In the last year I’ve had friends and family ask me how “playing around on the internet” could possibly be worth actual real-world money. Then, as we talked, they’d whip out their phone to google for a good lunch place.
The Internet Is The New Primary Marketing Medium
When’s the last time that you used a phone book to find a local service like an electrician, a landscaper, a lawyer, or an internet service provider? When’s the last time you actually called a number from a billboard?
For me, and most millennials, the answer is somewhere between “I can’t remember” and “not ever”. For Gen X-ers an older it’s become fairly uncommon as well. If you need to buy something in this day and age you’ll pull out your phone and check on the internet before you consider other methods.
It’s silly for any business today not to do everything they can to elevate their presence on the web.
Just Existing Isn’t Enough to Get Noticed
Since most business owners are clever and hardworking people, they do read the tea leaves and get a website and a few social media accounts. Unfortunately, that’s usually not enough, Everyone has a website, and unless people aren’t already looking at yours, it won’t rank much better than your competitors’.
You have to update your site regularly and interact with your community on social media to drive traffic and keep people’s attention. Unfortunately for modern entrepreneurs, this type of marketing is a process and takes a lot more time than the buy-it-and-forget-it ads of the pre-internet era.
Entrepreneurs are Busy People
Most startup business owners put in something between 60 and 80-hour weeks just to make sure their business runs. They don’t have time to sit down every single day to talk to strangers on Twitter and Facebook, catch up on industry news, and write blog updates for their site.
Even for the people who understand the importance of marketing on the internet, and take the time to do so, they often fall into what I call the “sales trap”.
Entrepreneurs Usually Excel at Selling, not Marketing
Internet marketing isn’t really about converting, it’s more about generating leads, and making it easier to generate more leads that you can work on converting later.
The “sales trap” is falling for the overwhelming desire to sell something to everyone you interact with in your marketing efforts.
Internet marketing can generate sales directly, but primarily it exists to raise general awareness about you and to make you easier to find through internet searches. That means that most of the people you reach out to won’t become customers. Instead, you’re creating a base of popularity that will encourage potential customers to come to you.
Since this usually means that, in the early stages of your campaign, your marketing efforts won’t bring a significant return in terms of sales, this can feel very frustrating to someone who is used to making things happen rather than helping them grow.
Hire a Pro
Traditional marketing was often actually more expensive than hiring an internet marketer is today. We tend to shy away from paying for internet marketing because it’s in cyberspace, and, on some level, we still don’t think it’s real.
If you’re running a small business, and you just don’t have the time, energy, or patience to deal with running your own internet marketing, call me up, and let’s do lunch.
Follow my blog and my Twitter