Laurel Anne Stark

5 signs you don’t need an online marketing strategy.

Laurel Stark

5 signs you don’t need an online marketing strategy.

An online marketing strategy can be described as a detailed written plan that explains exactly how you’ll market yourself and your business on the internet.

The development of an online marketing strategy can call for a significant investment of both time and money.

Before you spend your time and money, you may want to consider the following points to find out if you really need an online marketing strategy.  

What is online marketing?

Online marketing is an umbrella term used to describe online tools that can be used for the purposes of  marketing a person or business.

Facebook ads, email broadcasts, getting on google and your website are all online marketing tools.

These are by no means an exhaustive list of online marketing tools, though.

In fact, the world of online marketing changes almost daily.  New tools are constantly emerging, old tools dissolving and familiar behemoths changing their functionality or design almost entirely overnight.

Why do businesses market themselves online?

Consumers are savvy creatures. You know, you’re one of them!

In response to being inundated with advertising, we’ve adapted. We have spam filters, Netflix subscriptions and caller ID’s to help us avoid being sold to.

In the same breath though, we’re spending literally hours a day online. (Over 24 hours a week online in 2016 according to the Globe & Mail.)

Being in business, it pays to have a presence where your future customers are, so it makes sense to invest in a presence on Facebook, Google, YouTube and on other online marketing tools like your website.

When is developing an online marketing strategy a waste of time?

There are several scenarios when developing an online marketing strategy isn’t a good idea.

#1 - The first sign you don’t need an online marketing strategy.

The first is if you or the majority stakeholders in your business are of the opinion the internet isn’t a huge opportunity for businesses and business people alike.

Don’t laugh.

This is a reality for some people. Most commonly those who are just about to retire, those who don’t have cell phones and those who are generally resistant to change.

#2 - The second sign you don’t need an online marketing strategy

Another sign you shouldn’t invest in an online marketing strategy is when what you’re already doing is working well really well for your business, and for you personally.

Some businesses reliably experience an influx of new customers and sales from the internet. These leads and sales are willing to pay for what’s being sold and turn a tidy profit.

Sometimes this result can happen fairly easily and naturally, especially if the business owner is really in touch with their customers, where their customers hang out online and when they have an interest in learning online marketing.

#3 - The third sign you don’t need an online marketing strategy.

You're confident.

You’re measuring your results, you know what works, what doesn't and what tactics have the best return on investment.

Generating results and feeling confident in your abilities add up to an ideal situation, one where you likely don’t need any further support.

If you don’t find yourself in any of these three situations, it may be worth additional exploration to find out for certain whether or not an online marketing strategy will deliver value for your organization.

Other scenarios when an online marketing strategy doesn’t make sense are:

  1. You may find you need an online marketing strategy, but you’re not able to allocate the resources.

  2. You don’t want, or can’t handle any more business


 

When is developing an online marketing strategy a good idea?

The following symptoms usually indicate when it may be a good idea to invest in an online marketing strategy.

#1 You’re feeling less than confident:
 

You’ve been successful with your online marketing efforts to date.

 

Your business is making money, but you’re not feeling very confident you’re going about your online marketing the right, best or most effective way.

You may be wondering if you’re missing something. You may be worrying about whether you should have a presence on the latest social media site, or if it’s a waste of time. Any leads or sales that you're getting from the internet may be fairly sporadic, so it's not a very reliable source of leads.

#2 You’re not generating results:
 

You could have a very successful offline business, have an online marketing budget and believe online marketing can generate opportunities for you. But everything you’ve tried is a colossal waste of time and money.

#3 Your competitors are kicking your butt:

You may be noticing that your competitors appear to be doing a little bit better than you are. Whether it's they are ranking better than you are on Google or their social media is getting more engagement or whether you've just heard through the grapevine that they're doing better than you are financially.

#4 You can’t delegate:

You may want to delegate some of your online marketing responsibilities but you’re having difficulties doing so, because you don’t really know what to say to the person you’re delegating to.

#5 Your market is changing:

If you’re looking to expand or pivot into a different market, and you want to use the internet to drive leads, it makes sense to look at developing an online marketing strategy.

What kind of results can I expect from a strategy?

According to the Business Development Bank of Canada small business that have an online marketing strategy and are actually executing it can see revenues up to 22% higher than their competitors.

Obviously 22% more revenue is a significant increase in funds. That may be just the right incentive to invest in a strategy.

Why is a strategy that much more effective?

Without an online marketing strategy, typically anything that gets done in the area of online marketing is sporadic or reactive. It’s what we in the business call "spray and pray”. What this means is that you're out there testing everything out publicly.

Remember the internet never forgets, so being reactive and inconsistent can compromise your brand and erode the trust you’re trying to build with your audience.

Instead of building on the solid blocks of a foundation, each tactic or effort is acting individually instead of in concert where you can expect a compound effect.

Obviously I am biased, but truly and in the long term an online marketing strategy is much more effective for resource allocation if you’re at all invested in marketing your business online.

An online marketing strategy can save you time, save you money and most importantly it can going to keep those sales coming in and keep those profit margins high.

How To Actually Make Time For Your Online Marketing

Laurel StarkComment

If you DON’T feel overwhelmed by marketing your business online marketing - you may be doing it wrong.

Really.

Let me be the first to admit it, small business owners like myself already have towering to-do lists.

Many of us have deadlines that would send your average worker bee into straight up panic mode.

Add in a huge amount of information about a constantly changing set of circumstances that is the world of online marketing, and it’s pretty standard to feel overwhelmed!

People are surprised to hear me say this.  I get called a social media guru pretty regularly and I guess people think that I am calm, cool and collected and perfectly organized when it comes to my online marketing. The truth is, I’m not at all.

One of my favorite personal development truths is that if you can’t change the person, change the environment, and so that’s what I’ve done.

So, walk and talk with me!

Join me and Moe as we walk in the park and I’ll share my system with you.


Why this matters: Your job isn’t what you think it is:

If you're in business for yourself, you are definitely in the business of marketing yourself. If you don't have clients and you don't have sales, you don't really have a business, do you?

So, your online marketing has to be a priority to ensure your sales funnel and pipeline stay full!

Clarity Kills Confusion

The first thing I do is get really, really clear on my strategy.

What is it that I'm actually doing that is going to drive my business forward?

What specific actions will translate into more credibility, exposure and working with the clients that I want to work with. I also want more profit so I have enough time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine every once in awhile, you know...Because it's all about the life balance and I want to create a life and a business that works for me, not the other way around.

So before I do any marketing at all,  I get clear on:
who my ideal clients are and

  1. how I can find them online
  2. what the most effective way for me to spend my marketing time and dollars are.

Do you pencil yourself into your own calendar?

Once I'm clear on my strategic objectives, the second thing to do is then actually make time for working on and executing these objectives. Of course, that’s much easier said than done although the tactic is simple.

I basically have to book off time to work on my marketing in my calendar and I have to stick to the time slots I’ve dedicated to this.

How to leverage shame for personal gain

I find that if I don't make myself accountable to another person then I will not actually execute all the marketing stuff that I promised myself I would do.

So, I have a weekly accountability call with my partner, Wendy, and every week I tell her what I did last week that I said I was going to and what I'm going to do this week and she does the same with me.

I feel like a schmuck if I don't do the things that I said I was going to do. So I use that to my advantage.

“I basically leverage personal shame to achieve my business objectives.”

But you know what? It works like a charm because I don't want to let Wendy down and it makes me do the things that I said that I was going to do.

Those are my top tactics for getting clear on the right action, making the time to do the work and motivating myself to get it done.

I’LL NEED A SNACK WITH THAT.

Believe it or not, I have trouble writing blog posts and filming the videos I do. I am a procrastinator, and even when I have the time blocked off in my calendar, I still find it difficult to get started.

What I do in this situation is  break my tasks and timing up into little chunks, like a half hour at a time. I give myself a little break after each chunk of time, to have a snack or a coffee or go outside and I give myself a pat on the back once I've done it as well.

BULK SCHEDULING TASKS.

Because I find 80% of the effort is getting into the right headspace to get my online marketing tasks done, I want to get as much done once I am there as possible.

When it comes to videos and blog posts I typically will do 4-5 at once, all in one day.

I get my equipment set up, I'm in the zone and I can be really, really productive.That's just what works for me.

In summary.

I hope you found this helpful! If you want more online marketing tips, check out my website at www.laurelannestark.com and don't forget to like, comment and share this video.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on making time for your own marketing, please weigh in below!.

Thanks for watching.

DIY Video Hacks for Small Businesses: LIVE Behind The Scenes, How To

Laurel StarkComment

Video is the most powerful tool you can use to generate sales from your online marketing efforts.

When it comes to getting results from online marketing, my favorite tools are the ones that consistently show strong performance metrics in more than one area and video certainly does!

The top five reasons to start using video to market your business online.

  1. People tend to know, like and trust you faster if you are using videos instead of just text to communicate.  The reason for this is that 99% of our communication is nonverbal. Viewers will get a pretty good idea of who you are and if they will like and trust you based solely on body language.

  2. Videos make you more memorable. Viewers are much more likely to remember you if they've seen you on video, than read a bunch of text. That in itself is a victory when there is so much online competing for your customers attention!

  3. Statistically, videos will keep your website visitors on your website for longer than if you don't have videos on your website.  The more time visitors spend on your website, the better your odds of convincing them to contact you or buy from you

  4. People are more likely to think that you are an expert if they've seen you on video. Video not only boosts trust, but credibility as well. 

  5. Viewers are more likely to share videos then they would just text.

Even though the reasons to start using video are powerful and plentiful, many DIY marketers still aren’t using it.

 Besides the obvious not wanting to look terrible on camera, there are also several logistical obstacles to getting started on video.

 The most common question I hear is, what kind of equipment do I need?

 I went on Facebook live last week to address the equipment question by taking you through my two setups, for a startup and intermediate budget.

 I’ve been filming an average of a 4 videos a month for the last 6 years and I shared my DIY Video Hacks for Small Businesses. Click the video to watch, or read the summary below:

 One of the comments I got  live on Facebook, was that maybe lighting or equipment wasn’t really required at all.

 And that can be true too. It just depends on what level of quality you’re comfortable with. Check out three options, with samples below:

 On The Cheap / Startup / No Budget

I’ve filmed many videos on an iphone in my car.

 Even one actually driving, where I share even more video marketing tips:

 I don’t do this anymore, promise.

 Budget DIY Video Marketing Set Up

I have two pieces of equipment in my low budget DIY Video Marketing setup:

  1. A light (a Day Light)

  2. My smartphone (currently an iphone 5)

I also film against a white wall.

The total cost, excluding my time, is about $200 for the light.

A sample video with this equipment is here:

Semi Pro DIY Video Marketing Set Up

I wanted a more polished look and feel so I invested in the following pieces of equipment:

  1. Canon Rebel EOS (approx $1200)

  2. Tripod for said Canon Rebel (approx $100)

  3. Complete Lighting Set (approx $200)

  4. Add on Mic (approx $150)

A sample video with this equipment is here:

 

Professional Video

 I am really happy with my semi-pro setup. The level of control and quality it gives me is perfect for my needs.

 That being said, pro videos aren’t something you should rule out if you’re looking to skip the techie stuff and get on with your day.

 Here are two examples of professional videos I did a few years ago:

 In summary, there are definitely options for every budget.

 I’d love your feedback - are you using video ? If you aren’t yet, do you think you will? And if you’re not, are there any tips you’d like to add?

 Let me know in the comments below!