Are you a business owner trying to figure out this online marketing thing?
First, online marketing does NOT mean putting up a website. Sure, there are marketing elements in the website, but just having a website does not mean you are doing online marketing.
Think of your website as a brochure you just printed up. What good is it doing you if it sits in your office?
A huge number of businesses out there right now believe they are doing Internet marketing because they have a website. These are the same people that are saying that the Internet does not work.
What I see are certain “Camps” of Internet marketing – and the small business owner does not fit smoothly into any of them.
Most things in life could be done by anyone – if they have enough time and resources. The Internet is no different. You can build websites, modify design, set up a blog, write articles, split test your email messages, build your list, use social bookmarking every day, contribute to Squidoo, HubPages and Gather, join online communities and answer questions on LinkedIn and Yahoo Answers.
That would be a good place to start but would not REALLY be full marketing, simply higher visibility.
Camp Information Products
This group of people hone great skills and sell eBooks, videos, webinars, etc. The problem here is that a non-information product company will rarely take the time needed to develop these skills. It is not their main source of revenue. That is too bad since this group has a great deal to teach.
Most of the members I see in this camp are solo-preneurs.
Camp Big Business
Just like TV, if you have a big budget you can plaster your ads all over the Internet. AdWords, Ads, Paid Reviews, etc. Plus this group has full time writers and SEO Experts. The small business will dabble with these things but then give up, because they rarely pay off quickly and tend to dent the budget.
The thing that makes me cringe the most is camp technology. You go to an Internet Expert that knows how to code things and fall in love with all kinds of custom technology. You spend a fortune only to find out later that people like things super simple and do not care about all the bells and whistles.
So what is a small business person that wants results going to do?
Here is your plan:
You purchase hosting where you can get great open source tools like Bluehost or OutstandaHosting.com.
You buy templates that you like for your website and blog.
You pay a consultant to set up the look and feel to match your branding.
You purchase an account at aWeber and set up a reason for people to sign up.
You hire a Virtual Buzz Assistant to write regularly, promote your website via advocacy and use social tools to create more visibility. You set a fixed budget so you know what to expect.
You experiment with AdWords with multiple keywords and multiple pages.
You contribute as much as you can, and outsource the rest.
Why is this a good plan?
This is a good plan because it is low cost, has a long term view and is an investment in your web visibility. It helps you hone your message and makes sure your blog and website do not sit dormant and lose the traffic they were getting.
Sure, you are spending money on various tools and help, but all of it is low risk, fixed, and an acceptable risk for reward.