Internet Marketing Executive Overview for Business Owners and Business Managers
Lesson #1 – The Right Approach
Life can be overwhelming. Running a business on top of that, not to mention figuring out how to use the Internet, and you can easily cross the tipping point.
I know your pain. I’ve been working in Internet marketing for 15 years and there are still days I scratch my head trying to figure it all out – plus find the time to do it all.
One of the things I make a point to do EVERY DAY is to STOP and THINK about growing my business. I park everything else going on – my to-do list, the phone, email, text messages, and the million thoughts rushing through my head – and find a very quiet place to think for an uninterrupted 20 minutes. I also find inspiration and balance from Tiny Buddha.
If you don’t currently take a few minutes every day to stop and think about growing your business – what’s working, what’s not working – give it a try. It takes some discipline, but the results you experience will be extraordinary.
Recently I was mulling over why some people achieve incredible success with their Internet marketing while others struggle. Why does one person get 10 to 15 inquiries a day from their website or generate $30,000-$50,000/month in online sales, while another has spent hundreds of hours plus all kinds of money and has little or NOTHING to show for it.
Based on what I’ve seen, here are the common characteristics of those people who have been VERY successful with their Internet marketing.
1. Think Long-term
2. Think Smart
3. Know What to Do
4. Know How to Do It Correctly
5. Get Expert Advice
6. Use the Right Tools
7. Plant, Water, Cultivate
8. Consistently Review and Analyze Results
They Think Long-term
Too many people think that Internet marketing is easy. Heck, if I had my choice, I’d rather it was that way, too… but it isn’t.
Based on my 15 years of experience, I can say without a doubt that there are very few shortcuts when it comes to Internet marketing success. If you think there are, or believe someone who tells you there are, you will never get the results you SHOULD and CAN get. In most cases, you will waste a lot of time and money along the way and have little or nothing to show for it.
I tell people to think of their Internet marketing like planting a vegetable garden. You wouldn’t plan your garden layout, plant seeds one day, sprinkle it once or twice with a hose, and then expect a great garden to appear a week later, would you? Of course not.The same applies to Internet marketing. Online success takes a long-term approach that requires both time and patience. The good news is that if you take care of your “Internet garden,” I guarantee it will generate an incredible harvest!
They Think Smart
I’m not saying you have to be Einstein-like smart, but you have to be smart enough to create a good plan and then see it through. You’ll have to take a serious, not casual, approach to your Internet marketing if you want to get great results.
Too many people think if they build a website and then get it top ranked at Google, everything will suddenly fall into place. They think Facebook will generate thousands of leads each month that quickly turn into sales. They listen to a Constant Contact commercial and think creating and publishing a weekly or monthly email newsletter is easy.
That is not how it works. That is not smart thinking.
There are many variables in a workable big-picture Internet marketing strategy – 13 to be exact – and each one has to be managed correctly, effectively, and intelligently.
Knowing WHAT to Do
The first step after developing a set of goals is knowing what you need to do to make your Internet marketing work, and I mean exactly what you need to do. You can’t guess, you can’t use trial-and-error, and you can’t take advice from your friend who has a degree in Computer Science. You can’t “half-figure-it-out.” You’ll need access to high-quality “how-to” information, or access to a resource, in-house or outsourced, whose sole mission is to steer you in the right direction and then literally walk you from Point A to Point B to Point C.
Knowing HOW to Do It
Once you know WHAT to do, you’ll have to take it one step further and figure out HOW to do it correctly. For example, a lot of business owners know they need to be using Facebook (yes NEED, not should). What most don’t know is HOW to actually use it effectively. For example: properly setting up your business page, how to get the right people to “Like” it, consistently posting high-quality information, creating posts that engage people to create interactivity and conversion, and creating posts that search engines see. There are probably another two dozen variables that deal with effectively using Facebook. Are you surprised to hear that?
Getting the Help You Need
In many cases, small businesses don’t have in-house staff with the expertise or time to do Internet marketing the right way. Getting outside help is an option that will accelerate everything. Again, there are about 13 different variables in a successful Internet marketing strategy, from site architecture to content creation and more. Trying to do everything yourself, and of course doing it correctly, will leave you very little time to manage the rest of your business.
Using the Right Tools
Have you ever tried to fix something with the wrong tool? I have to confess, I’ve ruined more than a few perfectly fine plumbing fixtures over the years, all because I didn’t have the right tools.
When it comes to Internet marketing, the right tools will accelerate your success; the wrong tools will hurt it.
Some of the “right tools” include high-performance website hosting, Google Analytics to monitor and analyze the traffic at your website (and blog), Google Webmaster Tools, email auto-responders, an email newsletter, and a blog – just for starters!
Plant, Water, Cultivate
Now that you have a good plan, you know WHAT you need to do, you know HOW to do it, and you have the right tools, it’s time to “plant your garden.”
This includes designing a website that is optimized for conversion, building high-quality inbound traffic, search engine optimization, blogging, social media, an email marketing newsletter, and Google Analytics. Everything has to work perfectly, or very close to it, to get GREAT results.
Consistently Review and Analyze Results
Would you buy a car without a gas gauge? Of course not.
Knowing what is going on “under-the-hood” at your website and blog, and across your social media touch-points, is critical to understanding how your “garden” is growing. If you don’t review and analyze this data, you’ll never know what is working, what is NOT working, and what might need attention.
I recently talked with a business owner who told me:
“We have a new website, and it’s great. We spent thousands to build it. It’s been up almost six months, but nothing is happening?”As you might expect, I replied:
“How much traffic do you get to it each week? How many visitor sessions does it have each month? Let’s take a look at your Google Analytics.”
His answer: “I don’t know the answer to any of those questions – I don’t think we have that information. What is Google Analytics?”
Using Google Analytics, you can tell how many visitor sessions you have, how many are repeat visits, which search engines are sending you traffic, what keywords people used to find your website, what other websites are sending you traffic, and how much is coming from those sources (as well as about 1,000 other things)! It also tells you how many people came to your website and left immediately. This is called a Bounce Rate and is VERY important information to have.
In case you’re thinking this is an either/or tool, Google Analytics is a “must have” tool, and it should be installed at your blog as well as at your website.
And Finally, Harvest
When done correctly, effectively, and in a timely manner, everything comes together and it’s time for a fantastic harvest – a harvest of GREAT RESULTS.
Because of good planning, a well designed website, high-quality inbound traffic, top rankings for your keywords in search engines, a blog that increases your overall online visibility, an email marketing newsletter that drives repeat visitor sessions, and a smart social media strategy, you’re seeing more inquiries, phone calls, and sales!
A quick review and checklist:
Know What to Do
Know How to Do It Correctly
Get Expert Advice
Use the Right Tools
Plant, Water, Cultivate
Consistently Review and Analyze Results
Download this list to hang on the wall near your computer (.pdf, opens in new browser window).