How To Create An Online Marketing Stategy

Good morning, internet fans! It is Thursday, June 4th and today is Internet Marketing Thursday, and I have a very special guest and that is Annette Penney with Inspire and Acquire, who’s up in Canada. Good morning, Annette. Annette Penney: Good morning!

RP: Good morning, I appreciate you spending some time. Typically, I have this internet marketing Thursday with Virginie Dorn, she is on vacation in Las Vegas having fun with family. And Annette and I, we actually met through Twitter, so social media does work, and she has a background in social media, strategy for online marketing, and she has a degree in psychology, which fits very well with internet marketing, especially social media. Annette, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day and helping me out with this broadcast.

AP: Thanks for having me. I’ve watched a lot of your videos with Virginie actually, they are quite good.

RP: Alright, perfect. Well, I’m sure this one is just going to be as good or even better. We’re going to talk about strategy and that, you know, I work with small business owners, you work with small business owners, and one of the struggles that a lot of small business owners have, especially when it comes to the internet marketing side of things because there’s so much out there, is kind of this… One of my buddies came up with, he calls it “hope marketing” and a little… “Maybe if I throw a couple of posts on Facebook, I hope something works,” or, “Maybe if I throw a couple of tweets out on Twitter, I hope something will work.” In today’s show, we’re going to talk about the… It really doesn’t work that you need a strategy.

AP: Yeah, Ryan, I have to agree with that. Here is what happens when these small business owners do that. They try it for maybe a month or two and then they say, “See, social media doesn’t work.” But that’s not actually true or businesses wouldn’t be spending as much money as they do and time that they do online, if it didn’t work. It does absolutely work, it’s just that you need to have a strategy before you begin. I think it’s really, really important to know where your audience is, what your target audience is, who your target customers are, what their ages are, where they’re located, so that you can design your strategy to target them, basically.

RP: Yes, definitely. I think one of the things that we talked about before we actually went live, was the fact that, well, there’s really two big issues: One is the fact that there’s just so much information out there; so if your a dentist, as an example, you just got out of the dental school, you went, you maybe worked for a practice for a couple of years and you’re like, “Hey, I want to start my own practice.” Now, it’s all on you to figure out, “Well, how do I build out my website? How do I set up a Facebook page? Do I need to be on Twitter? What about Yelp and all these local directories? Then there is SEO and Google’s got pandas and birds and all kinds of weird things that people are talking about but I don’t understand what it is.” So it becomes very overwhelming and part of my strategy, when I put this video series together, was that I wanted to give free information to help people move along and your comment was, “Well, this is really kinda complex. You can’t initially do it on your own, you actually need a little help.”

AP: Yeah, absolutely. The thing is, if you are a dentist, I think that what you should focus on is being a good dentist. Well that doesn’t mean that necessarily that you don’t understand the basics of social media marketing and online marketing but… Like my agency handles all aspects of online marketing but I don’t do them all, I’m not a search engine optimization expert, actually, ’cause that is a field of expertise all on its’ own. What I’m good at is developing the strategies and then I use other members of my team to help me implement the strategies for our clients. When we work with small businesses owners, what we do is we teach them how to perform some of the tasks but not all of them, because you can’t… It’s like if you have three or four different businesses, you’re spreading yourself kind of thin and then your focus is not where it should be. A new dentist needs to focus on building the practice and building some relationships with the clients, that is patients, I guess, he’s going to have or she’s going to have. And so, hire people that know what they’re doing but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do some of it yourself. You can, but you need to be taught.

RP: Right. I think that’s really important and, essentially, what you’re saying is, “Look, if you want to get… ” I’m going to say your foot in the door, but it’s really not, if you want to get a leg up on your competition, out of the gate is probably a better analogy, you’re better off spending some money upfront with an internet marketing company that knows what they’re doing, who can at least say, “You know what, you don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to be on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t have to be on LinkedIn and Snapchat, and Instagram, and all these other social media channels. But instead, doing some research, understanding your audience and really, it’s important to understand where does your audience play. If they’re on Facebook then, ‘Okay, let’s just focus on Facebook.'” And by working with an internet marketing agency, they can actually give you direction, and through that direction, you can become competent and faster. Is that essentially what you’re saying?

AP: Yeah, yeah. See you don’t even need me. You get it.

AP: One thing that I tell businesses who call me and inquire about my services and stuff, it’s not all about “Hey, I’m just trying to sell you my services,” because I’m just trying to help you to do the best that you can online. Whatever you do online, like if you put up a Facebook page and you have a lousy graphic and you post things and they’re not right and they’re not directed towards your target audience and all that. The problem with that is, that it’s out there for everybody to see. It’s not like when you put a little ad in your local newspaper and people throw the paper out in two days. Right? Then they forget it. It’s up there online, anybody can see it kind of a deal. So you don’t really want to be making big mistakes at the beginning and also, too, there’s a lot to be said for your online reputation. So if you get your graphics done and you know what your message is going to be and you have some consistency across all of the platforms, you can look professional without spending the big bucks that the professionals do. Know what I mean?

RP: Yeah, totally. I think part of that of is just not rushing into things. One of the things that you said that really caught my attention was, “When you put content out there that’s not relevant to your target audience,” is what happens when your target audience who is interested in using your services lands on your website or your Facebook page and they see content that’s not relevant to them? You’ve just essentially scared them away or they’ve lost confidence and you’re going to have to rebuild that confidence and that credibility which is very, very difficult, near impossible in the Internet age because of how instantaneous we want everything. “Well, you don’t have what I want so I’m going to go over here and check out this other guy.”

AP: Yeah, you know I’ve actually had companies come to me that have put up their own Facebook page, as an example, and they come into my office and they show me what they’ve done and then I tell them, “Okay. Look we’re going to need to spend ‘x’ number of dollars and whatnot.” And in two instances where the companies said, “Well, You know I’m just a start-up. I can’t really afford to do that right now. Maybe down the road I’ll come back to you.” I’ve advised them to take their Facebook pages down. You’re better off not to even have it up if you’re going  to be doing everything ass backwards ’cause it’s going to damage your reputation.

AP: And online… Like I explain it this way to everybody; online, you basically you do what you do offline. You’re building relationships, you’re getting to know people, you’re building trust, credibility, and you do that online. You just have to know how, technically, that you do it online. But it’s still about relationship building and trust building. And so you get online and you’ve got your business page and you put a picture. I’ll tell you what I see a lot of, is on LinkedIn, people…

[chuckle] put, their profile image is them on the beach or something. Right? [laughter] And I’m like, “No, no no.” It’s a professional networking platform, you’ve gotta have a professional headshot up. Doesn’t mean you gotta go to a studio. Get a friend to take a picture but throw on something nice, a little suit jacket or something, and get a friend to take a picture but don’t have yourself shirtless, laying on the beach, you know?

RP: Well I guess, yeah, it all depends on your business profile. You know.

RP: Especially if you’re a attorney, though. If you’re working at the strip club maybe that’s one thing but if you’re an attorney, that’s another thing. And the other one is, my pet peeve is being on Facebook and people that link their Instagram accounts.

AP: Oh.

RP: And so they post images on Instagram. And Instagram is all about the hashtag. So it’s hashtag, hashtag, hashtag, hashtag and then it leaps over to the Facebook and it’s hashtag, hash… Facebook is not about hashtags. It is but not at the same level that Instagram is and so now you’re frustrating me which is the exact opposite of what you should be doing.

AP: I am in the process of reading a book called, “The Sell.” I was just really curious about it because it was written by one of the guys on… One of the realtors on Million Dollar Listing, which I just started watching about a week ago. And he said something in there about his social media marketing which… You know what? It works for him. But it’s because he’s got like a ‘Rock Star’ status. You know what I mean? But I do not recommend it. And that is, when you post something on Instagram, it also goes on your Twitter, goes on your Facebook. You know what I mean?

AP: I hate when I see a business Facebook page and all their tweets are showing up there. I’m just like pulling my hair out, right? That is not the thing to do. It’s really important to understand that Twitter has a specific purpose and a certain type of audience. When you go… When your customers go to Facebook, they’re looking for something else. When they go to LinkedIn, looking for something completely different. Instagram, again, something completely different. I do not recommend that you post something on Facebook, share it across all these different social media platforms, that’s really important. Create your content for the platform and the audience that uses that particular platform. And how are you going to find that out?

AP: Well, if you’re already an established business, you collect data on your clients or customers, probably. Like a lot of businesses do, right? But if you don’t, that’s when somebody like myself comes in because I’ve got a lot of background in research and they can help you find, “Where is your target? Who is your target audience? Where are they and which social media platforms do they use?” And at the beginning, focus only on those. And that may mean that, at the beginning, you’re only on Facebook or you’re only on Twitter. But just pick one and get good at that.

RP: Right, and I think that’s really important. From a strategy point of view, I think one of the takeaways people can takeaway from this episode is, it is a bad strategy to be lazy and go, “Oh, I can use HootSuite and just make one comment, and it’ll automatically post on every single social media platform out there.” Because you’re not understanding, then, that your target audience is uniquely different in what they’re expecting on each one of those. And the Instagram/Facebook is a great example because on Instagram, it’s really about the hashtag, and if you link that account to your Facebook account, the relevancy is not there because Facebook is so much more social. We want to hear the story, we want you to write something. Tell us what the relevancy is about this picture and not do it in hashtag.

RP: And then, the second part, ’cause we’ve got about two minutes left here, is that, as a business owner, if you don’t really understand what you’re getting into, you can do more damage than good at times and therefore it makes sense to find somebody. You could use Annette, myself, somebody locally who does Internet marketing, but find somebody that you trust and respect that is putting out good quality information and at least have a consultation with them. I don’t know about you but my consultations are free initially. I’m sure yours are, also. And at least get an idea of, “What would it cost me to at least start out? Is it going to be $100? $500? $1,000?” And that money spent upfront could save you thousands of dollars down the road by not damaging your brand, your name, and appealing to the right audience so that you actually acquire new business versus pushing it away.

AP: Yeah, exactly. Like I don’t change the oil in my Range Rover because I don’t know how, I take it to the experts and whatnot. But I’m sure that a lot of your viewers are going  to have questions about, “How do I find the right kind of online marketing agency for me?” Some of the tips that I would give is find somebody that’s fairly local. Now I have clients all across the United States and two years ago, all of my clients were in the United States. And I’m here just outside of Toronto, Canada. But it’s really important that whoever it is you hire understands your business, and if they’re local, even better. Because the dealership that I go to is Jaguar/Range Rover/Land Rover and they called me a couple of days ago and wanted to talk to me about their online marketing and I thought to myself, “You know what? There’s nobody better to handle their online marketing than me. You know why? I love my Range Rover. I’m excited about it.”

AP: So try to find somebody who’s passionate about your business because I can’t really create content for you and stuff if I’m not excited about what it is you’re selling or promoting or your service or whatever. Somebody local, I think, is better ’cause then they know about the different restaurants and the this and the that. And they understand the residences in your area, but also somebody who would be good is an individual that does a lot of online marketing in a particular niche industry. Like some people only deal with car dealerships, kind of thing. I happen to be really good in the real estate industry but I’ve had clients all over, because I’m a good researcher, I can find things out fast.

RP: Right. Alright, well we’re just over our time so that is this episode. I think the key takeaway is, I love what you’re saying, “Find somebody local.” And I like that because just having that personal, being able to talk to them, seeing, “Are they trustworthy?” is very important, and also verticals. If you’re a dentist, there’s plenty of marketing companies out there that just work with dentists as an example. And then the auto repair industry, it’s kinda the same thing. So there are some opportunities there to learn what it takes to create a good strategy that’s specific for your business. Annette, again, thank you very much for filling in. For our first time, I think it was a great show. Lots of great information.

AP: Thanks for having me. It was a lot of fun.

RP: Alright. Well, take care, and I’ll be talking to you soon.

AP: Bye.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

One Comment

  1. 12/06/2015 at 19:27 - Reply

    Thank you for that marketing advice.

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