Facebook, Google+, Twitter, SEO, SEM….Oh My!!!

While the title of this article doesn’t quite have the cadence of “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”, I think it may be safe to say that for most website owners facing the cavalcade of options for properly marketing your website, it may be tempting to say that the title of this post is far more intimidating than lions and tigers and bears.  Most website owners are solo entrepreneurs, or possibly small partnerships with very limited resources.  But when we look at all of the channels that are demanding our marketing attention, it can be quite intimidating and frustrating to simply try to keep up with all of it.

To make matters worse, publications that exist to help us wade through the mess of what should work and what doesn’t work provide guides and messages encouraging us to increase our efforts in the latest and greatest marketing efforts.  Unfortunately Site Reference is not spared from scrutiny on this account either as we have published multiple articles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, certainly on SEO, SEM, and recently Pinterest as well. Simply put, website owners today are faced with marketing channels overload.  Our checklists for proper marketing strategies are growing increasingly long:
  • Setup a proper website
  • Do thorough keyword research on the website to ensure top rankings in search engines
  • Engage in link building
  • Setup PPC campaigns
  • Establish an email newsletter along with autoresponders
  • Setup a blog on yourwebsite
  • Build a Facebook page
  • Setup a Twitter Account
  • Add yourself to LinkedIn
  • Start a LinkedIn group
  • Add yourself to Google+
  • Add a page to Google+
  • Start indexing on Pinterest
  • Add yourself to Foursquare if you are a retail shop
  • Integrate all of your social networks together
  • Create regular updates for your social networks
  • Write a blog post once per week
  • Write your email newsletter
  • Check your stats to make sure everything is effective
  • Read newsletters and articles to be sure you are staying on top of the best marketing efforts
And for some people this list could be considered abbreviated.
So how does one wade through the mess of social networks, marketing channels, and specialties that we are expected to learn in the current Internet world?

Simplify Your Approach

The advice here is so simple it should be obvious: when you feel overwhelmed by the number of marketing channels you are supposed to maintain, step back and simplify.  A simple realization that we all must come to at some point is that we cannot do it all on our own.  Rather than trying to do it all, learn how to do a few things very, very well.
It is my opinion that poor marketing can actually hurt your presence more than it can help it.  For example, if you setup a Facebook page because you were told that this is what you are supposed to do, but then never take the time to customize that page, update it, and turn it into a great marketing vehicle, what is that going to say about your business to the general public? To the general public, it will simply look like you have a business that is not concerned with details, that you are content with half-done work, that you are a business that is unpolished.
Exemplary businesses find their successes in attention to detail and creating a complete experience. Unfortunately details take time and attention, and as such, being detail oriented requires that we focus our attention in select areas.
Do a few things extremely well rather than doing a lot of things poorly.

Outsource (and Outsource Your Outsourcing)

This may come as a surprise, but some of the most successful online businesses I’ve seen (multi-million dollar per year operations) have owners who are challenged when it comes to operating their email accounts.  Being successful online does not require that you be particularly technically savvy or particularly good at link building or SEO.  Being successful online requires that you first know your strengths, but more importantly you learn your weaknesses and plan for those weaknesses.
The secret to running a successful business, online or offline, is being able to properly identify, hire, and manage people who will accomplish your end goals.  Obviously this is not something that comes free or easy, necessarily, but the nature of online business is changing from what it once was: the days where a person could put a site up online after a few days of work then see it rank at the top of the search engines within months are no longer the reality.  Today’s Internet requires that we build teams and manage our goals.
Not all things with your business need to be outsourced.  However, properly identifying areas of your online business that could benefit from a specialist touch will have a return that will far outweigh the costs of outsourcing.

Not Every Channel Needs to Be Used

Finally, realize that it is OK to ignore a few marketing channels.  Use discretion in spending the resources of your business (whether that be your own personal sweat equity or money to hire outsourced labor).  It is true that some marketing channels are becoming more important than ever before, but resist the urge to immediately setup a new marketing channel without first exploring what resources it will truly take for you to succeed.
After all, when we look at case studies of online success stories, we often find that they didn’t necessarily rush out and create a presence in every possible social media and marketing channel, but rather, we often find that they focused their efforts into one channel and did it very, very well.


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