We can help you identify the best ways to do that but don’t just think that people will just naturally find your website once it’s live.
Don’t Run Paid Ads To Your Home Page
We try to tell everyone we know about this one, and frankly, our mailman is tired of hearing about it, but we can’t tell you how often we see people running either Google or Facebook ads to the homepage of their website.
While we understand that this makes sense to a lot of people, it makes zero sense to the respective algorithms.
Look at it this way, if you’re a plumber, and you run a paid ad about water heater repair to your homepage, the person interested in water heater repair sees stuff about fixing leaks, new construction plumbing, toilet repair, and oh yeah, water heater repair, your ad has been effectively watered down.
This will affect not only the conversion rate (lower it considerably), but Google’s algorithm, for instance, will ding you for that. By “ding”, we mean they will show your ad less and cost you more.
Instead, build a specifically targeted landing page that ONLY deals with whatever topic you’re running an ad for. A water heater repair ad should go to a water heater repair landing pages that have a form, proof about how good you are and that’s about it. Even building landing pages has science behind all that in order to convert better.
Don’t Ignore Google My Business
Let’s start with the obvious. Google My Business is FREE. Google really likes it when you play with their toys, and this one is a pretty robust platform that helps you accomplish plenty of things such as:
- A FREE (seeing a pattern here?) space to describe your business in detail.
- Putting your business on the map (literally!)
- Gives you a platform to begin collecting and responding to reviews. You should answer them all as well
- A place to add pictures of your business
- A platform to put regular posts about your business, specials, etc.
Keep in mind, in most search results on Google, you have the ads listed first followed by the map listings. Those map listings are meeting Google’s criteria and that’s a separate algorithm entirely. We know that filling out your Google My Business profile as completely as possible and getting your listing verified is a solid start.
If you’re not using this platform, you’re most likely leaving money on the table and worse yet, you’re robbing your business of some valuable visibility.
Don’t Expect Regular Social Media Posting To Make You Rich
Far too often, we hear business owners say, “But, I post on all my social media channels 3-5 times a week, and I don’t seem to get any business off of it.”
Welcome to the club. It’s a big clubhouse.
It just may be that you may need to not only alter your expectations but take a look at your entire strategy for using social media.
Yes, I said, “you have to look at your…strategy”. Just posting random stuff about your business isn’t really a strategy. Plus, social media can be a time suck for more than just the users. Posting that many times weekly takes a lot of time as well. For what?
That’s the first question. Why are you posting on social media at all?
We’re not saying it isn’t “worth it”, but you have to define your goals. Once defined, every post you make needs to be in line with those goals. That’s where a content calendar can be helpful.
These days, many companies are posting on social media channels to present a consistent marketing message. For some, it’s about building a brand. For others, it’s about maintaining the brand. Still others use social media as a platform to engage their target market.
For example, we know one women’s clothing store that posts pictures of several dresses and asks followers to vote on which ones they should carry. This is a great way to bump up engagement, but it also creates pre-orders and helps them move inventory quicker.
Top 5 Do’s
Identify Your Target Audience
Another way to say this is “Who do you WANT to work with?”
Here’s the issue: the more you know about your target audience, the more you can speak to them in a meaningful way. This helps you organize all your content and focus your marketing messages.
It also allows you to accurately describe their pain points and present what you do as a solution
Become A Data Monkey
Let’s be honest, some of us don’t like numbers, but the truth is, numbers are our friend.
In the 17 years, we’ve been in business, we’ve talked to a lot of business owners. You’d be shocked and amazed at how many of these business owners don’t track any numbers at all.
When it comes to digital marketing, there can be too many numbers to track. That’s ok. Pick some and follow those.
For example, we see a lot of websites that don’t have Google Analytics on their site. This is like hiring an employee but never checking in to see what kind of job he or she is doing.
Google Analytics can seem overwhelming, but the basic information it provides is essential. You can see how many visitors your site is getting, where they’re coming from, where they’re going (or not going) on your site, etc.
Your website needs to “work” for you, and having analytics gives you the data to assess that.
Look At Your Digital Marketing Like A Labrador
We love Labs. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Some are guide dogs, some are hunting dogs, and some are just spoiled rotten.
Obviously, if you care and love your Labrador, he or she will serve you well for years to come.
That’s how you should view your digital marketing.
Ok, so it’s not a perfect analogy, but I was writing this sitting next to my dog Maggie. The point is, far too many business owners see their digital marketing as “set it and forget it”, and those days are just gone.
If you don’t change or add content to your website periodically, Google will eventually see your site as abandoned and drop it from the search results.
Google even wants you to add content, reviews, and photos to your Google My Business Listing. It’s part of their algorithm to display your listing better.
If you’re feeling the pressure yet, we understand. Pet a Labrador and you’ll feel better. Then, go add some content to your website.
Diversify Your Marketing
You might be surprised at how many business owners invest all their marketing dollars in one avenue. For some, that might be great, but we see this as a huge risk.
Take search engine optimization (SEO) for example. For most businesses, getting targeted search traffic is a really good thing, and that’s exactly what SEO can do for you. But, it’s not the only way to drive traffic to your site, and it’s important to consider other avenues.
Why? Simple. Digital marketing changes at light speed. If Google decides to change the rules and suddenly outlaw SEO (Breath easy, they’re not going to do that), the main highway for you to get traffic could get shut down. No business can afford that.
It’s the old adage of “never put your eggs in one basket”. Try several different marketing techniques to test what gives you the best return on your investment.
Keep in mind, while all marketing is a gamble, what you spend money on needs to pay for itself in the business that it brings.
This should go without saying, but digital marketing is only one way to get business. Since people tend to spend hours and hours on the internet, it’s smart to have an effective online presence, but you should also get out there and shake some hands.
Depending upon who your target audience is, most of us like to do business with people we know. Networking can take on many forms. Here are just a few examples:
- Join your local chamber of commerce
- Considering joining a networking group
- Participate in a charity
- Sponsor a local sports team
- Get a booth at a relevant expo (when they get cranking again)
- Agree to give a talk on your area of expertise
- Write (or get someone to write) an article for you to publish in a magazine in your customer’s industry
The bottom line here is you want to get in front of as many people as possible to increase your brand awareness.
It’s important to remember that when you’re in public or at these events, you represent your brand. It’s important to remember that when you feel like yelling at an umpire for a bad call against the team you sponsor. Stuff like that can really work against you.
The staff at Make It Loud works hard to educate and help our clients be successful. It’s more than just part of a good business model. It’s who we are as people. Just ask us. We’ll tell you.
If you need help with your digital marketing, call us today. Besides web design and various types of digital marketing, we provide training to help you understand how to improve your social media marketing, SEO, and more. We also provide free website assessments. We’ll tell you honestly if what you have seems to be working and suggest improvements.