by Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft
So you started a company, but does that make you a marketing expert? Probably not. If you’re like many small businesses, you have a love-hate relationship with marketing. There is nothing more important than finding and keeping customers, but you’d rather be delivering great service than creating your next Facebook ad campaign. Technology has made it easier than ever to start a business, and while it can save you time and increase productivity, it’s also made running a business more complicated.
As a business owner, you wear many hats. One of the most important of them is the role of digital marketer. Digital marketing has become a vital part of growing and doing business in the modern world. Simply put, your business doesn’t exist without an online presence.
Think you’re too busy to learn a thing or two about marketing? You’re not alone. According to a 2017 small business marketing trends report, one in five small business owners surveyed said they weren’t planning to use any digital marketing tactics this year. They’re feeling the pressure of owning a business and are too deep in the weeds to plan strategically, or they’ve placed fictitious barriers along their path.
For most small business owners, the biggest barriers they face when it comes to digital marketing are the myths associated with it. From underestimating the power of automation to overestimating the complexity of the tools, entrepreneurs seem to have an unlimited number of reasons for pushing digital marketing to the bottom of the to-do list. If you’re ready to tear down the barriers, here are the most common myths that you should dismiss if you want to see a lift in your business this year.
Marketing is a Mystery.
Many entrepreneurs believe that digital marketing requires deep knowledge and expertise. They struggle with knowing what to say, when to say it, and how to say it to the extent they say nothing at all.
You don’t need to be a marketing expert, or even have one on your payroll. Working with a third party could be the perfect solution. There are plenty of freelance contractors and agencies that can provide consulting as well as implement the strategy – and fees are often are much lower than you’d expect. Some can even get your business online within a few hours.
The marketing mystery can be solved by bringing on the right person or people to handle the task. Ask for recommendations from your network or local Small Business Administration office. However, don’t pick the first one you get a proposal from. Shop around and make sure you know what’s included, and that you’re on the same page for your marketing goals, before closing the contract.
Marketing Software is Too Complicated.
Sometimes entrepreneurs are intimidated by marketing software. They think that there business is too small, they feel like they don’t have time to learn and implement new software.
The truth is that marketing software is no more complicated than any other type of software. There’s a learning curve with any new system, but that shouldn’t be a barrier that prevents any small business from using it. Those who commit and give themselves time and patience to experiment and educate themselves often find their software solutions produce a return on investment that far exceeds what they anticipated.
Time spent learning a new system should be considered an investment in the future. Just as learning to use accounting software will save you time and trouble when it comes time for payroll, learning to use digital marketing software will make your job, or your employees’ jobs easier.
Take advantage of training tools available through your software provider and start with one simple campaign. It doesn’t have to be extensive. It can be as simple as saying thank you for a purchase and following-up three days later to see if customers have questions.
Marketing is Too Expensive.
Many business owners are put off by what seems like the high cost of services, software, or direct advertising. There are, of course, some options that are not worth their price tag. However, when marketing is done right, the investment is often well worth the reward. Consider how much money is left on the table by not implementing a smart marketing strategy.
Purchasing marketing software is an investment. As with most investments, it’s hard to see the ROI from the starting line. Sometimes entrepreneurs will pick the free or cheapest solution because they think it will be quicker to implement and easier to get their staff up to speed. Besides, they can always migrate to a better solution later.
Later always comes sooner than you think and at a much higher price tag. You won’t be worried about the price tag when you’re in the middle of a product launch, and your marketing software can’t keep up with demand or can’t be modified to do what you need it to do. You’ll struggle with system migration issues like cost, training, setup, and data transfer at precisely the time you wish that it was all automated. The sooner you select a system that will grow with your business, the faster you’ll get your campaigns automated and working for you.
Look beyond today and make the investment in your company that you expect others to do when they purchase from you. Find a solution that will grow with your business, and that’s customizable to your needs and can fit together with all your other solutions. One that can be tuned down to target local customers or opened up to achieve a global reach. With proper testing and tuning, the return on investment can be game changing.
Marketing is a Necessity.
In the modern world, marketing online is not an option; it’s a necessity. Make good choices early on and always think about growth and scalability. Good digital marketing strategies can save time and increase revenue, enabling entrepreneurs to work smarter, not harder. If you continue to ignore them, you will inevitably be left behind.
Clate Mask is the CEO and co-founder of Infusionsoft. Clate has been educating and inspiring entrepreneurs for over a decade, and is recognized by the small business community as a visionary leader. Clate is a national speaker on entrepreneurship and small business success, and co-author of the New York Times bestseller “Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy“.