online marketing myths

What Small Business Owners Need to Know

Online Marketing has a pretty bad reputation. Some of the first thoughts that enter people’s heads are annoying pop-ups, excessive emails or spending hours on social media.

As a lover of all things Marketing, it breaks my heart to see this beautiful strategic art be cheapened by those who think being the loudest or most in your face will get you somewhere. It’s kind of like comparing a fine bottle of Green Label Scotch to a Goon Bag (Cask wine for my non-Aussie friends).

My mission today through this blog post is to bust through a few of those myths so that you might be able to get a little bit of a glimpse into the true magic of marketing.

myth no. 1: a website & social media account makes an online marketing strategy

Oh how I wish it could be this simple. How nice would it be to be able to just create a website and a Facebook account so people can get to said website.

Yet, I still see time and time again Small Business Owners so focused on getting these two things in place and perfect and then on “launch day” all they hear are crickets and they think they have failed.

Unfortunately it isn’t quite that easy. Online Marketing is full of complexity but somehow appears so effortless and smooth. Kind of like the Green Label I was talking about (Can you guess I like my Scotch?)

It is a beautiful interwoven web of your website, social media, email, content and promotions. It is your brand. It is your connections with your audience. It is what you truly offer the world.

myth no. 2: marketing and sales are the same thing

The next thing I see happen after Small Business Owners put up their website & social media account and then find no one is magically knocking on their door is they revert to selling. Constantly.

What I mean is that every single social media post is either a picture of their product or a very unsubtle brand message. Maybe there will be an inspirational quote thrown in here or there.

They feel like at any and every opportunity they must pimp their wares. And then if things still aren’t selling they think there is something wrong with their product or their prices. So the next logical thing to do is have a sale.

All of this is totally reverse thinking to what marketing is all about.

Marketing is building the complete experience. It is about building your brand around “something”. This something could be a key message, it could be being really helpful or motivating, it could be around a movement. But it is “Something” that IS NOT your product, service or your prices. It is what they represent.

So the first step should be focusing on that “something” before moving into the sell.

People will respond to your business so much better this way and you should be able to get the sales without being so focused on how much things cost.

myth no. 3: you need to be everywhere and be doing #allthethings

The next common thing I see is Small Business Owners trying to be seen everywhere. So Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Email, Facebook Groups, Ads, SEO, Blogs, Videos, Public Relations… the list goes on.

I’m exhausted just looking at it!

Instead you need to focus on just a couple of things and doing them well!

Enter Strategy. Strategy is about the things you will say No to. Not all the Yes.

It is about an awareness of who your Target Market is, how you can help them and what your strengths are. Then choosing the best tools for the job based on those.

Once you select those tools you can then put your best foot forward and really shine, instead of just showing a half-hearted effort because you are juggling so much.

Free Online Marketing Course

myth no. 4: there is a magic formula

I hope this goes without saying but this still catches so many people out.

You see some really enticing ad and story from someone who has had great success with X strategy and “they can show you how to do it too”. What you were doing wasn’t working so well (see myths 1, 2 & 3 above) so you think it could be worth a shot.

There are two big problems with this:

  1. You are only getting the highlight reel from said person and they really could be manipulating the numbers to look like something
  2. You are NOT them: your business is unique, you have a unique target market and you are better at some things than others.

You need to play to your strengths, not what so and so expert tells you.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with people teaching you their strategies. In fact, there is significant value in learning from experts and specialists. The problem is that it might not have been the right tactic for you to be using in the first place. The best teachers recognise this and will make sure you are on the right path. To some others, they don’t see the other ways as they are so focused on their own thing.

And this isn’t always their fault. The quote “If all you see is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” (Bernard Baruch) comes to mind.

myth no. 5: your <insert marketing thingo here> needs to be perfect

Please, please don’t get caught in procrastination station spending a whole year building your website because you are trying to find the best colour palette. Or not getting started on your Instagram feed because you don’t have a big selection of “Insta perfect” shots.

It is too easy to let time slip by focusing on these things.

I get it, it is scary to put yourself out there. But “Done is better than Perfect” (Sheryl Sandberg).

There are two things to remember here:

  1. You will notice your mistakes far more than others will – they are too busy looking at themselves!
  2. Once they are out there you start learning what is working and what is not – and this might include some surprises!

The best part about Online Marketing is that it is so adaptable. All it takes sometimes is a quick edit and upload and you are done.

Another point to cover off here is “Comparisonitis”. We all suffer from it! Even those who you view as “having it all together”. Everyone thinks they could be doing better and the very person you admire for all their stuff wishing that you could be like them, might just be doing the same in return.

We all have our own gifts so as long as you are staying true to who you are, being perfect doesn’t matter.

 

And on that deep note, I will leave it there! I hope this has shown you that online marketing isn’t about being the person in the room who talks loudest to get noticed. In fact, that it’s kind of the opposite. It’s the quiet person who sits there quietly listening and then when they do speak they get the attention of the room as everyone knows it will be something well thought out, chosen and important.

 

have i enticed you to want to learn more about online marketing and how it can help your business?

As a first step, I have created a FREE online course to help give you the big picture of the online marketing space. Kind of like a hop on hop off bus tour of a new city. It is not intended to give you a one size fits all solution. Instead it is to give you a bit of a “lay of the land” so you can begin to see where you might want to visit for yourself.

The lessons I mention above are weaved throughout as my approach is very much focused towards the “content & connection” side of marketing, not the selling.

If that sounds like something you would be interested in, you can join in for Free here.