Adding self-education to the small business marketing philosophy

A big part of the reason smaller businesses and large corporates alike have latched onto digital marketing is that it provides some massive advantages over traditional media advertising. The appeal of reaching a specific demographic at a low cost is one that every business owner or manager understands. The result is spectacular – right?

Not really. The point of social media as a marketing tool is to provide a two way communication stream between a brand and it’s supporters/customers, but as with any marketing, the moment it becomes a ‘sales tool’ the power is gone. Now there are no end to the number of great articles that can teach you about the power of social media, how to use it for good not evil and so on, but one thing I increasingly see in the market is not only a lack of understanding around why to use digital marketing as a core tool, but a more fundamental problem – how.

A quick checklist will probably bring up some areas for revision – What am I trying to do here? What system is in place to execute? What is my goal? What tools shall I use? who in our office will be charged with the execution? How will I measure their success, and our company’s success in executing the plan? Do I genuinely have enough resources allocated to execute the plan? How does each piece of my puzzle – from social media to web, e-newsletters and so on – tie into each other to maximize effect and minimize resource drain?

If you don’t have a clear goal and a pathway to hitting that goal, chances are your efforts will be at best superficial, at worst a huge drain on resources and potentially damaging to your brand.

I strongly suggest you discuss your plan with a professional, but some things to guide your next tentative steps”

  1. Goal – fill the lead pipe or improve communications with existing customers? Both?
  2. Measurement – number of followers is fine, but how will having X followers improve my sales or customer satisfaction? (If it won’t, time to re-work).
  3. If I am trying to find new leads, how do i convert a follower into a prospect in my database, and potentially a person i am discussing real needs with?
  4. Do I have the materials and personnel in place to still be doing a great job in 6 months from now?
  5. What can I learn about my customers from this experience, and how am I going to utilize their feedback?
  6. Does my digital marketing provide the kind of experience I would like to provide? Is my website doing it’s job as the hub of my communications – and does it even need to be the hub?

I think there needs to be a shift in philosophy, away from ‘just do it’ to education – CEO’s and presidents of small to medium businesses need to educate themselves, and make a small investment in understanding the future direction of marketing. It might be a hassle, but so is taking risks with your communications that have the potential to be fatal. An educated CEO can’t be an expert, but an understanding of the potential will make for better decisions and may lead to a vision that professional marketers haven’t seen yet – everyone can be guilty of missing the forest for the trees.

A good place to start: I really like this article speaking to executives about social media:

And please, call any time if you have your own thoughts on what the next step is going to be for your business.


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