I don’t know about you, but 2014 flew by. I started the year with a list of marketing campaigns and achievements that I wanted to have happen, but only a few of them saw the light of day. What I did have in 2014, was a lot of conversations with people about online marketing.
Even though it is 2015, most small to medium sized businesses do not understand the value of online marketing. To them, online marketing is the internet and it’s where their kids waste hours of their days. They don’t see the value in marketing to those who they see as “their kids.” What they fail to realize is that these kids are now adults and they spend money on products and services. Beyond that, it’s not just kids that use the internet, it’s pretty much everybody. Online marketing is not just another hand looking for your money. Twenty years ago, a good location for your business was important. These days, positioning yourself correctly on the internet is more important. If you look at popular eateries among San Francisco locals, many of these establishments have poor locations. They are busy because of word of mouth and online marketing.
Online marketing does not mean spending money. This is a fallacy I would like to put to rest. I started a photography business in 2006 and used the internet to market myself. I did not spend one single dollar until 2008. Through social media and my website I was known locally as a professional photographer and had photographed over 100 weddings, events and portraits. That’s 100+ clients that came to me through online marketing. In late 2008 I started running targeted Facebook ads which at the time did not cost a lot of money. The point I wanted to make is that online marketing is not always expensive. Each of us are in different industries which means it might cost more for an Attorney to market himself online than it would a photographer, but it’s very possible, and it’s something you should not overlook in 2015.
Online Marketing Jumpstart for 2015
Website: Your website is not a digital version of a tri-fold brochure. Back in the day, people would come through your front door and you would give them a brochure when they asked for information. These days, people don’t even come through your front door that often. We are way to busy to simply drive around and look for a business to sell us a product or service, we research it online. What people find when they come across your business online will be their first impression. The customer experience starts with what they find online.
Mobile is only getting bigger. Everybody has a smartphone and is using it to get information at the exact moment they need it. This is even more of a reason why you need to take your website more serious. That website also needs to be optimized for mobile so people can easily browse your website to find what they are looking for.
Social Media: I am probably one of the few marketers that will tell you that you don’t always need a social media presence. I do believe that it will help if you can commit the time it takes to cultivate a presence on social networks. Social media for the most part is time stamped. Everything has a posted date and time. If you do not keep your social media presence up to date, it looks like you have abandoned it. If I am researching a company and they have not posted in six months, I wonder if they are even still open. Having a presence on social media is important and should be part of your plan for 2015. You should commit to spending about ten minutes in the morning and ten before you go home for the day on social media. What you talk about and where you post it will depend on what line of business you are in and what your target market is. If you do not feel that you can commit to spending at least a few minutes a day on social media for your business, I recommend not creating profiles at all.
Video: You have heard of Youtube right? It’s the #2 search engine next to Google. That means that each day people go to Youtube to search for things, and let me tell you, it’s not all cat videos. People are searching Youtube get information about something and they are hoping to find that from a professional. This is why I create videos on just about everything I do professionally. Most people like to learn from others and that is why Youtube needs to be part of your online marketing strategy for 2015. If you are like me, you don’t like being in front of a camera, but don’t let that stop you from sharing what you know with other people. I am a believer in the 80/20 rule. Give away 80% of the information and sell the 20% for a premium. We all know that 80% of our income comes from 20% of whatever it is you spend most of your time on anyway. It’s science!
Our time is limited. We can scale a lot of things in life, but we can’t scale our time. All we can do is be the most effective possible with the time we have. This is why I love online marketing and will continue to pour my efforts into it. You can only speak with so many people in a given day but you can reach thousands online. Give potential clients or customers the information they need to know about your business, products and services. Share with them information that positions you as the expert. Don’t worry about giving away too much because I can promise you someone else is already giving away more. We are not simply service providers anymore, we are also educators. Clients and customers want to be informed and it is up to us to inform them. The alternative is that they get the information somewhere else and that entity dictates the sale. Make 2015 the year that you take online marketing serious by getting your website in line, creating a social media strategy and uploading few videos. The search engines will smile down on you for providing quality content and you will be rewarded with organic search traffic that you didn’t have to pay per click to receive.