Michael Wolff had some interesting observations about website traffic for news sites in a piece in USA Today. His basic conceit is that most statistics on traffic are overblown and are in fact probably off by a factor of 100.
I can't comment on whether his math is precisely right, but he does have an important point. There are an awful lot of spiders and bots crawling the web hitting websites and inflating traffic numbers. I imagine we're headed for a day when Google Analytics finds a way to filter out those false pageviews. We'll all feel pretty lousy about ourselves on that day if we see our traffic decline by a factor of 100, but if the numbers are more realistic, we'll be better off.
You’ve been told that you need to engage in social media marketing, but you’re not convinced. You’re already busy, so why add another thing to your long to-do list? Well, here’s a brief crash course in what social media marketing can do for your small business:
The best thing about social media marketing is that it is a free* way to reach your customers. Twenty years ago, if you wanted to get news out to your customers about a new product launch, your only option was to go to media outlets and advertise. But today, you can blog about your new product on your website and then spread that blog post via your email newsletter and social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.
The key to being strategic about social media (we like the word strategic; it’s in the name of our company after all) is to think about your customers. For example, if you’re a restaurant, you have to first consider what type of clientele is going to come to your restaurant. Are they young? Or are they old? Are they rich? Or are they middle class? The answers to those questions are going to help you determine the social media outlets you want to focus your marketing efforts on. Click here to request a PDF report on the various demographics of social media site.
Another important point to remember when it comes to social media is that it’s ongoing. You can’t just set up a Facebook page and then sign off for six months. If you are going to engage in social media marketing, you need to commit to it. That doesn’t mean you have to devote a ton of time to it, however. For example, if your website has a blog, just make sure that you distribute your posts via your social media accounts. That will help extend the reach of your blog posts and improve your search engine results, which will in turn increase traffic to your site, which will in turn mean more sales leads for your business. See, it’s just that easy**.
*Technically social media is free. But if you include the time you or your staff spend on it, there is a cost. And then once you get more involved in social media marketing, you may find yourself spending money on more advanced management tools or marketing campaigns to attract more followers for your social media accounts. As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Same applies to marketing.
**Well, it’s not THAT easy. But it’s not impossible. It just takes some time and some planning. We can help you with both of those, by the way.
Marketing is one of those words that’s so ubiquitous it can begin to lose its meaning. But since it’s in the name of our business, we have some specific ideas about what marketing is – and what it isn’t.
What marketing is…
…about the customer. Every marketing effort has to tie back to the needs of the customer. That means that the marketers working for your company have to have conversations with your customers. That can be one-on-one meetings or larger conversations through social media. But beware the marketer who has grand plans for your businesses without ever talking to your customers.
…integrated across the business. It’s easy to silo marketing. In some companies marketing gets relegated to creating brochures and catalogs. In other businesses, marketing becomes simply buying ads in print publications. But true marketing covers all aspects of a business. To get academic about it, marketing includes the traditional Four Ps: Price, Product, Promotion and Place.
…strategic. Now strategic is a word that gets used and misused a lot. But it’s important. To us, strategic marketing is ninja-like. It finds the weak points of the competition and goes after them. It doesn’t try to be all things to all people. It is efficient. It’s not flashy (unless it needs to be).
What marketing isn’t…
…stuck in a rut. Change is constant in today’s business environment. That means your marketing needs to adjust with the times. That doesn’t mean you throw out your ad campaigns every month, but it does mean you need to tweak thing and adjust your mix to keep up with consumers.
…buying a billboard. Don’t get us wrong. We love billboards… for some brands. But for someone reason, businesses love billboards and they think if they get a billboard, then they’re done. But ad buying is only the beginning. Marketing is about taking exposure and turning it into real reputation building and brand management.
…a style guide. Creative directors love to put together style guides. And they’re very useful. But they have to work within a larger strategic marketing plan to be effective.
There you have it. That’s what we think marketing is and isn’t. What about you? What do you think? Share your comments with us below.
I write a column for the Worcester Business Journal called Digital Diva. In it, I write about technology issues impacting businesses. Not surprisingly that often involves social media. In my most recent column, I looked at how effective Facebook really is at driving sales for ecommerce businesses. The truth is, it's not terribly effective. But that doesn't mean you should give up on Facebook entirely. Find out why by reading the complete column at WBJournal.com.
I'm Christina H. Davis and I'm the founder and owner of Hall Davis Marketing Strategies. Learn more about me on my LinkedIn profile.