I’d like to address the number one question I get when meeting with the majority of small business owners and startups. That question is “how the heck do I get more customers?” Believe it or not, your customers are your best source of advertising (word of mouth referrals).
Here are some of the issues facing most small businesses.
Not enough cashflow to spend on advertising.
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” – Henry Ford
Need I say more? If you aren’t getting a result it isn’t because you are advertising but because your advertising sucks. Sorry to be blunt but it’s true. How do you solve this? Hire someone to do your marketing. This frees you up to do what you do best.
Forget the saying “work on your weaknesses and become well rounded.” Too many people spread themselves too thin and wear too many hats. Focus on what you do best, delegate the rest.
Spending time on unproductive activities
People say they don’t have time to make a post. Perhaps that is true. I personally spend no more than 20 minutes per 1000-2000 word post.
As a business owner you will benefit most by spending the majority of your time on income producing activities. Simply understand the difference between A and B activities. Briefly, A activities are those that produce income whereas B activities are the small things. Some A activities don’t show any ROI until months later. One key to success in business is having a strong belief that what you are doing will eventually work. It can also be the downfall…
B activities are necessary but not what you as the business owner should spend the majority of your time on. Successful business owners find ways to delegate the tasks that can be done by someone else to focus on the $500/hr activities where the real money is. Your success is crucial not only for your own sanity but also for the sake of the people who count on you for their income and customers that want your product or service.
SEO is getting more difficult for small businesses
SEO is more than inputting keywords. SEO experts must be dedicated wholly to keeping up to date on the latest information and constantly learning what works and what doesn’t. Dedication, commitment, and discipline are key qualities of the successful online marketer.
How does this relate to small business ownership? Most business owners simply don’t have the luxury to divide their time between learning SEO and running their business. The shocking truth is that most entrepreneurs are slaves to their business, making less than they would as an employee, and only a few weeks away from financial disaster. It is no wonder that it is a road less travelled.
The catch-22 is when business owners must decide whether they will sacrifice short term financial pain for long-term gain. It is no secret that large companies spend $10,000 per month or more on SEO marketing. They also have a greater ability to take advantage of the increased customer demand than a small business.
So should a small business scrap SEO and online marketing altogether? No. No. No. But it is highly advisable to learn the basics or find someone willing to do it in exchange for your services. Just be careful of someone that doesn’t know what they are doing because it can permanently damage your online presence.
It’s true that there are no shortcuts to success and anything worth doing is worth doing well. One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received was that “you don’t know what you don’t know.” The more I learn the more I realize how little I know.
Don’t pay for cheap SEO because it doesn’t work. Think of Google as one giant popularity contest. The majority of online searchers only click on the first 1-3 links of a search. Less than 80% of people ever go past the second or third page of Google. So cheap SEO will NOT get you on the first page of Google and Google has been cracking down on people trying to ‘game’ the system by blacklisting websites altogether. It is possible but difficult to remove a penalty from Google. The last thing you as a business owner wants to do is go out of business because you lost your website.
Tired of hiring unqualified people that leave a bad taste in your mouth? Let’s be honest. If you don’t understand SEO it is very easy to hire the wrong people. Talk is easy and anyone can blurt out “I will do this and that.”
The best way to deal with this issue is to learn how to do it on your own. Google and Youtube have all the information that you will ever need. Network with people who are experienced in these areas and glean what information you can. Or, get in touch with me if you want to know how I got started.
The bottom line to all of this is. Business becomes easy once you learn to think like a successful business owner does. Business rise and fall with leadership. Apple without Steve Jobs as one example – a haunted empire. One of the most difficult but necessary elements to getting to the next level is getting rid of ones ego, admitting that they need help, and listening to the ‘right’ people that have had massive success. Listen to those that are the best in their field.
Personal development coaching is a lucrative business for a reason. People will pay a huge sum of money to learn what they need to change in order to profit.
Hitting a pipe with a hammer (one time): $0.25
Knowing which pipe to hit: $99.75
If you can master only two thins for fast results it should be Pay Per Click/ Adwords and optimizing your website for conversions.
Big brand discount PPC makes it difficult for small businesses to compete. Bing offers the most cost effective PPC advertising platform (less saturated than Google).