Marketing can be a tough job if you’re not careful. For starters, there are a lot of businesses that have been burned by agencies or “gurus” that promised the world to only leave the customer with empty pockets. The industry also relies on soft metrics, which make it difficult to relate all activity to what people typically point to when examining ROI (return on investment).
This isn’t anything new. We’re just transitioning to different advertising mediums (digital). Unlike a billboard, which sales prospects have chosen over me before, you can accurately target your audience and track actions with the Internet. At some point, it does become more difficult to track how an ad on Facebook maybe didn’t result in a call or click, but did encourage someone to walk-in to the business.
Here’s the thing though; People are stuck on traditional advertising because that’s the way it has been for decades. Even when those mediums were becoming the standard for what you needed to do as a local business, there were still people getting taken from agencies. They just didn’t realize it because of the warm fuzzy feelings you get from seeing your billboard up over town.
Let’s take a look at marketing today though to see if it’s actually worth it.
Will Internet Marketing Help a Small Business?
Forget the thousands of scholars and experts that say, “Yes, Internet marketing helps you grow your business.” At the end of the day, if you’re a skeptical business owner that has been burned, that means nothing to you. I get it. But let’s assume that marketing/advertising are important parts of attracting business. Can we agree on that fact? If so, then let’s go over a few questions.
- Marketing is built to attract attention and let people know that your business exists. Where are the eyeballs now and how do we quantify it? How are you reading this post? According to my analytics, 70% of the visitors to my site and most of our customers’ sites are coming from a phone.
- What are you checking during commercial breaks? During conference calls? While you’re at dinner? Could it be your phone? Are you one of those people that doesn’t believe in having a phone or Facebook? Fine. Just look around you and see what people are doing at the mall, the grocery store, or the red light in the car next to you.
- Traditional marketing can talk to you about readership, how many people drive by a billboard on an average day, and they can even throw tracking numbers on ads to help quantify your ad spend. As a business owner, do you feel like those metrics mean something because those advertising companies provide you with something tangible in the form of a print ad or billboard? Do you think those mediums are powerful enough to pull someone’s attention away from their Instagram feed?
Finding Social Media Results
Social media is packed full of amazing metrics. The large social networks provide businesses with demographic information, incredible targeting for paid advertisements, and even tracking technology to pick up business that converts over the Internet For example, we use our Facebook ads to target family entertainment center owners. We then track the impressions, clicks, how much time those prospects spend on our site, and whether or not they convert into a lead via filling out a contact form. Those are hard metrics that we’re able to use to quantify our Facebook ad spend every month.
However, a significant amount of leads come through those ads that call us instead. Or they bookmark our site and come back to it 2 or 3 months later (beyond our tracking window). At that point, we have to rely on piecing the soft metrics, our intuition on where the attention of the prospect is (their phone)We attempt to pull as much information from them as possible to try and piece together their purchase journey.
It’s not 100% accurate, but we’re able to get a good idea of whether campaigns are working or not. We look at year over year history, account for seasonal trends, examine everything we’re doing (referral program, print media, Internet marketing) and of course our sales numbers.
All of these numbers will point to one thing: Do more people know about us today than they did yesterday? Assuming that the market needs our services, then the influence, exposure, engagement that our brand creates should make a difference in the amount of small business owners that contact us to help them drive business with social media marketing.
Here’s What You Need to Ask Yourself
If you’re a small business owner and you’re skeptical of Internet marketing and social media, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you believe in the data regarding mobile Internet use today?
- Are you willing to look past a bad experience or bad zero results from previous attempts?
- Are you the right person to be managing your own marketing?
I believe that social media is an extremely powerful tool for small businesses today, and unfortunately, the majority of business owners are not tapping into it completely. There’s only an ROI in social media if you use it correctly to help your business capture eyeballs consuming content on it all day long.
Here’s the thing; you can’t just jump onto social media and be successful. You need a strategy. It needs to be built out with short term and long term goals. You need to ask yourself, how can I provide so much value and increase my exposure to the point that my potential customer has no choice but to give me their business?
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