What do you need to market your business?

When you start a business what’s the first thing you think about?

  • Buying 200, 500 or 1000  business cards
  • Getting ‘out there’ to mix with people at Networking events?
  • Setting up a website, or would a Facebook page be a better idea?
  • Learning how to use Twitter/LinkedIn etc.

If you’re considering online marketing DIY, ‘solutions’ are going to be fairly high up on  your priority list.

Online solutions to ease your pain

I’ve seen all manner of promotional tools being used to engage and win people over to buy an online marketing solution, whether to do with social media, emails, multi-media or websites.

Identifying someone’s pain is at the heart of many a Sales pitch, together with the ‘right’ solution to make the  customers particular pain go away.

We’ve all had a laugh at some of the outlandish offers that float by us from time to time, but the selling of online marketing solutions and websites seem to be in a team of their own, playing on pitches covered in promises that decay into disappointment

People search online for a solution to their pain and ultimately a provider to deliver ‘the necessary’ for a successful outcome. The difference between a solution being successful or not for you and your business lies in your comprehension of ‘the necessary’. Let me tell you a story.

Buyer beware!

Jane was going on a walking holiday and needed to buy some new kit. Jane had picked up enough information about the need for clothing ‘fit for purpose’, but was rather dismayed at the price tags associated with the kit she recognized she needed.

Searching online, as you do, Jane found a great website showing people photographed in a rain storm wearing the style of coat she was looking for, at a price within the budget she had set.

Consequential losses from making assumptions

Both the proposition and the price had been presented in such a way that they were attractive to Jane, who promptly ordered a coat from the company, feeling pleased she had managed to identify a solution within her budget with the benefit she was seeking.

The weather on the Lake District walking holiday was mostly wet, as had been expected. Jane experienced that her coat did not live up to her expectation, letting in water along the seams. This was a great disappointment as Jane had believed the coat waterproof, from what she’d seen on the website. However, when Jane looked more carefully at the label it didn’t actually say the coat was ‘waterproof’. The label in the coat said ‘showerproof’ which isn’t the same thing at all.

Jane was really disappointed that her solution wasn’t what she hoped for and felt she should have been provided with a detailed explanation of the shortcomings of the coat. However, in reality there aren’t many companies who outline the shortcomings of a product they’re selling, unless there’s a legal requirement.

Hindsight can provide uncomfortable insight

Hindsight is a great thing, but we shouldn’t be too hard on Jane because she’d just acted on assumptions, which turned out not to be underpinned with the necessary knowledge; such situations can and probably have happened to all of us at some time or another.

However, making a mistake with the purchase of a coat is not such a costly set-back as purchasing an online marketing solution that you find, further down the line, is not ‘fit for purpose’.

Ask questions before you buy an online marketing solution

If you’re looking for a list of 10 top questions to ask then I’m sorry to disappoint. There are plenty of posts out there offering the keys to unlock the mysteries of successful online marketing, usually in exchange for your email address!

I’ve seen all manner of offers to tempt people to sign up for solutions, whether they be to do with social media, email marketing, websites or content creation or automation.

The manner of selling solutions can involve a ‘free consultation’, a ‘free audit’ or an inexpensive dollop of social media coaching, often with cake thrown into the mix. Ever heard the expression ‘There’s no such thing as a free.. cake?’

If you don’t know about something it’s comforting to feel someone is taking the trouble, at low-cost or no-cost, to advise/help and you’ll undoubtedly grow your knowledge via such conversations or ‘cost-effective’ coaching sessions. However, you need to be aware that these type of interactions are only likely to deliver knowledge for purposes of servicing a sales proposition (back to Jane and her coat).

My 5 tips for online marketing DIY are:

  1. Don’t think that online marketing is just about learning to use Twitter, LinkedIn etc. That’s just the tip of the iceberg!
  2. Most advice that’s given to you for free isn’t.
  3. Don’t be tempted by a solution that fits your budget, without considering whether functionality can expand to serve future requirement.
  4. Don’t sign up to a solution based on what’s being said to you at the time. Go away and find out more via Google (that’s what a search engine is for).
  5. Invest some time in learning about the right questions you should be asking a solutions provider. For example, what security measures are established at set-up for database driven websites.

Where to get impartial advice about online marketing DIY

There are good sources of free information on sites such as CopyBlogger. However there’s a lot of information to sift through, which can prove to be a step too far for many in terms of available time. Perhaps it might be more time/cost-effective to get some independent advice that’s specific to your situation and needs. It’s a way of testing the water to see if you like and trust the person enough to consider them likely to have your interests as a priority rather than theirs.

There are many organisations that provide impartial training in skills for DIY online marketing, some options being more costly than others. Again, do your homework and check out what other people have said about what they got from the course. If possible, contact those people via social media and ask them to outline the benefits they took away with them from the course.

How I might be able to help you

As part of my work I deliver a range of half-day and day-long training courses, with content ranging from what you need to know before setting up a website, to a practical hands-on course in using tools for online marketing. I also deliver training on working with WordPress, which is arguably the best CMS, content managed system, solution for a website/blog in the market place.

Develop your own website

Susan works with individuals and businesses on website development projects where she helsp them create their own websites, being trained in valuable website management skills along the way.

The outcome for businesses is saving of money in the medium/long term through having become proficient in managing their own website. You can read about a website development experience of the Manager of Bakewell Town Hall after she had gone from knowing nothing about websites to being someone who successfully launched one.

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What to do if your Twitter account is hacked

Getting bogged down by your blog?

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