It’s far too often that I hear online marketing touted as the “end all, be all” for a businesses marketing strategy. This belief often entails halting all other marketing in favor of online strategies. This is a very scary strategy – if you dare to call it a strategy at all! So why does this occur for so many businesses and how can you be sure not to fall into this trap?
First let me clear about something, although I’m a huge supporter of online marketing – it’s what we do! – I’m also firmly against drastic changes in what’s working for you today. I do believe the power of online marketing can change your business and its success forever, when done right; however, what businesses fail to realize is that much like any other marketing, great results take time. There’s a myriad of reasons why this is, but for now let’s just say it does and any overnight success you might experience, we’ll call it a fluke.
So why do businesses make this drastic change in their marketing strategies. There are two primary reasons I see happening on a regular basis.
You’re desperate and you want to be sold the Holy Grail
That’s right – it’s your fault. In tough economies many businesses are looking for an instant fix. In fact, many believe, that if something doesn’t change now, I mean now – that their business is going to fail.
If this is the case (it often isn’t) then no marketing is going to save the day. Marketing done in desperation comes off as marketing in desperation. People’s radars are fully extended right now, and options are abundant so this type of marketing sends people running.
The best advice here, is that generally if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. That’s not to say – as I said earlier, that online can’t become a game changer – but online marketing is complex with many variables affecting success. What’s exciting is that minor adjustments causing minor percentage improvements, can equal significant business growth.
Marketing consultants are desperate and are promising the Holy Grail
You can see how this is a vicious circle. You want to be promised the Holy Grail, the consultant wants your business, and the competition is promising the Holy Grail – so heck – they need to as well… Wrong!
Essentially whether it’s wrong or right, it’s occurring. What happens next is a disappointed, over promised under delivered online experience.
Online Marketing is huge, be in it for the long haul!
Online marketing strategies are often successful when they’re initiated with the right expectations, measurement points, and constant communication. I’ll write on this last one in another post because it’s that important. But the other two are the beginning of a good relationship.
Be clear about your expectations and milestones. Encourage feedback and discussions. Understand that testing, tweaking and ongoing improvement is critical and that it will be a learning process as you go along with the bumps in the road. This is not a mathematical formula, but more closely tied to a science lab experiment. When you launch your online marketing this way, encouraging a team approach of success – you will hit success far faster than the one trying to knock every swing out of the park.
So what to do about traditional marketing?
In a word, integrate. If you’re currently spending a dollar on traditional marketing that is working, but you know an online marketing strategy must become part of your future success (and it must). Take that $1 and break it up. Maybe start with $0.30 towards online while maintaining you’re traditional advertising. If traditional results were declining, maybe a fifty-fifty split would be justified.
Either way don’t stop what you’re doing – it’s working – even if not great. As your online marketing starts to produce results simply shift the scale.
Finally; start tying traditional marketing to your online efforts. There are many strategies here that can help improve the traditional results and guide you to maximizing your traditional marketing spend.
Do you currently mix your traditional marketing with online marketing? If you’re a consultant, are you promising the Holy Grail? Leave me some comments below.