I spent yesterday afternoon at the Ideal Home Show as we have two stands there. It’s a massive show that fills all the available space at London’s Olympia. Chatting with other stall holders, we discussed our online businesses and the work we had been doing over the winter. The large number of different approaches surprised me.
Online marketing can be an overwhelming proposition. On one level it has never been easier or cheaper to reach a mass of prospective customers. But on a more practical level it has never been more confusing or harder to know what to do.
There are just so many different strategies and tactics that you can use. Should you try paid advertising on Facebook or Google? What about social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest? Let’s not forget search engine optimisation, link building and organic traffic. Then there is blogging, making videos and guest posting.
The list of ideas goes on and on. If you are starting a business or even running an established one, online marketing is daunting and paradoxically both easy and hard at the same time. What should you spend your time and money doing?
Like many questions it isn’t straight forward; my answer is “it depends!”
My view is that it depends upon what your skills are, where your interest lies and on your resources. For small businesses, I believe successful online marketing comes from focusing and becoming an expert in ONE area. Like most small companies, Valentte never has enough money, people or time to do all the things we would like.
So, to illustrate our focus on ONE area, we barely have a presence on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Youtube. My view is that if you can’t do something with the proper level of conviction and commitment, then it is better not to do it.
The strategy we adopt is to double and triple down to become experts and dominate ONE area. We are a tiny team of ten people at Valentte, its impossible to do everything. So rather than spread our effort and money across lots of different marketing options we instead concentrate on ONE area. For us that is email.
Our online business is entirely email driven. We currently have 52,000 on our email list. We concentrate all our online marketing effort in keeping and growing this list each day.
This single-focus gives us simplicity in strategy and allows us to look at new opportunities through a very simple lense. Does this idea fit with our goal of growing our email list to 500,000? Is it directly related to that goal?
We do shows, to grow our email list, we blog to give customers on our email list valuable content, (I hope!) that encourages them to open and maintain their subscription. We post those articles on Facebook to grow our email list, and so on.
We concentrate on email and blogging because that is where my interest, understanding and skills lie. The key takeaway here is you cannot do everything.
If you are small like us, or working on your own, then my advice is to look closely at your marketing goal. Decide on what you want to achieve then decide which ONE area is most likely to bring success.
Double check that you are interested and enjoy this area. No point, spending all your time doing something that you don’t find fascinating. Then focus all your time, effort and money on that one area.
The grass will always look greener, so be careful not to get distracted. Keep concentrating, learning and developing your skills in the ONE area you have chosen. Once you become an expert in that area, first the website visitors will come, then the sales will follow. Build yourself an audience of people who care about you and your products. Only when people “give a shit”, pardon my language will they spend money.
This process takes time and dedication to work through a learning process, to struggle on when it doesn’t appear to be working when other new and shiny marketing opportunities come along.
Building a business is a painstaking, often slow journey. You can simplify it by being very clear about how you will acquire customers. They are the lifeblood of your busiess and future success. Find them, earn their trust, demonstrate your product is the solution to their problem and they will buy from you. Long before others believe, you must believe it’s possible.
Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.