Before I get into some of the mistakes small businesses make, let me explain why I thought it an important topic. I spoke with a couple of clients this week who asked me about some SEO information that a salesperson from a large media company pointed out. Based on their critique, they were concerned about their SEO. What was presented just reinforced how much knowledge or a small lack of it can be used as a weapon. Now you should know that most of these big media company salespeople have very little knowledge on these topics, they probably get a crash course on SEO or SEM and are sent out to sign up unsuspecting business owners. These salespeople were using industry lingo and what can be best described as asymmetric information, basically, information they have and they know you don’t, to bring up doubt in the minds of these owners. Most of what they mentioned was 4-5 years out of date or simply points they had stronger capabilities in providing. Just so everyone is on the same page, meta keywords are and have been irrelevant for quite some time. Though somehow these sales people are still sent out to talk about it. Anyone who approaches you talking about your meta keywords on your site, kindly stop them and show them the door, they know nothing about search engine optimization. Any company that would train their employees so poorly is not going to be able to help you.
So what are some things that can actually help small business owners considering digital marketing avoid? I will detail out a few that I can detail for you.
Determine how digital marketing can help your business
This may seem simple but as an overview, you should discuss and consider what services you might take advantage of. Options and products pop up all the time, they may in principle do similar things but can have different audiences. From my perspective every business today should at the very least have a presence on the web and have that website SEO optimized. But you may already have a site and or have a more specific need. You may have a specific service or product that you need to promote. Or you may be in a very visual B2C industry where social media can be most effective in telling your story. In any case, be aware of what is out there, and don’t be sold on the spot by hype.
Know where you stand
Fairly simple right, you should have an understanding of what your current presence looks like, to a search engine I mean, not simply visually. Do you have any social media sites set up? How do you rank from an SEO perspective against your competitors? There are many simple tools that help with this, one great tool is Ahrefs aside from just overall health of your presence you can see how you rank against the competition. Take stock of what you have and where you currently rank before buying something new.
Digital marketing doesn’t solve fundamental business problems
If you have the wrong people or the wrong business model digital marketing will not solve that problem. Simply throwing money at problems with your business won’t solve them. It may actually compound them. When you spend money on social media or search engine ads and your people who pick up the phone aren’t trained to maximize that call, you throw money away. The best marriage of digital and traditional combines well thought out story telling & conversion opportunities with old-world common-sense business practices.
Know what you’re buying
It has become more popular to sell “consulting” or “management” as a solution. Don’t buy advice when you need service. You may chalk this up to just not asking enough questions or not getting a proposal. Many companies will disguise what they provide so that you think you’re getting a service when all they are doing it telling you what is wrong and how to fix it, which they are happy to provide for more money. Or sometimes not. If you are committed to doing the work, buy the advise. If not buy the service.
It never hurts to have a decent understanding of the current landscape. If you have more time than resources, this may be your first option. There are almost endless amounts of e-books and site dedicated entirely to digital marketing training. It’s a great place to get started. A good digital marketing company can build on your efforts so that they do not go to waste.
Digital marketing is still evolving, It is ever-changing and what was the norm 2 years ago may not apply today. But what is important to understand is that it is the way of the future for large & small business to market themselves. Be well prepared and positioned to capitalize on your digital presence. If you need help from a digital marketing agency, contact Anthem Software today!